Montenegro adopts Pre-accession economic programme (PEP) for 2012-2014

Posted by Montenegro NewsBlog on 17/01/12
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Montenegro slowly prepares for the possible start of negotiations with the EU, and Government did several actions in that regard. Firstly, Montenegrin Ambassador to the EU, Aleksandar Pejovic, has been appointed as the chief negotiator for the upcoming talks with the EU. Government is yet to create a team for negotiations although there have already been many discussions in the media pertaining to the structure of the team, and if it should include also members of the opposition, civil society, academics and other independent experts. Here are some latest news related to Montenegro’s relations with the European Union.

The Government of Montenegro adopted earlier today the Pre-accession economic programme (PEP), a fiscal surveillance procedure, for the period 2012-2014 the Finance Ministry’s Tijana Stankovi? told the press following the Cabinet meeting.

The PEP aims at preparing the EU candidate countries for the participation in the multilateral surveillance and economic policy co-ordination procedures currently in place in the EU as part of the Economic and Monetary Union.

The priority goal in the medium-term is to secure conditions for the FDI growth, which can be achieved by upgrading the economy’s credibility on the basis of fiscal and financial stability.

Montenegro’s PEP 2012-2014 expects GDP growth between 0.5-2% in 2012, between 1.5-3.5% in 2013 and between 3.5-4% in 2014. The numbers are generated based on a conservative and cautious approach which is due to the current and previous dynamics in the global economy, the Finance Ministry says.

It is planned that the public expenditure, currently at 43%, will be reduced to 38% by 2014, and a budget surplus of 1.03% of the GDP is expected in 2014, along with the declining trend of public debt, expected to reach the level of 42.9% in 2014. A less optimistic scenario envisages a mild reduction of public expenditure, to 40.2% in 2014, a decline in public finance deficit to a 1.7%, and a decreased public debt to 47.4% in 2014.

The Finance Ministry reminds that the PEP is very similar to Government’s previous economic and fiscal programmes for medium term, only goes more in-depth. They also remind that the PEP is among the most important documents a candidate country drafts for the purposes of multilateral financial oversight, and at te same time an instrument that improves cooperation with the European Commission, chiefly in the fiscal area.

The main benefit a country gains from drafting a PEP is a benchmark for creating a consistent economic policy, particularly bearing in mind that this programme is updated annually and includes revision mechanisms.

source: Montenegro Government

Montenegrin students protest while Prime Minister answers: Time of socialism is over.

Montenegrin students held several protests during the course of last few months. In the beggining, protests were oriented toward improvement of conditions related to studying. Latest protest was organized for the first time by students of Political Sciences Faculty in capital Podgorica. But, their messages on transparents were broader and stronger: We don’t want to be members of the party, we want to work! The message clearly targets the well-known practice of getting a job in Montenegro – you have to be a member of ruling Democratic Partner of Socialists – DPS (or their junior government partner, Socialist Democratic Party – SDP), otherwise you will probably not have any chance.

Another central protest of all major student organizations in Montenegro is scheduled for November 17th. It seems that Government thought it would be wise to react in advance, and they already announced a new project, which will deal with youth unemployment, and particulary with issues that students might have while searching for their first job. In addition, Prime Minister Igor Luksic, held a meeting with representatives of student organizations, and told them that “Time of socialism is over”. He explained that people should accept all offers on the job market, regardless of their skills and level of education.

However, Montenegrin medias noted that it seems so interesting to hear such a statement from Prime Minister who comes from Democratic Party of Socialists. Of course, it is not the first time that such a thing happens in the ruling DPS party, because both – current PM Luksic, as well as long-standing ex-prime minister Djukanovic (currently president of DPS party), are both supporters and followers of neo-liberal economic policies, promoted by well-known professor of economics – Dr Veselin Vukotic.

It remains to be seen what reaction (if any) will be from the group of European Socialists and Progressives, because the DPS party is officially member of their organization.

France and Germany set additional conditions for Montenegro’s opening of negotiations?

Montenegrin daily “Vijesti” reported that Germany and France have set out additional conditions for Montenegro, in order to get the date for start of negotiations with the EU. According to this report, Montenegro should amend the Constitution by the end of the year in the fields of the judiciary, report regulary to Brussels regarding number of investigations, arrests and convictions for corruption scandals, and the penalties for conflict of interest.

