25 February 2019 - Minister of Foreign Affairs Srđan Darmanović participated in the 40th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"The Government of Montenegro is committed to the promotion and protection of human rights at the national and international level," the Minister said, expressing strong support to the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
He pointed out that in the times of crises, continuous violations of human rights, rising radical extremism, only coordinated action by all international actors and multilateral cooperation can achieve universal respect for human rights and ensure sustainable development, peace and security.
Minister Darmanović pointed out the Government's commitment to strengthening the national dialogue on human rights, as well as the progress made in the area of promotion and protection of human rights in Montenegro, especially the rights of vulnerable groups, women, children, LGBT people, minorities, the elderly and persons with disabilities.
He pointed out the importance of fulfilling obligations and expressed satisfaction that Montenegro is a pilot country for establishing a mechanism for monitoring and implementation of recommendations received from the UN Human Rights Bodies.
On this occasion, Minister Darmanović also met with President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer. The meeting welcomed the role of the ICRC as a key organisation addressing growing humanitarian needs, which is one of the priority challenges facing the international community. The need for stronger international cooperation was emphasised in order to ensure unhindered access to humanitarian assistance in endangered areas. Darmanović underlined the importance Montenegro attaches to this issue and pointed out numerous activities implemented in the previous period in cooperation between the Government and the Red Cross in Montenegro. Maurer welcomed the activities of the Government of Montenegro to finalise the establishment of the Commission for Humanitarian International Law, as well as the humanitarian assistance provided during the crisis period and the continuous contribution as a factor of stability in the region.
On the sidelines of the 40th session of the Human Rights Council, Minister Darmanović also met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. The two officials expressed the readiness to further strengthen bilateral cooperation, especially in the field of economy, tourism, renewable energy and air transport.
At the meeting with Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia Marija Pejčinović Burić, both sides reiterated the interest in further strengthening bilateral cooperation, as well as the willingness to improve cooperation through regional forums and at the international level.
24 February 2019 - Protests in the Montenegrin city Bar, which started a few months ago due to the planned construction of a kindergarten near the Bar Gymnasium, continued with significantly fewer participants, reports News Agency Bar Info. After Prime Minister Duško Marković's decision to terminate the construction, representatives of the Civic Initiative are requesting for the government to find another location for the kindergarten, plant new cypresses and for those who ordered their cut to take responsibility.
"We won because we preserved a gymnasium yard and the park for future generations," said one of the organisers of the protest, Stefan Đukić, who stated the protestors’ new demands. He requested the authorities find another location for the kindergarten and to plant new cypresses.
"We did not manage to preserve the trees, and the one who ordered their cut now has to come out and say “I'm guilty”. We do not fight for plain interests, but for the common good. We stopped the construction of kindergartens at this place, where we would not just lose the park and the yard, but there would be a lot of traffic jams had the construction been completed. We also saved the kindergarten in Marshal Tito Street and the city of the so-called 'Budvanization' (the influence of the practice in Montenegrin city Budva), because as we have heard, the construction of an eight-story building was planned in its place," said Đukić.
Ilija Zeković stressed that the gathered people showed that their intentions were honest and that they had no hidden goals. "Our emotions, hugs and tears when we heard that the construction of kindergartens will be stopped clearly showed our intentions and denied the hidden goals and political motives that were attributed to us and which continue to be attributed to us. We were fighting for the interests of the citizens and for the general good, and that was suspicious to many. They do not believe that such people still exist," said Ilija Zeković, who emphasized that they are especially grateful to the professors who, as he said, "stood in front of the students and gave them the most important lesson of all".
Today, the professor who stood up for the common good was Gymnasium’s professor Jasna Šćekić who, among other things, said: "A memory is a stubborn thing – it simply refuses to die. Therefore, the city of Bar remembers".
After the usual gathering at the Bar Gymnasium, participants of the protest walked along the city streets to the Bar Municipal Building, where the attendees were addressed by Marija Pešić and Miloš Pečurica, and then returned to the courtyard of the Gymnasium, where, as they said, they celebrated the victory.
