Politics

27 Jun 2019, 18:08 PM

27 June 2019 - Montenegrin Parliament Speaker, Ivan Brajović, said that Montenegro, as a NATO member state and the first new European Union member state, having in mind the level of development it has achieved so far, understands the significance of developing partnership and better cross-country connectivity in all areas for better economic and social development, i.e. more secure future for its citizens.

Ivan Brajović was a speaker at the meeting held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he met many high-ranking officials. He had a speech on the topic "Better connectivity for a better life – How to incorporate genuine changes in the regional cooperation?", as reported by CdM.

“Montenegro endorses the goals of the Regional Cooperation Council referring to connectivity. Signing the agreement which brings us one step closer to free roaming zone best proves the visible benefits of the regional cooperation,” emphasized Brajović, adding that Montenegro is to take over chairing the Central European Initiative and it will strive to reinforce the mechanisms of regional coordination.

During his stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro’s Parliament Speaker had talks with the member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr Šefik Džaferović, as well as the member of the Collegium in the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly, Mr Denis Zvizdić, who is also the President of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

They shared information on economic indicators, current in-country political and social events, as well as opinions on the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

Stressing the importance of NATO membership, Brajović reiterated the readiness of Montenegro to assist all countries that wish to join the Alliance.

Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

27 Jun 2019, 11:57 AM
June 27, 2019 - The Municipality of Tivat addressed Prime Minister Duško Marković with the request to take measures to deter certain parts of the coast of Tivat as a public good, withholding them from leasing through the Sea Property and remaining on the management of the city, of which they are a crucial part.
 
It is the town's waterfront Pine, the town port of Kalimanj and the largest Tivat public beach of Ponta Seljanova. About ten days ago, the Sea Property leased the town's harbor and the Pine promenade over a public bid to a private company for 58,380 euros a year, which led Tivat's local company to lose the right to manage the town's row.  Tivat became a rare example of a city on the Adriatic that lost its waterfront and the city dock. Ponta Seljanova has also recently been leased to companies settled on Russian capital, and there is also a relative danger that something similar would happen to Tivat's city port of Kalimanj, which is about to be launched via public bid for the choice of a tenant of the port of local importance in the state ownership.
 
"Certain localities in the territory of our municipality are of great importance to Tivat and are located in the area of the Sea Property. We are addressing the request and the desire to protect them in such a way that they are not subject to any leasehold practices followed by public tendering procedures," says a letter Tivat Mayor, Sinisa Kusovac sent to the Prime Minister Duško Marković a few days ago.
 
In the correspondence prepared by Tivat's Secretary for Sustainable Development and Planning Tamara Furtula and the municipal manager, Marko Petričević, Pine, Ponta Seljanova and Kalimanj are located on the shores of particular public interest for Tivat.
 
The municipality has indicated in the letter to Markovic that the shore of Pine, which Sea Property signed the lease contract for five years with a new leaseholder, entrepreneur Pavle Mićunović, is "the heart of the city" and "the most important location in our town." They have reminded that the local administration has been demanding that for years to come to the coast of the center of Tivat on the move from the building of the Port of Captain from Pine to Belane. 
 
"Riva Pine, the most vulnerable location in our town, according to the plan - the promenade of the Lungo Mare has recently been reconstructed by the project solution obtained through the competition, and any interventions opposed to the project are not desirable. In light of the fact, it is the center of the city with well-kept city baths and a seafront promenade. In previous years, our Utility Company concluded a contract on the use of the sea property to manage the pier at the location of Pine and managed in the best possible way this part of the coast that was available to all, primarily to Tivat citizens, respecting the terms of the contract. The "Jadran" was berthed here as a recognizable decoration of Pine," reads the letter to Markovic who was informed by the Tivat Municipalities that the private person "offered an unrealistically high price for the lease of Pine," which caused the Commune to lose bids in the Sea Property.
 