This, among other things, is written in the annex “non-paper” that Germany and France had sent to the European Commission and EU member states. The two most powerful EU members suggest that the decision on opening negotiations can not be made at the EU summit in December but at ”one of the next European Council, perhaps in June 2012.” The common view of Paris and Berlin was presented a few days before October 12th when the European Commission recommended that the EU opens negotiations with Montenegro.

In an informal document, presented by Montenegrin independent daily “Vijesti”, it is required that Montenegro fully implements the Law on Public Servants, so that it “fully meet the criteria of independence and professionalism.”

Germany and France were of the view that Montenegro should be submitted a long list of new conditions to be fulfilled, especially when it comes to fighting corruption and organized crime.

In the annex to the “non-paper”, an informal document without the memorandum, signature and seal, it is stated what Montenegro should do further in all seven criteria, which actually represent seven new extremely harsh conditions.

It also suggests that “the Montenegrin government must demonstrate, through regular reports to the provisions of the new electoral law in practice.”

You can find the original article in Montenegrin language here.

Montenegro received positive progress report, but is government still determined to EU integration?

Posted by Montenegro NewsBlog on 29/10/11
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Daily newspaper “Vijesti” brought an intwerview with former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro – Branko Lukovac. He said that “European enlargement agenda is currently on the second place and it is good that the Montenegrin Prime Minister Igor Luksic publicly pointed to the possibility that the decision to start negotiations with Montenegro might be postponed”.

Prime Minister Luksic spoke at Parliament of Montenegro on Wednesday and stated that “it would not be surprising if the enlargement issues will not to be on the agenda of the European Council meeting in December”, because, as he explained, the immediate priority of the European Union at the moment is to address the economic situation. (source: Vijesti)

A day earlier, former PM and president of the ruling DPS party - Milo Djukanovic, stated that as much as progress in the process of European integration of Montenegro is important, it’s not a target itself, and the future priority will be two challenges concerning the struggle against the effects of the global crisis and the continuation of the spiritual foundation of Montenegro after the independence. (source: Vijesti)

Fore-mentioned statements came just weeks after first speculations that new eurosceptic movements in Montenegrin leadership are occuring. You can read more in our previous article: First signs of Euro-scepticism among Montenegrin leaders?

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First signs of Euroscepticism among Montenegrin leaders?

Posted by Montenegro NewsBlog on 29/09/11
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Montenegrin daily newspaper “Vijesti” reported about the meeting that President of ruling DPS party Milo Djukanovic, held last Thursday with selected Montenegrin public figures (who are mostly identified as “defenders of national identity”). He shared his vision of the situation in Montenegro, the region and the European Union, and it was mentioned that the EU is in a crisis whose outcome may be its dissolution.

This was confirmed to “Vijesti” by several participants of the meeting. One excerpt from the daily newpaper says that Mr Djukanovic alluded that “situation in the region is also difficult and worrying, and because of the eurozone crisis the EU could face a difficult period, so Montenegro should carefully watch its own interest and not blindly follow the path into EU membership”.

“Vijesti” reported that Djukanovic has thus confirmed that his interview from July 13th wasn’t randomness, since that was the first time when he made ??the distance from the European integration of Montenegro, which could lead him becoming the main Eurosceptic on the Montenegrin political scene.

Unlike many previous statements which aimed to explain that Montenegro does not implement reforms for the EU, but for itself, Djukanovic has sent a surprising message in July, when he stated that the speed of EU accession will not only depend on reforms in Montenegro, but also the situation in the EU.

“In other words, we do not have very to work hard on all the reforms and carry out all that is required from us” concludes the article from Vijesti.

There have been serious doubts over the true nature of “pro-european” politics of Montenegrin leaders for a long time, and you can here read some of the related stories:

Rhetoric and Reality: Is Montenegrin government really pro-European?

5 years of independence: How the critics views situation in Montenegro…

Montenegrin PM Djukanovic resigns, after 20 years, but his influence remains?

Ex-policeman admitted he forced 34 relatives to vote for ruling party, and was promised award for that.

Media call Suad Muratbasic “the first Montenegrin whistle-blower”, but the prosecution didn’t even start to investigate those claims, even though several criminal charges were filed.

