28 February 2019 - At its latest session, the Government of Montenegro passed the Action Plan for the implementation of the Schengen Action Plan for 2019 and the Report on the implementation of the Schengen Action Plan for 2018.
The discussion expressed satisfaction with the high percentage of realisation of the measures envisaged for 2018 (90.48%). During the reporting period, the Draft Law Amending the Law on Border Control was passed, whose adoption will improve the normative framework and fulfil the obligations stipulated by the Schengen Action Plan. The new Law on Foreigners has been successfully implemented, which regulated the entry and exit in a quality way, as well as the movement and stay of foreigners in Montenegro in line with international standards and obligations set out in the Action Plan for Chapter 24.
The capacities for the arrival of asylum seekers and enhanced cooperation with international partners regarding their care; the activities and capabilities of the border police, as well as cross-border police cooperation and activities on the suppression of transnational organised crime, have been improved. The focus of the new Plan, among other things, will be focused on the implementation of measures for which funding from EU funds is foreseen, in the amount of 8 million EUR.
The session also approved the Strategy for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for the period 2019-2024 and the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Strategy for 2019.
The strategy represents the national policy of combating trafficking in human beings in the coming five-year period in the following: prevention, protection of victims, prosecution, partnership, coordination and international cooperation. Unlike previous documents, the new strategy contains an analysis of the current situation in the fight against trafficking in human beings, as well as a cross-section of the remaining challenges and recommendations for further action to achieve a higher degree of efficiency of the entire system of combating trafficking in human beings. The efficiency and functionality of the prevention, identification, protection, assistance and monitoring of victims of trafficking with a special focus on children will be improved, as well as the efficiency of investigations, prosecution and punishment following criminal legislation. The goals of the strategy were elaborated in the Action Plan for 2019, where specific activities, bearers, dynamics, necessary financial resources, as well as indicators of the results, were defined.
01 March 2019 - Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković met with the new Head of the International Monetary Fund Mission to Montenegro Srikant Seshadri. The Government of Montenegro has achieved success and made a major turn in strengthening the economy and stabilising public finances, it was noted at the meeting.
Prime Minister Marković pointed to the growth of the economy in 2017 and 2018 at rates of over 4.5 percent, deficit reduction, the better revenue side of the budget, reduction in unemployment and strong inflow of foreign direct investments that contributed to the creation of new jobs.
Seshadri congratulated the Prime Minister on the Government's successes and estimated that the positive response to the achieved results was also given by the international market, which answered positively to Montenegro's issuance of Eurobonds last year.
"We achieved an excellent result, above expectations. However, numerous challenges lie ahead of us and we have to answer them first and foremost through strong and comprehensive structural reforms - in the field of public administration, health, education, pension system and social policy," PM Marković said.
Seshadri agreed that Montenegro needs structural reforms and improved management, and in that context, the meeting exchanged views on the challenges and opportunities in those processes.
The Prime Minister thanked the International Monetary Fund for the technical support it provides to the Montenegrin institutions and added that it was precious given the limited administrative capacity and insufficient knowledge of certain complex reforms that need to be implemented.
Seshadri promised continued support of the International Monetary Fund and assessed that Montenegro could have higher growth rates in view of its potentials.
The organizers of the civic protest "97.000 – Odupri se", invited citizens to go on the streets on Saturday, at 6 p.m., for a new protest at the Independence Square in Podgorica. "This Saturday, we invite free citizens to go to the Independence Square on March 2nd at 6 p.m. and show that we are a state, that together we can lead to a fundamental change in the system that has forgotten it should serve to the public and the interest of citizens, not to anyone else. Let's resist," it was announced.
The protest on Saturday is the fourth civil protest under the slogan "97,000 – Odupri se!". "The protest walk of free citizens will begin at the Independence Square, where we will make new requests. After the speech and announcement, the walk will continue on the Street Slobode to the hill Gorica, then by Ivan Crnojevic Boulevard, Stanko Dragojevic Street, St. Peter Cetinje Street and back on the street Slobode to the Independence Square," the organizers of the protest announced.
