Local experts in spatial planning, sustainable development, and protection of the cultural heritage of Kotor believe that the Draft Spatial Plan of Kotor represents only the continuity of inadequate planning documents for this area and leads to further devastation of space.
Within the public hearing on the Draft of the Spatial Plan of the Municipality of Kotor and the accompanying Draft of the Report on Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment, the local expert group submitted their remarks to these documents to the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism. Experts are supported by part of the participants on the round table on this topic, Center for Sustainable Spatial Development Expeditio from Kotor organized on 5 June.
"Considering the current situation in Kotor, risking to lose the World Heritage status due to over-urbanization, the general importance of adopting a Spatial Urban Plan for the development of municipalities, and the problematic procedure and the quality of the document itself, local experts claim that the Draft Spatial Plan is only a continuation of inadequate planning arrangements for this area," Expeditio said on their official FB page.
"Even though the plan suggests, with the pressures of the outside, before all UNESCO, that it will partly limit the construction of facilities, we consider it still doesn't help the city to start from the deadlocks that it found by the lack of responsibility of local and state institutions."
Apart of the local experts, comments have been signed by some of the participants of the round table under the project "Active Citizens for Better Montenegro - The Rule of Law and Sustainable Development of Montenegro." At the roundtable, representatives of the profession, competent institutions, as well as all political parties operating in Kotor, were invited.
Experts recall that the neglect of expert opinion in the field of spatial planning in the last 15 years has caused Kotor today threatening to review status on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
In their view, the Draft Spatial Plan does not represent the sustainable development strategy with the idea but allows for further alteration of the ambiance, thus destabilizing the values for which the Natural and Cultural Historic Area of Kotor is enrolled on the World Heritage List.
The presented document experts commented in the remarks as unworthy of the profession, without the minimum of professional standards.
"Methodologically, the document is at an inappropriately low level, full of contradictions, copied pieces from different materials, which, in a large extent, represent the content of the document itself, which is unacceptable. Such a plan will be impossible to implement," states the letter addressed to the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, which has signed 13 of the most subordinated space planning and protection experts from Boka Bay.
They point out that a significant role for this plan plays the legislative framework - the Space Planning and Construction Facility Act of 2018, which instead of introducing the order and upgrading the space planning system has led to complete chaos. The established, previously confirmed planning practices were abolished, creating a prerequisite for accelerating the devastation of space, ignoring the already dramatic condition in Montenegro.
One of the critical remarks of experts from Kotor is that the Draft Spatial Plan does not entirely rely on the Cultural Heritage Protection Study for the area of the Kotor Municipality, which was done precisely for this document. This Study is only formally cited, but its core guidelines and the way of treating the Invertebrate Areas are not taken into account, which is incomprehensible, because, for a municipality where more than one third of the territory is on the Heritage List, it must have been the primary starting point for making the plan, experts conclude.
The only solution to the current situation is that the planning is brought back to experienced teams of planning experts, with the involvement of experts in the area of protection of the World Heritage, who would, without resorting to politics and personal interests make a document that would represent a breakthrough from the previous harmful planning practices.
"Of course, the prerequisite is a complete change of the space planning system (because its improvement is unfortunately impossible), including the legislative framework. The priority should be given to preserving the extraordinary universal value of the Kotor Area, as clearly indicated by the UNESCO / ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring Mission Report of November 2018, "states the remarks, experts from Boka Bay submitted yesterday to the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro.
10 June 2019 - By joining the European Union, Montenegro wants to be in the company of allied European countries that cherish and protect human dignity as their highest value, Deputy Prime Minister Zoran Pažin said for the Government of Montenegro at the opening of the plenary session of the Club of Venice in Bar.
"This value is exactly on what modern Montenegro was built and why we see our membership in the European Union as a natural continuation of the historical process of affirmation and preservation of the civil and European identity of our country," the Deputy Prime Minister said.
He stressed that current and future members of the European Union must be aware of the shared responsibility for the success of the United Europe project.
"We have no ambition to join the European Union before we are fully prepared to fulfill all our obligations and enjoy the full benefits of fully-fledged membership. However, we must all be aware that we share a common destiny as Europeans. That the future of European countries, the competitiveness of our economies and our way of life depend to a large extent on the success of a European project, for which we have a common responsibility," DPM Pažin emphasised.
By this occasion, he also estimated that it is very important for citizens to understand the significance of this historic mission of the European Union, as well as to understand the alleged alternatives to the European democratic values, which are offered to them.