After similar big scandal, when several policemen (Enver Dacic and Mithat Nurkovic) from northern Montenegrin town of Rozaje spoke out on cross-border smuggling and had to leave Montenegro as a consequence, now the first police officer who has publicly spoken about political activism of policemen- Suad Muratbasic, had to leave Montenegro too!

In 2007, Muratbasic has admitted that he agitated for the ruling DPS party and he was immediately fired after that, reports the TV “Vijesti”.  Fired policeman is currently in Brussels, Belgium, and he contacted Montenegrin medias from there. ”I will get an attorney here,” said Muratbasic and announced he would seek political asylum in Belgium where he went with his five-member family. ”I have to do this”, he stated  to TV “Vijesti” before leaving Montenbegro. Suad Muratbasic also said that “he left because, he was discriminated in his own country.”

He has publicly admitted that he forced 34 relatives to vote for the ruling DPS party, and that he was promised an award for doing that.

It is widely known fact that before every elections, ruling party in Montenegro engages all the state machinery into pressuring wide range of citizens groups, to vote for them. Since Montenegro is a small country and has population of about 620.000, those activities can clearly be decisive in winning elections. Opposition parties claim that it is also one of the reasons why Montenegro still never experienced change of the ruling party, even though it introduced democratic system since more than 20 years ago. (you can read here more about undemocratic practices in Montenegrin elections) Even though this practice is fully undemocratic and recognized as a problem by all relevant international election-monitoring organizations, the ruling party in Montenegro continues with it, since majority of the people refuse to report such activites, because pressure and fear are prevalent, especially in smaller towns and villages.

The media named Muratbasic “the first Montenegrin whistle-blower”. He was fired with brief explanation that he is reduntant, shortly after speaking in public about the undemocratic practices during elections.

Source: vijesti.me (text in Italics is explanatory content added by blog authors)

5 years of independence: How the critics views situation in Montenegro…

We’re falling into a trap. After the eternal prime minister, Milo Djukanovic has been moved to the reserve, party position -  we began to forget the Democratic Party of Socialists. To lose it from sight. To accept it by being – uncritical, intellectual passive, silent. Political guilt of such omission is – disastrous.

It is important to note – DPS is not a party. It is the institutional cover and alibi for Milo Djukanovic. Refuge for all his suspicious dealings and of those close to him.   Montenegro’s Leviathan, which for two decades looms over us, our institutions and our society.

It is the counter for obtaining immunity at which may apply – yes-persons, loyal and servile aparatchiks of the government and its coryphaeus. It is a shell without content in which  squeeze themselves to a point of rupture: ministers,  vice-presidents, deputies, directors, secretaries, spies, businessmen…DPS is a political invertebrate, a creation without soul, a conglomerate of interests, not of values. An Anti-Party.

The owner of that shop is a man whom the Italian judiciary characterized as a “dangerous international criminal” against whom an arrest warrant was issued  (final verdict of the Italian High Court; Djukanovic case of immunity, upon suit filed in late 2004 by Public Prosecutor from Naples), whose name was placed first among 15 suspected of mafia association for cigarette smuggling and money laundering, and whose case is now archived (by when – the former Prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal for war crimes in former Yugoslavia,  Jeffrey Nays said these days that the process for cigarette smuggling case against former Prime Minister of Montenegro is still open), for which the Italian Minister of Finance and  longtime head of the Agency for fight against mafia Otaviano del Turco said: “Without Djukanovic there would be no Prudentino, the most powerful, richest and most dangerous smuggler in the Mediterranean. On the other hand, without Prudentino, there would be no Djukanovic”

Unfortunately, it seems that many needed to wait twenty years for a classical political slaughter – the showdown between that and such Milo Djukanovic and Svetozar Marovic, in order to understand what Democratic  Democratic Party of Socialists is all about.

The way it is structured, designed, on what moral grounds it is built. The last Marovic’s poetic silence is a guideline for DPS’s future. Did we have to wait for the dirty political showdown of the two key political strategists of our desperation to realize that, for example – Zavala affair – is a fraud?

The way Zavala is unfolding, will also unfold Avala,  Aluminium Combine, Ironworks, Electricity Utility and Valdanos…..and – the Democratic Party of Socialists. It is an issue of time and speed of awakening of the sleeping “citizens” when the DPS  will disappear in their internal battle for the large prey.

