20 June 2019 - At its latest session, the Government of Montenegro passed the Smart Specialisation Strategy for 2019-2024, which is the first time that a non-EU country approves a strategy of this kind.
"This strategy is not a strategy of the Ministry of Science, but of the State of Montenegro, which recognises the priority areas that have the greatest potential for economic development, for which research and innovation are key factors that can significantly increase competitiveness. In fact, it is a recipe for the European Union to trace the modern development of an economy based on domestic potentials, but with openness to the international market, and to advance technologically the traditional sectors, especially through digitisation," Minister of Science Sanja Damjanović said in press conference for Ministry of Science of Montenegro.
In this way, investments focus on domains and areas for which the strategy has shown that Montenegro can be competitive on a wider scale. In that regard, Montenegro has identified the following priority areas: sustainable agriculture and food value chain, sustainable and health tourism, energy and sustainable environment, with the technological support of information and communication technologies.
The Smart Specialisation Strategy is one of the conditions for using EU funds, as well as a strict prerequisite for the use of structural funds once they are available to Montenegro.
It took two years to draft the strategy according to the methodology developed by the EU, which closely followed and evaluated each stage of the process. The Ministry of Science coordinated this process with the support of the Ministry of Economy, but in fact, more than 300 people from the academic, economic, public and civil sectors worked on this strategy, more than half of which were from the business sector.
"An important benefit from this strategy is to access European thematic platforms for smart specialisation, which will be available to us from today. Thematic platforms are created by the countries of the European Union that have similar strategic priorities within their S3 strategies. In this way, they implement joint projects and enter the international market. Our country is striving to join such platforms," Minister Damjanović explained.
The Science Minister said that the next step is to define the national structure that will be in charge of both the management and the implementation of the S3 strategy.
The Smart Specialisation Strategy is adopted for the period 2019-2024. The Strategy will form the basis for priority investment in research, innovation and development. During this period, investments worth about 174 million EUR are planned. Out of the total planned investments, 116.5 million EUR will be provided from the budget, while investments from the private sector are projected at 21.7 million EUR. A total of 33.5 million EUR will be provided through the EU funds and 2,5 million EUR from other international organisations and programmes.
Read more news about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.