"Advocating the accession of new members to the European Union based on merit is, in fact, the affirmation of a key EU mission – the spread of peace and prosperity across the European continent. On the other hand, greater support from the European public for admitting new members to the EU will strengthen the Union's internal cohesion and significantly strengthen the credibility and substance of its basic principle – united in diversity," Deputy Prime Minister Pažin highlighted.
He pointed out that today the EU's generations born and raised in the period of peace and prosperity, unprecedented in the history of the old continent, challenge the very purpose and key values of a united Europe, and reminded that, also in Europe, there are generations who, not so long ago, grew up in significantly different and unfavourable circumstances, in which some of the basic human needs were considered luxury.
Furthermore, the Deputy Prime Minister stated that this could be part of the reason why people in the southwest of Europe generally support the European Union more. He added, however, that the support that the European Union enjoys in the region of Southeast Europe is not only a matter of ideals, values or a common identity, but also a very specific progress in improving the quality of life and the standard of living.
"Take Montenegro as an example. Since we, as an independent state, began our path to the European Union in 2006, the average salaries and pensions in Montenegro have doubled. Today, our citizens travel freely throughout Europe, our students, lecturers and scientists participate in numerous study and research programmes, while our farmers receive significant expert and financial support from European funds," DPM Pažin said.
The Club of Venice is a European professional network that gathers senior public communications professionals from EU member states and institutions, and more recently the candidate country for EU membership. Montenegro is the first country outside the European Union to host the plenary session of the Club of Venice in 33 years of the existence of this prestigious European forum.
The plenary session of the Club of Venice in Montenegro discusses the issues of communication strategies for engaging citizens in European politics, experiences from recently held European elections, combating misinformation, communication of enlargement policy and development of communication capacities and practices of European institutions, member states and candidate countries. This is the first event of this kind that gathered government officials from EU member states and institutions after the European Parliament elections.
Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.
11 June 2019 - The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), under its Tourism Development and Promotion EU funded project, launched the second consecutive grant call for projects developing the tourism offer in the Western Balkans on June 10. As stated in their 2nd Call for Proposals, while the grants scheme totals EUR 1.62 million, this second tranche is making available EUR 750,000 for the implementation of some 14 pilot projects worth up to EUR 54,000.
The goal of the RCC's grant scheme is to develop and globally promote the joint regional cultural and adventure tourism offer, bring more visitors to the Western Balkans, lengthen their stay and increase revenues and employment in the tourism industry. Therefore, the grants to be implemented under the 2nd Call for Proposals will be geared towards the improvement of tourism infrastructure and services along three new regional cultural tourism routes now under development: Western Balkans – Crossroads of Civilisations; Illyricum Trail and Balkan Monumental Trail, and along Via and Trans Dinarica, regional hiking and biking routes and their auxiliary adventure tourism attractions.
“The region is stronger together. This is as true for tourism as is for any other fields. The difference is that tourism has an advantage of growing faster than other industries – it already accounts for 14% of employment in the Western Balkans. More than 12 million tourists entered the region last year. This is why we are intensively working on the development of a joint regional tourism offer and further supplementing efforts of the governments specifically in the cultural and adventure tourism niches,” said Majlinda Bregu, RCC Secretary General.
“Our goals are simple. We want to create a more attractive tourism offer which will attract more tourists to the region and lead to bigger profits and more people being employed in tourism. While our Tourism Development and Promotion Project works on the big picture, the grant scheme is making it possible for local level governments, NGOs and development agencies to get involved in tourism and contribute to the development of a joint regional offer by implementing actions that will improve the quality of services and tourism infrastructure at the local level,” stated Secretary General Bregu.
To provide sufficient information about the 2nd Call for Proposals to all interested parties, between 12 and 20 June 2019 the RCC will organize a series of Info Days covering all six Western Balkans Economies.
This is the 2nd Call for Proposals under the RCC’s tourism grants scheme.
The 1st Call for Proposals implemented between July 2018 and June 2019 resulted in the implementation of twelve grants in a total value of EUR 548,000 which led to the creation of preconditions for development of seven new cultural routes in the region, as well as the implementation of actions that upgraded the quality of the adventure tourism offer, specifically along Via Dinarica trail and in equestrian tourism.
The 3rd call for proposal is expected to be launched in September 2019.
Read more about tourism in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.
11 June 2019 - The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro recently stated that the goals of the state related to sustainable development - regionally balanced and sustainable economic development, full employment and decent work for all, should be fulfilled by 2030.