DPS is a warmed up political corpse. It is a structure that should be deconstructed as soon as possible, as it has thrust so deeply, strongly and comprehensively into the social being that it simply – decimates and destroys the same. It erodes institutions, kills the individual, through nepotism creates a wall that is too high for the educated and badly needed young staff.

That hybrid of suspicious big business, shady characters, shady strategic partners of dubious legitimacy does not have real membership. It does not have true supporters, because that political creature does not even have a genuine idea – save the one on preserving the boss and the prey.

That para-political malformation gets voters and voters not by the quality of ideas, but the power of machinery. Not by the quality of the program, but the quantity of money. Not by the power of idea, but the idea of power.

To look for a healthy core of the DPS is a political crime. It is a germ  of complicity. Quasi-democratic attitude, which is very dangerous. Quasi-transparency, which can be fatal. Because – did anyone ever see that healthy core?

Where is it located? Did someone from DPS assert himself as its promoter? Where is that  statement that represents a seed of normal and  different DPS? Which politician from the ranks of the Democratic Party  Socialists opposed the official view? When? In what way?

If such healthy core really existed, wouldn’t it have already imposed itself on us, as did the representatives of the healthy core of the society – Slavko Perovic, Milan Popovic, Filip Kovacevic  Vanja Calovic and others?

Would we have to search for him? To guess? To conduct debates? Wouldn’t someone from such healthy core already notified us by means of a statement, article, appearance in public?

Doesn’t that search for such famous sound core show and prove in the best possible manner that the story about it – is actually made up, imposed and controlled.That and such idea is essentially a pontoon bridge, by which a passage for escape will be created to hyenas with prey in their teeth. It is a cliché created so that certain individuals from the regime can attach themselves to it  at the momemt of the final party showdown, which is certain and inevitable. This idea is the straw of salvation for those who in the last two decades have been actively and passively destroying Montenegro.

The idea of a healthy nucleus is – politically sick idea. Didn’t Zoran Djindjic, in whom swear politicians and analysts of liberal worldview, say that on key issues – there is no compromise.

The myth of the healthy core thickens the already dull edge of the critical knife in Montenegro. This perfidious political idea promotes the phenomenon of counter-lustration, and not lustration – which is the only cure for our social ills.Healthycore is the idea of prolonging the agony, the collective amnesia and controlled blindness.

Montenegro does not need the non-existent “healthy core” of the Democratic Party Socialists. Healthy tissue should be sought everywhere, but in the DPS and its political tail – SDP. These two parties, not only lack healthy material, but, as rotten apple in a bowl, cause the whole society to be – an ailing core.   (Marko Petrovic, Daily Vijesti, 22 February 2011)

Prominent univeristy professor Filip Kovacevic also noted “Even though the authoritarian prime minister of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic recently resigned his post, it is an illusion to think that he relaxed his tight grip on Montenegrin political system. (interview to MINA, January 4, 2011)

Article “Old Guard” by Milka Tadic Mijovic, from independent weekly “Monitor”. (January 31, 2011)

