01 January 2019 - Prime Minister Duško Marković said in an interview for a special holiday edition of Pobjeda daily that there is no compromise on the State and the issues that are of interest to all its citizens. We have determined, the Prime Minister pointed out, the directions of development that are focused on the European quality of life.
"At the level at which these two interests coincide, any possibility of compromise with those who think or wish contrary to interest of Montenegro and all of its citizens, regardless of political commitment, national or religious affiliation, ceases. If it were different, then we would talk about some other values, and that cannot happen in today's Montenegro," PM Marković stressed.
When asked about the social consensus within Montenegro and the dialogue, the Prime Minister said that the intention of his permanent invitation for dialogue was that opposition subjects should be distanced from their commitment to political ghettoization, which naturally does not contribute to the prosperity of society and the welfare of citizens.
"Only in institutions we can represent the interests of citizens, and I am convinced that the boycott, regardless of motives, is undermining the political system and democracy," PM Marković noted.
Recalling the complex political situation since the beginning of the Government's mandate and the need to deal with fiscal challenges, Prime Minister Marković said that the results were achieved in terms of consolidating public finances.
"The robust economic growth of 4.7 percent in 2017 and 4.9 in the first nine months of 2018 indicate that in the past two years we have been successful and that we have largely solved the essential issues of relevance to the economic progress of the country," the Prime Minister said, reminding that the number of employees has increased by over 11,000, that the gross income per capita has increased and the stability of public services has been ensured.
In order to achieve these indicators it was important, the Prime Minister added, to improve the administration and institutional system, remove barriers and improve the business environment, and integration into NATO and negotiations with the EU gave significant contribution.
When asked when citizens will start to feel the positive effects of the results he is talking about, the Prime Minister said that he is convinced that Montenegrin citizens are already feeling the effects of a two-year strong economic growth.
"Our focus was on directing the effects of economic growth on further building of social infrastructure and improving the quality of public services order to improve the standard of living of citizens. In particular, we have worked to ensure that economic growth is reflected in an increase in employment, while preserving the level of salaries, pensions and social benefits in the country, at a time of fiscal consolidation. We succeeded in that," he said, adding that the quality of life is not only determined by the salary.
The Prime Minister also spoke of many other benefits that the thousands of citizens gained through numerous incentives, for example, in education and agriculture. He said that over 12,000 pupils, students or their parents felt concrete financial benefits in the past two years.
Pointing to the fact that agro-budget is growing year after year, PM Marković said that we have dozens of programmes and incentives for farmers. He said that about 10 thousand producers were supported with around EUR 10 million through the programmes of direct payments.
"In the next two years of the mandate, the Government will work to create the preconditions for continuing economic growth and its even stronger impact on increasing the employment and income of citizens, i.e. the growth in the average salary in the country and pensions. We carefully look at possible ways of increasing the minimum wage," Prime Minister emphasised.
Furthermore, he talked about the need to fight the grey economy and in that context announced the amendment of several tax laws, but also stressed the need for synergy between the institutions in charge of this area, that is, the inspection, the police and the prosecution.
PM Marković also spoke about the EU integration process and stated that the opening of the chapter Environment is a great success for Montenegro: "At the same time, it is a great obligation, but also an opportunity to use our potentials and preserve the environment. This is the essence of negotiation and approximation process with EU values."
We are guided, as he said, by the quality, not only the speed, but we will not ignore the importance of the dynamics of progress along that path. He pointed out that opening of chapter 8 is a priority, but also an opportunity for an even stronger dialogue with the European Commission and Member States on the process of closing the chapter.
"The European Commission and the Member States stated 2025 as the possible date for a new enlargement. We will certainly do everything that is up to us to make the dynamics as successful as possible and make this date a reality," the Prime Minister said.
Responding to questions about legalization, PM Marković said he was satisfied with the number of reported illegally built facilities. He stated that the ultimate goal of legalization was not only to list illegally built facilities, but also to legalize and invest the fees for utility planning in the infrastructure.
He pointed out that new illegal construction will absolutely not be tolerated, and that we notice that local governments and their administration are the main point of slowing down these processes, because they do not use possibilities given by the Law.
Asked whether the concession at the Airports of Montenegro will definitely be given in the next year, and whether he expects this to provoke a crisis of coalition government, the Prime Minister said that the state of the infrastructure is a serious obstacle for further dynamic development and that investment in it has no alternative.
"In particular, we do not have time to arbitrate on different political approaches. In this context, the urgent development and valorization of the airport is a necessity, precisely because close to two-thirds of those who come to Montenegro come through our airports. Do we need any further elaboration," the Prime Minister concluded.