They said that in the protest walk, "as earlier, they will pass by the institutions of the system that do not work in the interest of citizens. As before, let’s show power, but also the responsibility we have as free citizens, we expect our gathering to pass peacefully and dignified. We appeal to citizens to join us without any party, national or other characteristics. With gratitude for the past protests, we invite the participants in the fourth gathering to solidarity and respect for children, elderly, pregnant women and OSI population."
They said that the safety patrol service would pay special attention and security but expect the same from those gathered.
"We urge all fellow citizens to provide active assistance to the police service and react to the provocation of any kind by contacting the nearest officer. We should not allow any violent incident to jeopardize our legal right to show that citizens are the state. Through the protest let’s defend the Constitution of Montenegro in the only free institution that we have left – the Street. We invite to another gathering of free citizens. The key feature of this protest is #oduprise," the organizer said in the statement.
Text by Vijesti online, on February 28th 2019, read more at Vijesti
February 28, 2019 - Excessive urbanization and some key government plans are a severe threat to Boka Bay, according to UNESCO and ICOMOS experts in the Report on the State of Natural and Cultural Historical Area of Kotor, based on the findings of a joint reactive mission visited Kotor at the end of October last year.
February 28, 2019 - A group of engaged citizens in the Diaspora supported the civil protests in Podgorica and Bar by letter.
In their letter, Montenegrin inteligence in the Diaspora says:
27 February 2019 - Montenegro is committed to universal abolition of the death penalty and provides full support to the international community in ensuring transparency of data in this area, all order to develop effective strategies and prevent discrimination and inequality, Minister of Foreign Affairs Srđan Darmanović repeated in Geneva.
On the second day of his visit to Geneva, Montenegrin Minister of Foreign Affairs participated in a high-level panel discussion on the death penalty on "Violation of human rights about the use of the death penalty, in particular with respect for the right to non-discrimination and equality".
During this panel discussion, Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, reminded that death rows were disproportionately populated by the poor and economically vulnerable; members of ethnic minorities; people with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities; foreign nationals; indigenous persons; and other marginalized members of society. The High Commissioner encouraged all States to take a stand on the right side of history and join the international trend towards abolition.
On this occasion, Minister Darmanović had the opportunity to meet with Michelle Bachelet, and discuss the topic of the panel. "During the discussion, the role of the Office of the High Commissioner for the Prevention of Human Rights was emphasized, and the Minister transferred the willingness of Montenegro to cooperate with OHCHR to further improve the situation in the field of human rights protection," the statement from the Ministry said. Darmanović also thanked OHCHR Expert Support in the goal of strengthening capacities and facing challenges in this area.
High Commissioner Bachelet praised the proactive role of Montenegro in the work of the Human Rights Council, cooperation with special procedures and mechanisms of the UN, as well as regular and timely reporting to the contracting authorities. She emphasized that it was important to continue with the reforms, and she expressed the readiness of the OHCHR to provide additional assistance to Montenegro in further activities on this plan.
February 27, 2019 - Organizers of Civic Protests "97000-Odupri se" (Resist!) have said they will not negotiate with Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic. They say they expect only irrevocable resignation from him.
After the session of the Council for monitoring the electoral program of Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), Djukanovic said that if the protest organizers are interested, he would accept "any healthy dialogue initiative".
"Calls to buy time do not interest us. The president of the citizens cannot negotiate, but only listen to them, and we have already sent our messages. We look only at the invitation by Milo Djukanovic announcing an irrevocable resignation, which is one of our basic requirements. Such a move is only acceptable to citizens, good for society and institutions, and relaxing for him," the protest organization committee said, answering the question whether they would seek a meeting with Djukanovic.
Several thousand demonstrators organized a protest march in Podgorica for the third time last Saturday, demanding the resignation of the president of the state Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, Special Prosecutor Milivoje Katnic, RTCG Council and General Director of Public Service Bozidar Sundic, and the release of state institutions from party pressure.