Djukanovic’s closest old guard associates remained in the key government positions where they have been further promoted or strengthened (Secret police chief Markovic is now Deputy PM and Justice Minister, Foreign minister Rocen is now also in charge of EU accession, Minister of Defence Vucinic, maybe his closest supporter, is also stronger than ever). The new Prime minister and economic line ministers also are close Djukanovic’s followers and associates of his business partner, professor Veselin Vukotic with whom he founded the new private Donja Gorica University (PM Luksic, Minister of Finance Katnic and Minister of Economy Kavaric). His loyal DPS General Secretary Sekulic is now Minister of Urban Development Tourism and Environment. Former ministers have not been demoted, they are just moved to high party and parliamentary positions (Minister of Urban Development and Environment Gvozdenovic is now new DPS General Secretary and deputy, while Minister of Agriculture Simovic will be the new DPS party speaker and deputy in the Parliament) Former Justice Minister Radovic is a new member of the Constitutional Court. All this, despite widespread belief that some of them (particularly Branimir Gvozdenovic) have been involved in major corruption deals and scandals. In our view, Djukanovic did not have a motive to leave the government. However, he did it knowing that after ruling Montenegro for 20 years he had to leave rather soon, even though the outside pressure on him might have not been so direct and strong (no one really knows what happened there, some suspect that US has had a role, while others believe that EU also had a say in this regard). In any case, his strategy is most probably to please the international community, give the voters a break, and then run for new PM or President of state in 2013. In the meantime, he remains in full control. His legacy of war crimes, unresolved high profile muders and cigarette and drug smuggling is overwhelimg. He has made too many enemies in and outside the ruling party and thus cannot retire. After initiating the changes in the government and the judiciary action against his arch-rival Marovic’s clan in Budva – Djukanovic has actually consolidated his power. With his most loyal aparatchiks in all key positions, and after sending the message to doubtful souls that they can also be prosecuted at any moment, he has assumed an even stronger control over the developments in the country. The past experience with him as President of the state when he had symbolic decision making powers and later on as Chairman of the Party, proves that power always shifts where he moves regardless of his formal position. As he did the last time when he left the PM position, Djukanovic will most likely focus on big business. During his first “retiterement” (November 2006 – February 2008), he earned some dozen million euros according to his own admission. This time, we believe that he has an ‘eye’ on much bigger piece of cake. At stake are big concession projects that will cost the tax payers bilions – the Bar – Boljare Motorway (Montenegrin section of motorway leading to Belgrade), the hydropower project on the Moraca River and big real estate projects on the coast where the protected land will be turned into massive housing development, like happened in the case of Zavala housing development in Budva. PM Luksic is not abandoning any of these projects, although none of them is economicallly viable, proving that he is fiscal conservative only when big boss’s interests are not affected (or unable to challenge him). Djukanovic has just given an interview to TV Srpska in which he said that he will remain DPS Chairamn even after the Party congress in May. In our view, real reforms cannot be expected until he is in charge. They can be expected only after Djukanovic is sent to full retirement. That, in turn, will probably not happen before Italian, Serbian and Croatian courts complete the case against him and his organised crime cartel.

Other recent Montenegro-EU news (June 4th 2011):

Five years after independence, Montenegro marks only measured success. Montenegro’s stable government, solid economy, and lack of any serious ethnic conflicts can be counted as great successes since the country’s formation, according to an expert on the Balkans at Munich’s South Eastern European Society, Hansjörg Brey. Local journalist Zoran Radulovic, however, is unconvinced by the official tale of economic prosperity. “The economic problems stem from the fact that Montenegro has no real development strategy. More than 3.5 billion euros have been poured into this country since indepedendence,” Radulovic said. For a country with 600,000 people, that’s a tidy sum – but Radulovic says it’s not clear where it went, given the absence of tangible evidence like hotels, repaved roads or streets, and other infrastructure improvements. “It’s like sand in your hands, it’s run out and disappeared. Nobody knows where or how. I believe that a large chunk of the money has been laundered in Montenegro – and I mean a sizeable sum, laundered in the classic, criminal sense.” Read full article at Deutsche Welle.

Despite progress, Montenegro needs to further implement reforms. Montenegro has made progress in reforming implementation of the rule of law, but more improvement is needed in a number of areas, said Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) rapporteur for Montenegro Jean Charles Gardetto. During a press conference at parliament, Holovaty said that PACE expects much more progress in the areas of judicial reform, protection of human rights and minorities, and combating organised crime and corruption. Read full report at SETimes.com

Montenegro set to meet a major EU accession requirement. The Montenegrin Government has put forward a set of amendments to the Constitution aimed at limiting political influence over key judicial appointments, which is one of the EU’s key recommendations for the national judicial reform. Read more at Balkans.com

 

Bill Clinton visits Montenegro but mistakenly praises Macedonia

The Balkan Networking Initiative had its official inaugural conference in Budva on 22 May 2011. The Balkan Networking Initiative is a project of the government of Montenegro and Atlas Group.  The goal of the conference is to establish a public-private networks and create sustainable social empowerment through cross-border networking.

The conference welcome addresses were given by Montenegrin Prime Minister Igor Luksic and Atlas Group President Dusko Knezevic, while former U.S. President Bill Clinton had the keynote address. The event includes following prominent panellists:
Milo Djukanovic, Former Prime Minister, Montenegro, Stjepan Mesic, Former President, Croatia, Milan Kucan, Former President, Slovenia, H.E. Petar Stoyanov, Former President, Bulgaria, Mr. Bálint Magyar, Former Minister of Education, Hungary, Mr. Thomas Barrett, Director, European Investment Bank (EIB), Professor Dragan Lajovic, Faculty of Economics, University of Montenegro, and Mr. Muhamed Mike Tarhini, Vice-Chairman, Abu Dhabi Capital Group. While giving a keynote welcoming speech, former U.S. President Bill Clinton mistakenly praised Macedonia for having the beautiful breath-taking nature, and for progress made on its way towards Euro-Atlantic integrations.