"Now the connection of the "Jadran" ship to this location is under the sign of the question, as well as the interests of the citizens of Tivat. In the tourist offer of the city, all the art and cultural events took place at the location of Pine, which is now also questionable." The Tivat Mayor reminded the prime minister of one of the principles of the recently adopted Spatial Plan of Special Purpose for the Coastal Area, saying that it is the necessary respect for traditions and acquired rights.
 
"There is also a public good in the coastal area, along the shore of the public interest, which has the significance and character of communal property - a space that is entirely in the service of the local community and has a general nature. Such areas can be excluded from the sea property area, and this applies to city parks along the coast, city walkways, which at the same time have the function of accessing the beach and the sea," quotes the memo of this principle from the Spatial Plan of Special Purpose for the Coastal Area.
 
Tivat's ousters now demanded from Prime Minister Markovic "to recognize the public interest of the citizens of Tivat" and to help them "protect it."
 
"Please take the necessary steps to keep these essential localities (Pine, Kalimanj and Ponta Seljanova) in the service of the local noise and keep the public character," concludes Kusovac's speech to the Prime Minister.
To the problem of gradual privatization and excessive commercialization of the almost complete Tivat coast, otherwise, for years in that city warned the opposition, and the local DPS-SD-HGI authority so far has dismissed such objections and pleaded with the city's lack of expertise in planning and using its seashore. The right to self through the centralist laws was invoked exclusively by the state. Tivat's DPS and HGI, which have their representatives among the deputies in the Criminal Defense Department of Montenegro and ministers in the Government, have so far failed to advertise and try to prevent fundamental executive forces from giving critical local resources such as Pine, Ponte Seljanova and Kalimanj to the Sea Property tenders. 
 
Interestingly, though they sent a letter to the prime minister on 19 June asking for the Government to suspend the leasing of three key locations on the Tivat coast, DPS Tivat did not want to accept the request of coalition partners from the SD a day earlier, to discuss the problem of privatization of the city waterfront at a local parliament session.
 
27 Jun 2019, 00:13 AM

25 June 2019 - Accession to the European Union is one of the strongest drivers of economic development, which is why all Western Balkan countries have an interest in pursuing this path, with a greater presence of the European Union and a responsible attitude towards the region, and mutual trust and understanding, said Chief Negotiator for Montenegro Aleksandar Drljević at a conference in Stockholm.

He took part in a ministerial conference on the Western Balkans in Stockholm, which gathered representatives of the European Commission and ministers of foreign affairs and European integration of the Western Balkan countries.

"Accession to the European Union has proven to be one of the strongest drivers of economic development, stability and peace, and we therefore all share the interest in continuing this process," noted Chief Negotiator Aleksandar Drljević in European Integration Office report.

Chief Negotiator for Montenegro Aleksandar Drljević also added that investing in the stability and prosperity of the region is, in fact, an investment in the security and the future of the European Union and Europe as a whole. On the other hand, the citizens of the countries of the Western Balkans have higher expectations than the European Union.

"They expect the Union to be even more present in our region, as an internationally recognised actor and donor, with even greater attention to this part of the continent, as well as to encourage further reforms, taking into account progress and results achieved," Chief Negotiator Drljević underscored.

Read more news about Politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

26 Jun 2019, 23:57 PM

25 June 2019 - The continuation of the enlargement process and consolidation of the credibility of the Western Balkan European perspective is in the interest of stability, security and prosperity of the region, as well as Europe as a whole, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro Srđan Darmanović and his counterpart from Portugal, Augusto Santos Silva agreed at the meeting that was recently held.

"Montenegro and Portugal are fostering friendly and allied relations and today's talks represent a confirmation of efforts to intensify political dialogue at the highest level and to further strengthen our interstate cooperation," the head of the Montenegrin diplomacy pointed out, thanking Portugal for firmly supporting Montenegro in achieving its foreign policy priorities.

In that regard, he especially emphasised the importance of Portugal's expert and technical assistance in the EU accession process, primarily through the implementation of projects within the TAIEX instruments, reported Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro.