Djukanovic said earlier that he would not resign, and questioned how he perceived the protests in which his retreat was being sought, assessed that they were a legitimate expression of citizens.
"It is important that they do not be violent on these occasions, because then they risk being in conflict with the state. The elections in this country should work in accordance with democratic rules, and everything else that citizens propose, which leads to the improvement of the quality of life, we will consider responsibly, "said Djukanovic after the session of the Council for the Election of Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS).
Text by Samir Kajosevic, Vijesti
February 26, 2019 - Civic protests brought the opposition to a final act because, in the atmosphere of massive civil protests already launched, they could not remain aside. They helped to create a picture of opposition unity and showed that it was time for the opposition parties to get political light points in the second plan finally, says the director of Politikon Network Jovana Marovic.
From the opposition parties supporting the protests say that this time, their blade of political action has finally focused on the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), that they realized the importance of the moment and the extent of the protests, and that all the differences within the opposition must be forgotten for the success of the demonstrations.
Most of the opposition parties publicly backed the peaceful gatherings of citizens so far and respected the demands of the organizers to come to the protests without party marks, and from the Democratic Front (DF) provided transportation for citizens who wanted to go to Podgorica and join the protest. Since the start of the protest, opposition parties have not attacked each other, and Democrats leader Aleksa Becic recently said that the party vetoed all the conflicts in the opposition.
Marovic says that the organizers are clear from the very beginning that any party features are not desirable at gatherings and during the protest walk, and that it is a recipe for successful resistance to any pressure. "For now there are no visible attempts to put protests into the party context, and it would be good to remain so. On the other hand, the opposition scene is not idyllic, and it can be seen by dissonant tones, which are still in a different light compared to the protests. The protests helped to create an image of the unity of the opposition, but since it existed and at the very beginning of the boycott of the parliament, the opposition should finally get the political light points in the second plan, and this time it plays more wisely, " Marovic told Vijesti.
Provided that the protests are fruitful, that the pressure on power is steady and continuous, she adds the opposition must take care not to bring things back to its beginning by its traditional attacks.
"Spontaneous protests show us that citizens want more fundamental changes to the shift of power, which is one of the basic postulates of democracy. Citizens also tell the authorities, but primarily the opposition, that the value framework has to be changed, and those cosmetic refinements are not enough either to come from one or the other, "says the director of Politikon Network.
DF deputy Jovan Vucurovic says that the protest has undoubtedly begun to give results. "And it is obvious that there are energy and determination to endure the demands that have been made fully. The people have united, want to free Montenegro, no longer want to be a hostage to the criminal regime, and openly oppose so many obvious anomalies, corruption, and robbery that comes from the very top of the government, "he said.
He states that he got the impression that everyone in the opposition realized the importance of the moment and the extent of the protest, as an essential tool in the direction of changing the regime.
"DF, the first who promoted nonviolent struggle in Montenegro's political life, expresses the satisfaction that we are all on the same task now and that there is a high degree of consensus and unity in opposition to meet citizens in all matters to succeed. DF has repeatedly emphasized that it supports the protests and we are available to help as far as we can, without any solicitation and moves that could harm them. In our opinion, this is the obligation of everyone in the opposition, "Vucurovic said.
The Secretary-General of the Democrats Boris Bogdanovic points out that the unity of the opposition is a broad term, but that the opposition has managed to reach agreement on specific issues. "We do not accept the conditions under which all the previous electoral processes in Montenegro have been realized. If there are no presidential and parliamentary elections without fair and fair electoral conditions, a veto on mutual and inter-party attacks to victory over the DPS, it is necessary to persevere in maintaining and organizing all forms of peaceful, democratic and civic non-institutional pressure on the government, "said Bogdanovic. From this, he adds, it is to note that all opposition political subjects, regardless of ideological and program differences, have finally directed their blade of political action to the primary source of all social anomalies and problems - the DPS. "That the opposition energy should not be gasped on sloping opposition strikes, but that every subject in the opposition in the case of need stands in defense of opposition colleagues to whom the government attacks every day," says Bogdanovic.