"Our sincere intention is to achieve the vision of sustainable development of Montenegro by 2030, which means that we should achieve regionally balanced and sustainable economic development, full employment and decent work for all," Minister Pavle Radulović said at the opening of the 18th Session of the Mediterranean Commission for the Sustainable development.
Within the framework of the two-year presidency of the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development, Montenegro is the host of the session which is held from 11 to 13 June 2019.
The 18th Session of the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable development is hosted at the Maestral Hotel in Budva.
During his presentation, Radulović reminded the participants that by adopting the 2030 National Sustainable Development Strategy, Montenegro became one of the first countries in the world that fully accepted and integrated the requirements of the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development into the national system. The goal of this strategy is to build a society based on continuous, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, protecting natural resources and strengthening social inclusion. Radulović also pointed out that with this strategy, Montenegro shows that its method for achieving sustainable development of its society is, in fact, having an objective and critical point of view in regards to current issues and finding appropriate solutions to these issues.
Minister Radulović highlighted that it is of great importance to launch initiatives that should concretize practical approaches and actions in order to implement the activities of the Mediterranean Action Plan and the Mediterranean Commission in the upcoming period. Also, he pointed out that an important measure for sustainable development is the creation of optimal practical models for applying the principles of integrated coastal management, in synergy with the application of the ecosystem approach in the planning of the purpose of marine areas.
Mediterranean Commission acts as an advisory body to the Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention, and its members, participating on equal footing, include representatives of the Member States and the European Commission, as well as Civil Society representatives from the region’s local authorities, economic partners (chambers of commerce, etc.), environmental NGOs, etc. It is basically a think tank on policies for promoting sustainable development in the Mediterranean Basin and focuses on key issues in its drive for tangible outcomes.
Read more about Politics in Montenegro on TMN's dedicated page.
08 June 2019 - Montenegro is a safe investment destination and investors from more than 100 countries have confirmed this fact. Our country is one of the most attractive investment destinations in the Mediterranean, especially in the field of tourism, real estate, energy and agriculture, said Montenegro’s ex-president, Filip Vujanović, at China-Central and Eastern European Countries Expo in Ningbo.
The China-Central and Eastern European Countries Expo opened Saturday in Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province. As reported by XinhuaNet, the expo that put focus on "deepening opening-up and cooperation for mutual benefit," attracted over 6,700 buyers from more than 500 firms and other leading international enterprises in 22 different countries and regions.
Speaking at the Ningbo Forum, Montenegro’s ex-president, Filip Vujanović highlighted that Montenegro is one of the most attractive investment destinations in the Mediterranean. “I have great respect toward this Fair of Investment and Trade, and I see it as a strong contribution to the improvement of cooperation between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. It is a special honor to present Montenegro as a safe and attractive investment destination with economic parameters that confirm this title ”,Mr Vujanović’s said during his speech.
As reported by Vujanović's office, he also noted that Montenegro and China have excellent relations that have been improved in recent years through the 16 + 1 Mechanism and the Road Initiative. “Montenegro recently started the construction of a highway linking the Adriatic coast with Serbia and Central and Western Europe. This largest infrastructure project in the history of Montenegro is being realized with CRBC. The Government of Montenegro continuously works on creating the preconditions for the continuation of the construction of other sections of the highway. We encourage Chinese companies to show interest in this project through public-private partnerships, “said Vujanović, inviting the present investors to a potential partnership with Montenegro.
Pointing out to the importance of trade, he also emphasized the potentials of the Port of Bar, being a significant maritime and transport center with valuable references. Moreover, former Montenegro’s president touched on many investments in the field of tourism.
“Fully realizing the importance of investment and trade for overall development, I invite you to visit Montenegro. I am convinced that we will continue our joint efforts towards high quality cooperation, “concluded Vujanović.
The expo, scheduled to close on June 12, includes over 20 events such as the image exhibition of Eastern European countries and the European commodity exhibition.
According to China's Ministry of Commerce, the total trade volume between China and Central and Eastern European countries reached 28.55 billion U.S. dollars in the first four months this year, up 7.9 percent year on year.
Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.
08 June 2019 - The first segment of the project Creative Visegrad - a multimedia image of V4+ cities and states was recently held in Budva, reports the local government of this city.
The Municipality of Budva, in cooperation with partners from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, is implementing the project entitled Creative Visegrad - a multimedia image of V4+ cities and states, which is approved within the framework of Visegrad + fund. As explained by the local government of the Czech city Valašské Meziříčí, this purpose of this project is to enhance the awareness about common identity among the V4 member states and Montenegro.