"Our commitment to the integration into the family of the most developed European democracies is essential for the effective fulfillment of obligations from the negotiating agenda and internal reform activities, which yield results in the form of defining a functional legal framework and significant economic progress," added Darmanović. 

Minister Santos Silva stressed that the process of European integration and membership in the EU contribute to political stability and socio-economic progress, emphasizing that Portugal supports the continuation of enlargement, with the continuous adoption of standards and legal regulations by candidate countries. He added that the process of enlargement and internal reforms of the European Union could be implemented in parallel, and in that context, pointed out the importance of intensifying Montenegro's negotiating process and progress in the process of accession to the Union. 

The two ministers agreed that in the coming period special attention should be paid to considering the mechanism of economic cooperation development. They also pointed out that there is room for further expansion of cooperation between the two foreign ministries through the organisation of bilateral political consultations, as well as the overall Montenegrin-Portuguese relations, especially in the fields of science, education and culture.

Read more about Politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

26 Jun 2019, 20:09 PM

26 June 2019 - Montenegrin independence is eternal and so is Montenegro. That’s what Prime Minister Duško Marković said to Milan Knežević during the Prime Minister’s hour, reports CDM. Marković said it in response to Knežević’s statement that Montenegrin independence was regained by bribery. The first man of Montenegrin Government was loud and clear – Democratic Front is allowed to mourn the lost referendum, but they should forget once and for all about bringing Montenegro back into somebody else’s auspices.

Milan Kneževič asked PM to comment on the direct impact of foreign elements on the outcome of the referendum held in 2006, which have been confirmed by the released transcript of the conversation between Milan Roćen and Oleg Deripaska in 2005.

Knežević claims that this conversation is proof that independence was obtained by bribery.

“The Government provided secret guarantee and Kosovo provided free electricity”, said Knežević and added that monument to Oleg Deripaska should be set up in every Montenegrin town.

Marković said that Knežević’s politics was trapped in the ideas of the last century and reminded him of the historical facts and all the way Montenegro had gone through until regaining its independence. He says there are no elements that would change the overall picture of the referendum in 2006, when citizens made a wise choice.

“We’ve gone so far and we can’t let anybody threaten our country now. That’s why we aren’t buying the invalid provocations”, said PM. He told Knežević that his undermining of Montenegrin independence wouldn’t be tolerated anymore.

Marković also commented on the Law on Freedom of Religion and said he hoped the law would have been at desks of the MPs by the end of July.

“People who haven’t even read the law have been discussing it for weeks. The highest Serbian officials, including the president – nobody has read it. This law has been drafted in accordance with the highest standards of the Council of Europe. It’s a contemporary law and establishes right to the religious organization but within this country and its laws, not within some other country”, said PM.

He added that the Venice Commission confirmed the quality of the law and suggested the amendments where necessary.

Read more about Politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

26 Jun 2019, 19:34 PM

26 June 2019 - The Municipal Assembly of Ulcinj recently passed the Decision on declaring Ulcinj Salina a Nature Park. The Decision states that the Municipality of Ulcinj will establish a company to which the city will entrust the management of this protected area from next year.

The protection of the Ulcinj Salina is a precondition of Montenegro’s membership of the EU. In the last Progress Report, the European Commission called on the municipality to adopt a document on the protection of the area, as foreseen within the Environmental Chapter of the EU Accession negotiations. On December 10, 2018, Montenegro opened Chapter 27, which includes a clear demand: the Ulcinj Saltpans must be declared a protected area, and Montenegro must implement effective measures to improve the conservation status of the saltpans. Otherwise, Montenegro will be denied EU-membership.

At a recent session of the local parliament Ulcinj, with 24 votes in favour, one against and one abstention, a decision was made to proclaim Ulcinj Salina a Nature Park. By this decision, the Municipality of Ulcinj assumes the obligation to protect and preserve the area, and from August next year to manage, one of the most important natural resources, which covers 15 million square meters, which is in poor condition.