The Civil Movement URA stated that going out into the streets, peaceful and civil protests was the only correct answer to this state of affairs in the country, and that until now it turned out to be good when citizens are leading protests and that it gives much greater synergy. "We must forget about all the differences that exist, political, program, national, religious, social, and we all need to be united at this historic moment. We started on a good road, and so it's good to continue. The ultimate goal must be to free Montenegro from the criminals who kidnapped her. We can only do this together, "said URA Secretary General Mile Radovanic.
He adds that even those subjects who hesitated realized that there was no other way. "Opposition parties must support the protests with their logistics, and it is vital that we leave our party interests aside. Current events and this struggle is something that goes beyond parties and everyday politics. The topics that citizens are not currently focusing on should not be actualized, "said Radovanic.
Radovanic said that the current protests are a unique opportunity for everyone to be in opposition and act together for the sake of liberty. Taking into account all the political and program differences that exist, he adds, the future of Montenegro is the point of merging around which there is the consensus of all socio-political actors.
"We have to deal with the criminal octopus who kidnapped the state. The protests aimed precisely at the goal have been to restore the state's abduction by peaceful, civic means. We do not want to demolish the state but build it on European values. The RTCG was abducted from its citizens, the judiciary was kidnapped, the prosecutor's office, the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption was deposed, Montenegro has no Assembly, but only has a building, "said Radovanovic.
He points out that the opposition must not, in any way, make the energy that is rampant. "A recent meeting with Commissioner Hahn has shown that the opposition can be unique around certain points. The meeting was excellent because, in addition to all program and political differences, the opposition was unique in the view that no institutional struggle in such conditions makes sense. Therefore, the elections organized by DPS do not make sense, "Radovanovic said.
Text by Darvin Muric, Vijesti
26 February 2019 - Minister of Defense of Austria, Mario Kunasek, said that the Austrian Ministry of Defense still focuses its attention on the Western Balkans, with possible reinforcement of the engagement in missions and operations that the EU is conducting in Africa to reduce the pressures on illegal migrations in Europe.
He pointed out that, in case his state or other states refrained from their participation in international missions, development trends in the troubled regions could have adverse consequences for Europe.
“We must export security,” said the Minister whose state is taking an active part in EUFOR mission Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as in the KFOR mission in Kosovo, which actively contributes to preserving peace and stability in the region.
When it comes to the relations with Montenegro regarding defense matters, Kunasek points out the importance of intensifying bilateral cooperation, especially in the domain of training for mountain warfare.
“As Minister of Defense, I strive to deepen bilateral contacts and defense cooperation with Montenegro, in the light of Joint Statement from Graz. I believe it is imperative that we intensify our bilateral cooperation in the domain of mountain warfare training and talk about the future initiatives related to safe munition and armament storage,” said the Minister Kunasek.
Talking about the perspective of Montenegro in the European Union, in the context of its NATO membership, Kunasek that it is terrific. He agrees with the European Union's attitude that Montenegro remains constructively committed to bilateral relations with other candidates and neighboring European Union Member States and that it is an active participant in the regional cooperation.
“Montenegro has got the capabilities and political will for the preparation of the implementation of the acquis communautaire of the EU,” concluded Kunasek.
The joint statement, signed in Graz in September of 2018, is formally recognized by Ministers of Defense of Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. It expresses committed political will to intensify cooperation with WB, with the aim of increasing the EU perspective of these states.
Source: Cafe del Montenegro
Dejan Milovac from the MANS Research Center said that the amount of evidence that has been piling up for years against the longtime state official Branimir Gvozdenovic, is becoming worrisome, but not nearly as much as the lack of adequate response by the competent state authorities when it comes to this matter.
"Over the past years, MANS has filed hundreds of pages of written evidence that testifies to the brutal violation of the law by Gvozdenovic, whether it is a privatization process, an energy sector or spatial planning," said Milovac.