Thirty-two young people from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Montenegro were introduced to each other through intercultural exchange, and during the summer they will work hard on short films that will be screened at the Festival of Lights (Signal Festival) in Czech Republic in September. The workshop, which represents the first phase of the project, was held in Budva, June 3 - June 6, 2019.
The workshop was intended for young people who are interested in discovering a common cultural identity with Montenegro and Budva, together with their peers from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hunagry, and who are willing to create a short film about this subject.
The main challenge of the project is a lack of knowledge in younger generation both the V4 states and the Balkan states. This region has a generous diversity of culture identity, history and tradition. The project has a goal to make a new connection among youth and with creative way of presentation, to express differences to the large audience. The main challenge is to address accessibility and cooperation among nations. One of the main ideas is sharing the cultural diversity of all participants and creating proof that their homelands are open-minded and accessible. Since this region has a diverse cultural identity, history and tradition, the project aims to creatively create a new relationship among young people and present it to the general public.
This project also focuses on sharing knowledge in specific multimedia area – creating short movies, because each project partner has a different attitude and uses different techniques to create film content. This program’s aim is sharing of know-how in context in using short videos to express the participants’ cultural identity.
Within the project Creative Visegrad, another workshop and festival will be held in the town of Valašské Meziříčí, in the Czech Republic.
The Visegrad Group, Visegrad Four, or V4 is a cultural and political alliance of four Central European states – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia that are members of the European Union (EU) and NATO – for the purposes of advancing military, cultural, economic and energy cooperation with one another along with furthering their integration in the EU.
Festival of Lights, where the short films created within the project will be shown, is one of the most visited events in Prague that attracts thousands of tourists and locals with its fantastic light shows. Signal Festival represents a traditional event with amazing live dynamic performances of light and sound.
06 June 2019 - President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović received the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Italy Elisabetta Trenta, who is on an official visit to Montenegro. Trenta recently met with Prime Minister of Montenegro, Duško Marković.
President Đukanović thanked the minister for visiting Montenegro, which represents a new and especially important impulse for further improvement of the interstate relations between Montenegro and Italy. The additional value of the visit is and, as the President said, that this visit happened at the same time when Montenegro celebrate an important jubilee of 140 years of establishing diplomatic relations marked last night in Cetinje in the building of the former Italian mission. Đukanović expressed great satisfaction with the quality of interstate cooperation and emphasized that Montenegro is very proud of the tradition of relations between Montenegro and Italy.
He emphasized the importance of Italy's support to the European and Euro-Atlantic perspectives of the region, which is particularly important in order to overcome the multi-year lag of the WB for a developed Europe.
"Aware of missed opportunities in recent history as well as internal crises in the EU, we continue to believe that the only prospect for this region is integration, and for Europe to continue unification and strengthen its global competitiveness," as noted in an official report by President of Montenegro Cabinet.
Stressing that Montenegro is a NATO and EU partner, the President paid special gratitude to Italy for supporting that country's membership of Montenegro to NATO. At the same time, he also pointed to the importance of the alliance within the Alliance, because Italy together with Greece preserves the airspace of Montenegro, as well as defense cooperation, which is reflected in support for training officers in the prestigious Italian schools.
In the context of exceptionally good bilateral relations, the President assessed that there is a significant area for improving economic cooperation on the basis of positive experience through submarine cable projects and underwater exploration of oil and gas.
"With the pleasure of opening a Confindustria branch in Montenegro, an even greater presence of Italian investors is extremely desirable, not only because of investing in Montenegro, but primarily because of the transfer of European standards, new technologies and management knowledge," Đukanović said
The Minister of Defense of the Republic of Italy conveyed to President Đukanović the greetings from President Mattarella and expressed her gratitude for showing respect to her country by attending the celebration of the Day of Italy in Cetinje.
"Friendship has existed for a long time, but it is always good to have a new friendship gesture," Trenta said.
Recalling Italy's support to Montenegro for joining NATO, the minister stressed that with the great impression that country remains with Montenegro on its way to the EU. Integration is also very important because of the need for a common response to contemporary challenges, Trenta said, stressing that Italy's position towards the Balkans is very clear, both in terms of supporting the integration of Western Balkan countries, as well as meeting the criteria for membership.
The interlocutors agreed that while meeting the requirements for EU membership, it is extremely important to take advantage of the momentum and further strengthen the partnership of NATO and EU countries, which rests on the strongest basis, the Euro-Atlantic system of values. Extending cooperation in the field of defense and intensifying economic ties will undoubtedly contribute to better cooperation within NATO, but also to help to transfer knowledge in which Italy wants to participate.
Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.