Commenting on the decision for RTCG, the President of the Municipality, Ljoro Nrekić, said that the local government has always worked hard on maximally protecting the interest of the city. He added that this is a great day for Ulcinj, Montenegro and the European Union, because Ulcinj’s Salina has recently been in the focus of interest of all European countries.

Despite financial problems, Nrekić believes that “this will be a success story”, and that the government will help, as he said, the launch from the deadlock. Hatidze Đoni, a spokeswoman for the municipality, said that they have no choice because the law is clear - the one who proclaims something as a nature park takes on the obligation to protect and preserve it, stating that they have devoted themselves to this in spite of serious financial problems. Đoni said that the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro gave consent to the proposal of the decision a few days ago and that after the adoption of today's decision in the Assembly, the Municipality must establish a public company that will deal with the protection of Salina.

During the assembly, a decision was adopted that obliges the President of the Municipality to examine the legal possibility of prohibiting bird hunting in the area of ​​the Salina, although this is not foreseen by the decision to proclaim the Salina of Ulcinj a Nature Park. The Ulcinj Salina is one of the most valuable wetlands in the Balkans and is of outstanding importance for their birdlife. Because maintenance work has only been carried out sporadically, however, dams and dikes in the area are collapsing, and valuable areas of saltwater are being diluted with fresh water, thus reducing the ecological value of this paradise for birds.

Read more about Politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

26 Jun 2019, 00:48 AM

25 June 2019 - British Lord Howe, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords and Minister of State for Defence, is currently on an official two-day visit to Podgorica, Montenegro. During the visit, Lord Howe will meet with Prime Minister of Montenegro, Duško Marković and officials of the Ministry of Defence, says the statement from the British Embassy in Montenegro.

Lord Howe, who is a Conservative member of the House of Lords and its Deputy Leader, supports the House of Lords in its job of improving legislation and debating topics of national significance. As the Minister of State for Defence, the lord is the Spokesman in the House of Lords on defence matters, including EU relations, which is why Lord Howe’s visit is of great importance for the improvement of the relations between UK and Montenegro.

Lord Howe and Eurofighter Typhoons Arrived in Montenegro 2

During the visit of the British lord, two combat aircraft of the type Eurofighter Typhoon will also come to Podgorica. The aircraft will be stationed at the airport Knjaz Danilo in Golubovci. Eurofighter Typhoon is the world’s most advanced swing-role combat aircraft providing simultaneously deployable Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface capabilities. With units operating worldwide, the Eurofighter Typhoon fleet completed over 500,000 flying hours with unparalleled operational statistics from Europe to the South Atlantic and the Middle East, and the UK is a key member of the Eurofighter Typhoon consortium.

The visit of Lord Howe and the combat aircraft is another example of successful cooperation between the United Kingdom and Montenegro.

Read more about Politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

23 Jun 2019, 22:49 PM
June 23, 2019 - The Union of Seafarers of Montenegro has sent more comments and suggestions to the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs regarding the preparations of the new Maritime Safety Act, currently being drafted in the Ministry headed by Osman Nurkovic.
 
From the Union, they have been advocated by the lawmakers to impose an obligation that all ships of more than 300 meters long and 40 meters wide that go to Boka Bay must have two instead of one pilots.
 
“From the security point of view, and because of the minimal maneuvering space, and the large number of vessels in the small waters of Boka Bay, big ships should have the help of two pilots. Examination on them is limited; two pilots would have made it easier and safer to perform a complex job of pilots,” states the explanation addressed to the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Transport.
 
During the more significant part of the year, mega cruising ships are running regularly in Boka, some of which are over 300 meters long, so it is safe to navigate boats of so many mistakes through the challenging navigation area and the limited space of the Gulf of Boka very hard for the crew and pilots. They suggested from the Union to the Ministry and stipulated by law the obligation to use tugs, or suppressors for larger ships when carrying out the mooring and take-off maneuvers.
 
“The necessary number of tugs would have to be defined concerning the tonnage of the ship. Also, it is required to oblige the port operator who accepts these ships to have a related harbor service, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “
 
They explain that sailing from a port is a complicated job, highly dependent on meteorological conditions, as well as the technic validity of the ship’s equipment and power plant.
 