He adds that there is almost no area which Gvozdenovic dealt with, "without having resulted in serious doubts about corruption."
"The information that has come to the public from the beginning of this year again testifies to numerous suspicious transactions that Gvozdenovic has not yet been prosecuted for. One of them refers to the buildings that in one of the last speeches was mentioned by the President of Atlas Group, Dusko Knezevic, and which were built by Gvozdenovic's best-man, Radenko Radojicic. The survey conducted by MANS in 2012 showed that Gvozdenovic, as the Minister of Urbanism, allowed his best-man to build two residential buildings, with nearly 100 housing units in contravention of the law and the planning documents.
The criminal complaint filed at the time stated that Gvozdenovic abused the function of the Minister of Urbanism and the companies of his best-man ("RR Inženjering" and "Kapacity") in 2010 issued building permits that allowed the construction of several surplus floors than it was allowed by the plan at the time for the village Momisici in Podgorica. Although we warned then that Gvozdenovic should be abolished due to the violation of the law, the Assembly of the Capital in 2012 adopted the amendments of the plan and thus legalized this agreement among the best-men. Amendments to the plan were initiated, at the time, by the Mayor Miomir Mugosa, who was also included in the criminal charges as an accomplice," said Milovac.
He said that "unfortunately, the prosecution at the time headed by Prosecutor Ranka Carapic rejected this criminal complaint by failing to fully investigate the relations between Gvozdenovic and Radojicic but also their interest in violating the law in this way." This is just one of the many criminal reports that over the last decade MANS filed against a longtime state official.
Just to recall, MANS reported Gvozdenovic for participation in the legalization of villas on Zavala, the privatization of St. Stefan, the clip "Snimak", enabling the investors, such as Brano Micunovic and the company of Darko Saric, to build conflicting the law, as well as the legalization of numerous buildings in Podgorica and on the coast through modification of planning documents when he enabled the privileged investors not only the acquisition of extra profit but also the avoidance of criminal liability. While it is well known in whose favor Gvozdenovic has violated the law for years, the Montenegrin Prosecutor’s Office has still not done anything to examine what was the price of those "favors", Milovac concluded.
Gvozdenovic: What MANS calls evidence is only the fabrication of the truth
MANS speaks about numerous criminal charges that they have filed against me and about "hundreds of pages of evidence", but MANS does not mention the fact which is more than obvious - that the prosecution regularly rejected these applications. That, I suppose, sufficiently speaks about the merits of their "evidence", the Vice-president of the Assembly Branimir Gvozdenović announced. He reacted to the allegations of the Network for Affirmation of the Non-Governmental Sector from which it was announced that the amount of evidence that has been piling up over the years against Branimir Gvozdenovic is becoming worrisome, but not nearly as much as the absence of an adequate reaction by the competent state authorities when it comes to this matter. Gvozdenovic assessed that the logic that MANS addresses the public "within their continuous campaign of unsubstantial and unfounded accusations" is astounding.
"In fact, even before filing each of the applications, MANS was always aware that my guilt is not real, that what they call evidence is actually a fabrication of the 'truth', such that the evidence for it cannot exist. Each of these applications was submitted due to the media attention, i.e. the organization of sensationalist press conferences on which I would be further accused. In other words, instead of MANS, after each dismissal of their criminal charges, informed the public, they continued on their own," Gvozdenović said.
He said that the truth cannot be created, nor the evidences can be found for the lies.
"They can with enough motive, and MANS, obviously, has them, create an apparition of truth, especially in the part of the public opinion that follows the political divisions in Montenegro," the vice-president of the Assembly concluded.
February 26, 2019 - The opposition should seek early elections, as entering the technical government would mean losing time and failing to deliver the desired results, claims Executive Director of the Center for Civic Education (CGO-CCE) Daliborka Uljarevic. She thinks the opposition should use public dissatisfaction and intensified attention by the international community to achieve better election results.