Source: Bar Info
24 February 2019 -The Government adopted the Action Plan for Implementing the Integrated Border Management Strategy 2014-2018, for 2019, and adopted the Report on the Implementing Measures and Activities from the Action Plan for 2018. Last year, the improvement of the integrated border management system continued in line with the recommendations and best practices of the European Union. Among other things, the Draft Law Amending the Law on Border Control was established, the new Law on Foreigners was successfully implemented, as well as the capacities for the flow of asylum seekers, as well as the activities and capacities of the Border Police in the conduct of border control. Also, cross-border police cooperation and activities on the suppression of cross-border organised crime were enhanced, activities were undertaken to resolve bilateral issues with neighbouring countries, as well as activities on the implementation of signed international treaties on the state border, border crossings and border traffic.
Implementing Action Plan was considered very important for meeting the criteria and achieving the European security system, strengthening the ability to take over obligations arising from membership in the European Union, and aligning with Schengen requirements as key challenges in the process of Montenegro's EU accession.
At the same occasion, the Government of Montenegro adopted the Report on the Implementation of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Strategy for Integrated Migration Management in Montenegro 2017-2020 for 2018, which emphasises that nearly a hundred percent achievement of the planned measures and effective implementation of the policy of controlling migration movements. The Report states that the most important activities in the area of migration in Montenegro in the previous period were the adoption of a new Law on International and Temporary Protection of Aliens and the Law on Foreigners. European Union standards in the area of migration are largely transposed into both laws, and their implementation will bring about delicate changes in terms of the quality and efficiency of this system.
The Government also approved the 15th report on the implementation of the Strategy for the Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism, Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing 2015-2018 and the Action Plan 2017 - 2018 for the reporting period from July to December 2018.
The Information on the Proposed Memorandum of Understanding between the Institute for the Execution of Criminal Sanctions and the German NGO "Help Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe" was also adopted by the Government. The implementation of the project components defined by the Memorandum contributes to the expansion of prisoner 's working activities within the prison system, as well as their successful rehabilitation and reintegration. The state allocated 15,000 euros for these purposes, and the donation in the same amount was provided by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Stability Pact for South East Europe.
The Government approved the Information on the amendments to the Agreement on the transfer of credit and grants for the needs of the project "Wastewater Collection and Treatment in Podgorica" financed from a loan arrangement signed on 22 September 2017 between the German Development Bank (KfW) and the Government of Montenegro in the amount of 35 million euros. According to the revised agreement, the Capital City was given a period of sixty days in order to have the time to implement the necessary procedures and fulfil the contractual obligation towards the State.
February 24, 2019 - The organisers of the "97,000-Odupri Se" protest, at last night's meeting in Podgorica, have announced new demands: the irrevocable resignation of members of the Public Service Council and General Director of Montenegrin Radio Television (RTCG) Bozidar Sundic. Despite the terrible weather conditions, around 10,000 citizens from all Montenegrin cities participated in the third round of protest.
23 February 2019 - Representatives of Government of Montenegro hosted Secretary-General of the Regional Cooperation Council Majlinda Bregu. Implementation of policies and decisions we are making must be in our focus in order to create new opportunities for young people in the Balkans and reduce their need to go abroad, it was noted at the meeting.
Representatives of the Government of Montenegro expressed their full support to the work of the Regional Cooperation Council and congratulated the Secretary-General on assuming her duties, and added that through active participation in this and other regional initiatives, Montenegro promotes dialogue, understanding and tolerance as a prerequisite for stability, and therefore for economic growth and development and better life of citizens.
"The connectivity within the Berlin Process is very important for us in all key areas: trade, infrastructure, mobility and digital agendas," as said by the representatives of the Government of Montenegro, and reiterated that Montenegro will always be Regional Cooperation Council's reliable partner.
Bregu said that the Regional Cooperation Council focuses on the regional economic area, with a special emphasis on the digital agenda and mobility, and in that regard emphasised that the Regional Cooperation Council is working on the issues of elimination of roaming in the region, pointing to the importance of this initiative for its citizens. Ahead of the next summit within the Berlin Process initiative, which will be held in Poznan in July, both sides agreed that everything should be done at the level of the countries of the region in order to achieve this and other initiatives and bring concrete results for the Western Balkans.