“The consequences of an eventual strike on a ship, shore and the like can be catastrophic, especially in Boka. To avoid the possibility of poor estimates and human error, it is possible to safely perform a maneuver even in the event of a sudden cancellation of a ship’s facility or other vital devices, and in the case of deteriorated meteorological conditions, the mandatory use of tugs/lifts must be legally prescribed and such service in ports adequately organized “.
 
They point out that this is common practice in all well-organized and safe ports in the world.
 
“Please note that until now, in the waters of Boka, there have been some luckily escaped incidents, which could have catastrophic consequences. Also, some events led to damage to the ship. The safety of ports and vessels in it and the reduction of environmental hazards must be secured at a far higher level than the current one. The current situation, especially in Kotor, is unacceptable and far from safe. “
 
From the Union of Seafarers they suggested the general ban on the movement of vessels in the Boka aquatics should be higher than 10 knots for certain categories of smaller, fast vessels of 2.5 to 7 meters long and that they were “in certain, precisely defined parts of the b, permit higher cruising speed than currently prescribed.”
 
Source: Vijestiijesti
22 Jun 2019, 08:13 AM
June 22, 2019 - The demonstrations organized by the movement ODUPRISE represent the example of nonviolent resistance. The police seemed to be unready for the rally when they did not have the chance to beat and attack citizens, opposition activists, journalists. The judiciary was surprised by no misdemeanor and other reports. But the power quickly came to an idea, writes the weekly independent Monitor.
 
During the Caravan, a tour of the cities of Montenegro, organized by the ODUPRISE Movement in April, officials of Budva, Herceg Novi, Bijelo Polje, and Pljevlja and security departments of Zabljak, Kotor, Tivat, Mojkovac, Kolašin, and Savnik filed 11 misdemeanor proceedings against seven persons. Due to the blockade of the CEDIS premises (Montenegrin electro distribution system) in Podgorica, police filed misdemeanor charges against eight people.
 
ODUPRISE activists, police say, blocked employees and citizens and hindered workers in securing work.
 
"When we were in Brussels at one of the meetings, I said that protesting in Montenegro could serve as an example of how peaceful and without hate speech. For four months and over ten protests, there was no broken flower; people came out in front of their locals to greet us. And the reports are spitting over us," says Omer Šarkić from the ODUPRISE team. He explains that the misdemeanors are seen as pressure and financial depletion of activists who have little or no income. "When a city caravan went, I reported a protest in front of the Assembly from where we went for a tour. Additionally, the police have titled Mirsad Kurgaš in some towns for misdemeanor malpractice. So, those letters are written," says Šarkić.
 
Kurgaš explains, "I still have not been able to count all the entries, I know they are over 10. They are announcing the Caravan from the cities of Bijelo Polje, Savnik, Kolasin, and I have already received applications for Tivat, Kotor, Budva. In Kotor, they wrote that I was the organizer of the gathering. I was there, but I do not know on which basis they have concluded that I am the organizer."
 
"I wrote an application for the event I did not attend, and in the report, it is written that I am the organizer," Demir Hodzic has a similar experience. He said that the police are writing reports for the protest in front of CEDIS explaining protesters wanted to enter the premises. And we were tied to the chains in front, and of course, the entry did not fall into our minds. There is a recording of a cop we put on social networks. They applied to drunken behavior. And we are just about to agree with the police to immediately report suspect faults to our gatherings that face the detective, and we were not drunk. The police have legitimized us instead."
 
Due to the failure to announce a public gathering in front of the Supreme State Prosecutor's Office, in mid-April, the police used all legal remedies, so complained Hodžić because of the violation he had committed in Article 33 of the Law on Public Conferences and Public Events (non-reported public gathering). And others: Slaven Radunović, Vladimir Dajkovic, Dragan Sošić, Mirsad Kurgaš, VM, Nenad Čobeljić, Džemal Perović, NG, Danijela and Vanja Đurišić are suspected of a violation of Article 11 of the Law on Public Order and Peace- hindrance of the official in the exercise of legal powers.
 
"It's an attempt at pressure because we are not scared of their games. It is a clear message to citizens that to expect if they protest," says Hodzic.
 
He recalls that for one of the earlier offenses he had been in the court for eight months and that the application was finally dismissed. "I hope there are independent practitioners in the courts who will see what stands behind this. This is all part of the process necessary to reach an independent judiciary and police, and ultimately a sovereign state," concludes Hodzic.
 
Dragan Sošić states that he has not yet received all the applications at his address, but that he counts that they will eventually be over 10. "These are mostly financial penalties that we do not have to pay. My account is blocked, and the threat is, if not pay, a month in prison. So this is tremendous pressure on both our families and us."
 
"They have the effect of scaring the other citizens to think twice about whether to protest, because it's a blow to the wallet for many of the biggest punishments," Sošić says.
 
Failure to report a gathering, graffiti, interfering with official duty, and drunk behavior is some of the applications that Mirsad Kurgaš received. With the help of the Human Rights Action, he submitted the report against the police for discrimination.
 
"For the protests against cutting the cypresses in Bar, the three applications are united. Recently, police officers at the Bar Court for Misdemeanors gave a two-hour statement. I am being charged to disturb the official on duty. We know that our judiciary is often not tried by law, but I hope there are professionals in the courts," says Kurgaš.
 
In addition to institutional threats, there is also informal pressure. Kurgaš told Monitor that he was recently invited by an officer of the National Security Agency, duly presented and sent his warning.
 
"All this is a confirmation that for them, the free citizens are the greatest danger. The epilogue of this is the fines. I do not have, and I will not pay. I do not sound like Josip Broz and the famous non-recognition of the court, but I do not acknowledge these punishments because I consider that citizens have a constitutional right to protest. And my protest has always been peaceful," says Kurgaš.
 
At the beginning of July, a trial was scheduled for the blockade of CEDIS. Then in Podgorica Hodzic, who is waiting for a job in Sarajevo, Sošić, who found a seasonal job on the coast and Kurgaš from Bar, will gather. And they also announce that, in addition to a court gathering, protests ODUPRISE will not stop.
 
Text by Pedja Nikolic for Monitor - Independent Weekly
 
22 Jun 2019, 02:16 AM

21 June 2019 - The U.S. State Department's 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report states that Montenegro is continuously making significant efforts to meet the standards for the elimination of human trafficking fully.

The U.S. State Department, led by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, has recently published the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report. The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue.

Within the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report, it was concluded that Montenegro is a country whose Government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. "The government demonstrated significant efforts during the reporting period by undertaking awareness-raising efforts and reaffirming its commitment to enact anti-trafficking legislation. However, the government did not demonstrate increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. The government did not show evidence of overall progress in prosecuting and punishing trafficking offenders and identifying victims of trafficking," it is stated within the Report.

The U.S. State Department recognized the efforts of Montenegro in regards to the establishment of a multi-disciplinary task force to proactively investigate trafficking and changed case referral procedures to decrease the chances of trafficking cases prosecuted under other offenses and thus praised the country for drafting and adopting a national anti-trafficking strategy for 2019-2024 and a national action plan for 2019.

Prioritized recommendations for Montenegro in relations to the prevention of trafficking include the focus on vigorous investigation, prosecution, and conviction of traffickers under Article 444 of the criminal code, increasing proactive screening of potential victims, especially for women in prostitution, migrants, seasonal workers, and children engaged in begging, providing advanced training to judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement on trafficking investigations and prosecutions and incentivizing and encouraging victim participation in investigations and prosecutions in a victim-centered manner.

The U.S State Department also highlighted the great need for Montenegro to create and finance an accessible compensation fund and inform victims of their right to compensation during legal proceedings and to ensure the Office for the Fight against Trafficking in Persons has adequate independence, capacity, and impact on implementing anti-trafficking efforts.