23 February 2019 - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Zoran Pažin recently met with Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn. Montenegro has made visible progress in the key areas of rule of law which the European Commission pointed out in its latest annual report, DPM Pažin said at the meeting.
"The results that Montenegro achieves in the consistent implementation of European policies, primarily through the protection and promotion of the freedoms, rights and security of our citizens, give us the right to expect the support of partners from EU to the faster progress in the accession process," the Deputy Prime Minister noted.
He estimated that the decisive efforts of state authorities against organised crime resulted in numerous arrests of members of criminal groups, prevention of a number of serious crimes and significant progress in key investigations.
Commissioner Hahn expressed the expectation that this year, during his mandate, the European Commission will be able to conclude that Montenegro has met interim benchmarks in negotiating chapters 23 and 24, giving clear guidelines for the final closure of negotiations in these chapters.
The meeting was also attended by Minister of Science Sanja Damjanović, who presented the project for the establishment of the South-East Europe International Institute for Sustainable Technologies.
The Minister expressed gratitude to the European Commission for the significant financial support in the development of this scientific project, which according to her has the potential to become one of the leading projects within the European Neighbourhood Policy.
Establishing the Institute is Montenegro's initiative aimed at strengthening scientific and technological cooperation, strengthening scientific capacities and preventing the outflow of talent from the region.
February 23, 2019 - The public protest in Montenegro, known as "97,000-Odupri Se" (97,000-Resist), after gathering around 10,000 citizens last Saturday, continues today, 23 February with another protest walk in Podgorica, scheduled for 6 pm to start from the Independence Square.
At a press conference with the European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and enlargement negotiations Johannes Hahn, the Prime Minister Dusko Markovic said that the initiative for forming a technical government is an unjustified and politically unacceptable demand.
Markovic said that the government was working in full capacity, that there is no political crisis and the opposition's request for the formation of a technical government was considered legitimate, but not realistic.
"Everybody on the political scene has the right to make political demands in the way they think it is the most appropriate in their interests. For me, this request is unjustified and politically unacceptable. We have more important issues to deal with, Montenegro must realize its goals, accelerate economic growth, and create new jobs," Markovic said.
He believes that this political request is not real and that the government can perform its function as long as it has support in the Parliament. Markovic said that the boycott was legitimate, but not pro-active and that the institutions are the place to resolve the issue. In his words, moving to the streets is legitimate, and this is a model that is applied in the region as well.
"This is obviously a new opposition model, and we have nothing against it, it is important for us that the institutions are operational. The government is working at full capacity," Markovic said and suggested the opposition to choose its way of acting. All this, he says, is monitored by the government.
"To give in to such demands is not realistic," Markovic said, adding that it is better for everyone to return to their jobs in the Working Group, which is supported by the EU as well.
"My invitation is to go in that direction, and I'm not an optimist. Basically, there is no reason for dramatization," Markovic said. "We have political tension, dissatisfaction, demands, but not a crisis," said Markovic.
Hahn said he is aware that the opposition in Montenegro is dealing with all that was happening in northern Macedonia.
"It is up to each country to deal with specific solutions," Hahn said, adding that he did not see the need for the EU to participate.
"Everyone has the right to an individual assessment of the situation. Everyone should be free to make their own assessment," Hahn said.
The European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and enlargement negotiations, Johannes Hahn, said that Montenegro "has a clear perspective towards the EU".
"Boycott of the Parliament is not a European way to solve the problem," Hahn said. He added that the debate must take place in the Parliament.
The commissioner said that the protest organizers contacted him to meet. He explained that this was not possible due to the departure and that he asked the head of the European Union Delegation to Montenegro, Aiva Orava, to meet with them on his behalf.
Hahn said that he was monitoring the situation in the area of media freedom.
"I am worried about the pressure on the Public Broadcaster, the attacks on journalists, and the cyber-attacks," Hahn said.
Answering the question of whether there are double criteria in the media attacks, Hahn said that "everyone has responsibility," and that everyone should refrain from the attack.
"I am talking about physical attacks, if we are talking about a political debate, it's something that we all have to accept, and I expect respect among the parties and institutions involved. I think you can exchange views in one way or another. What I want is to establish communication, even if you have different views. More mutual respect is needed," Hahn said.