Read more about Politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

22 Jun 2019, 02:13 AM

21 June 2019 - President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović, at the invitation of the Romanian ambassador, the EU presiding country, Ferdinand Nagy, was guest at the working lunch with the ambassadors of the EU member states accredited in Montenegro.

President Đukanović thanked Ambassador Nagy for the initiative for the meeting and Romania on the dedicated relationship to bilateral cooperation and the European perspective of the region during a successful presidency. At the same time, he thanked the Head of the EU Delegation and all ambassadors of the EU countries for their unambiguous contribution to the adoption of European standards and value systems in Montenegro on its path of integration. The President emphasized the significance of the timing of this meeting in the context of the yesterday's conclusions of the General Affairs Council, the recent elections for the European Parliament and the published report on the progress of the countries of the WB, as well as the discussion on the EU's strategic movements and its attitude towards the WB.

The President assessed that the Council's conclusions were below what the WB's expectations were, pointing out that a better level of compromise would have been achieved for the stability of the region and Europe and economic and democratic development.

"The balance may be a real expression of how the state sees the EU, but it is not in agreement with what we see from the region," Đukanović said, especially in the context of postponing the decision to open negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania, and added that this region will never be stable without integration and can not experience the required pace of economic and democratic development. Therefore, according to the President, the future competitiveness of European politics is extremely important, to find a balance between the expectations of the Balkans and Europe as a global player.

According to the official statement of the President of Montenegro Cabinet, Đukanović said that in the past few years Montenegro has made evident progress and a clear strategy and continuously growing capacities that guarantee that this strategy will be implemented.

"With the awareness of the inability to overcome all the overnight deficits, the President stressed that Montenegro has managed to preserve the multiethnic harmony and emancipate the country from its dependence to the region, and today, as a NATO member, on a protracted road to the EU proves that it is able to cope with all the challenges. Montenegro will continue to uncompromising advancement of the rule of law and preserve a good pace of economic development," Đukanović said among other things.

President of Montenegro with EU Ambassadors to Montenegro1

The host of a working lunch on behalf of the Romanian presidency said that the country would continue to support the enlargement policy in line with individual progress and share the Commission's assessment of the need for the EU to be a credible partner that respects its promises to candidate countries that have fulfilled their obligations. I am very proud that I witnessed the exceptional progress of Montenegro during my diplomatic mandate, Nagy said.

The head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Aivo Orav, spoke about the successful presidency of Romania and the conclusions of the Council, which, he said, was the best compromise and the best possible result.

"What is important is that strong commitment to the expansion has been confirmed," Orav said.

He stressed that further efforts are needed in order to improve the rule of law, fight against corruption and organized crime, freedom of speech and media freedom, and that the EU recognizes positive progress in economic development, and cordially welcomes the active role of Montenegro in the region and in relation to its neighbors and one hundred percent compliance with the common foreign and security policy.

"The Union is ready to help Montenegro, including financially, to become part of the EU as soon as possible," concluded Orav.

The ambassadors expressed interest in the position of the President on the current issues of internal and regional policy. Among other things, Montenegro's contribution to strengthening regional stability and a constructive view of Montenegro on EC assessments and Council conclusions has been recognized.

During the working lunch, the interest in the process of passing a new law on religious freedom was especially expressed.

President Đukanović stressed that Montenegro is determined to solve the very delicate issue of the church, and will not resort to provocation, refraining from further straining the situation, but will uncompromisingly defend its interests. In response to the interest in applying ODIHR recommendations, the President expressed optimism about the further work of the Interim Parliamentary Committee, carefully developing a two-thirds consensus.

"In this regard, we will initiate the renewal of the dialogue with the opposition, which we discussed earlier with the EU delegation, and our offer is fully in place," said Đukanović.

Regarding the protection of freedom of speech, Đukanović emphasized that there is no dilemma in the state political course as far as this is an important issue and the importance of the media for the democratic development of society. The aim is to create the conditions for full freedom and independence of the media and maximum professionalization, which can only be a contribution to the democratization of the society by the legislative and institutional framework.

Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

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