Text by Total MNE News, Source Vijesti, on February 23rd, 2019
21 February 2019 - Prime Minister Duško Marković said today in Podgorica while opening the Ministerial meeting on the transition of the Western Balkan countries to clean energy, that the region's energy fully shares the basic characteristics of a single European energy, that Montenegro will even exceed the ambitious plan for the share of renewable energy sources, and that there is no giving up on ecological Montenegro.
"The issue of economic development is inseparable from the development of energy, and energy, as a strategic branch, implies a well-thought-out and long-term plan. Fortunately, the countries of the Western Balkans have a global leader as their partner in this crucial business. For decades, the European Union has set standards for sustainable development and clean, climate-neutral energy. In that sense, today's job, of the honourable ministers, is essentially facilitated. The unequivocal commitment of the countries of the region to European integration is an important determinant of long-term national energy policies and strategies. Montenegro does not have doubts here. Although extremely small, our energy system shares the basic characteristics of unique European energy. Import dependence, the challenges of environmental protection, improving energy efficiency, energy receptivity and energy for our citizens and the economy, are the issues that this and every other responsible government in the European Union tackle," the Prime Minister said.
Minister Duško Marković said that Montenegro's path is clear, adding that one of the largest solar power plants in Europe will be built in the country,
"Montenegro is already certain to reach and exceed the ambitious national goal for the share of renewable energy in final consumption by 2020. We pay a high price for this, but we remain confident that the validity of this bold commitment will be confirmed in the medium term. Initial failures should not lead us to a dilemma of whether to give up on the essentially noble idea. We will not give up on ecological Montenegro. But this also implies correction of omissions and permanent improvement of applied models," the Prime Minister stressed.
The Prime Minister of Montenegro said that it is no coincidence that the roots of regional cooperation and modern Europe date back to coal and steel.
"Not even in 1951, energy and industry issues were not discussed in isolated national frameworks. And today, in the light of the clear need for decarbonisation and energy transition, the technical need for integration of the continent is greater than ever. The countries of the Western Balkans, when they were not there at the time of full expansion of coal as a fuel, should not miss the opportunity to be part of a society that will leave it first," the Prime Minister concluded.
European Commission for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn also spoke at the opening of the conference.
19 February 2019 - Minister of the Interior Mevludin Nuhodžić met with his Turkish counterpart Süleyman Soylu in Ankara, Turkey. It was assessed that the meeting is a confirmation of the high-quality bilateral relations and friendship between the two countries.
Minister Nuhodžić stressed that the successful fight against all forms of crime requires intensive and continuous cooperation and information exchange.
"Our task is to send a message, through joint actions of the Montenegrin and Turkish police, that every criminal, every fugitive from justice, knows that they will not be able to find safe haven in either Montenegro or Turkey," said Minister Nuhodžić.
Expressing satisfaction with the cooperation and friendly relations between the two countries, Minister Nuhodžić thanked Turkey for the assistance it provides in the area of specialist training and education of Montenegrin police officers. He expressed confidence that the meeting will be an additional incentive for further strengthening of cooperation between the ministries of the interior of Montenegro and Turkey.
Minister Soylu said that the meeting agreed on the improvement of cooperation between the two ministries in the field of police affairs and expressed gratitude to Montenegro for its support in the fight against illegal migration, smuggling, organised crime and terrorism.
"This meeting is a crown of good cooperation and friendship between the Republic of Turkey and Montenegro. Montenegro's NATO membership is extremely important and, therefore, the intention of our two ministries is to further improve cooperation and jointly confront the common forces with all security challenges and threats," the Turkish Minister stressed.
"Stability and further development of the countries of the Western Balkans is very important for Turkey. We see Montenegro as an example of a multi-ethnic and multireligious harmony, bearing in mind that members of different faiths and nations live in Montenegro," he noted, adding that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan intends to visit Montenegro in the near future.
Following the meeting, the two interior ministers signed an agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance in emergency situations. "This agreement is a confirmation of mutual readiness for solidarity and cooperation between our two friendly states," Minister Nuhodžić said.
February 20, 2019 - The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development today announced five public invitations to grant non-refundable support to the development of marine fisheries, sea aquaculture, and freshwater aquaculture.