As DailyNewsMontenegro.com reported – Most of the conference is closed to the media — which is not considered a good practice in this era of government transparency.  Transparency is the best protection against corruption.  As the saying goes, “light kills germs.”  This is particularly important in joint public-private initiatives, which are often simply methods for politicians to funnel taxpayer money to their friends in business.  Public-private initiatives must be monitored closely and publicly to ensure that they are in the public interest — this is a valuable function of the free press.

Prime Minister Luksic met with Bill Clinton

Budva, Montenegro (22 May 2011) – Prime Minister Igor Luksic met Bill Clinton, 42nd US President and founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation in his first visit to Montenegro where he was a keynote speaker at the Inaugural Conference Balkan Networking for Social Empowerment of South-Eastern Europe organised by the Atlas Foundation and the Government of Montenegro.

Montenegrin Prime Minister and former U.S. President discussed economic and political situation in Montenegro as well as foreign policy priorities. President Clinton expressed great pleasure to stay in Montenegro, in his words a country of great potential and natural beauty. He congratulated Prime Minister Luksic on Montenegro’s receiving the EU candidate status, as well as on its celebrating five years since restoring independence. “Montenegro is a success story and is on the right track to achieving set goals,” said Mr Clinton.

Mr Clinton said he has no doubts as to Montenegro’s success in all areas, underlining that Montenegro’s progress should serve as an incentive for the region as a whole. He affirmed his support to Montenegro’s efforts by saying that he would be very glad to pledge his wholehearted support to Montenegro, a country of great potential, in its efforts to attract foreign direct investment. Towards the end of the meeting, President Clinton invited Prime Minister Luksic to be a guest of the Clinton Global Initiative ahead of the General Assembly annual session in New York.

Other Montenegro-EU news:

(17 May, 2011) – European parliamentarians officially visited Podgorica and met with Prime Minister Igor Luksic. During discussion about EU integration emphasize was made on Montenegro’s role, which could be of great importance for the entire region. Montenegro could be the next success story in the Western Balkans and thus be an “incentive to the EU member-states to continue supporting the enlargement policy” and also to the region to “remain persistent in its EU aspirations.”

MEPs concluded that Montenegro is “on the right track to meeting European recommendations,” and underlined their firm support to Montenegro to continue with its efforts.

PM Luksic stated that “Consensus on EU integration unites the whole of Montenegrin society.” and that “the Government will continue its efforts on completing activities arising from the Action Plan with the view to opening accession negotiations soon.”

European Commission Economic Forecast for Montenegro

The European Commission (EC) Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs has released it’s European Economic Forecast for Spring 2011 with a mixed forecast for Montenegro.

Positive Points from 2010:

  • Real economic expansion close to 1%
  • 19% increase in exported goods
  • 16% increase in exported services
  • 13% increase in the construction industries
  • Trade gap decreased by 4% of GDP
  • Current account deficit decreased by 5% of GDP
  • Net FDI increase
  • Very mild inflation
  • Disposable income rose 2.9%
  • The main negative point from 2010 was that unemployment remains above 19%.

    The report is subtitled “A recovery driven by external demand …”  The EC predicts that the Montenegrin economy will gain momentum in 2011 largely from export growth.  While the EC may see that as a potential negative, it is the correct solution for Montenegro at this time.  The EC would like to see a recovery fueled by domestic consumption, aided by an increase in domestic consumer lending.   This presupposes that Montenegrin’s can spend themselves into prosperity — a very questionable proposition.

    The EC believes that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into Montenegro will be “rather high” in 2011, but worries that there are not enough large infrastructure projects.  FDI is one of the critical factors for economic growth, but a large number of small projects is generally more stable and positive than a small number of large projects.

    The EC predicts that rising global prices will lead to inflation in Montenegro, but that this will be offset by the rising wages which result from economic growth.

    The EC believes that Montenegrin government debt will be brought under control in 2011 and begin to decrease.  This will be due in part to reduced government spending and in part to revenue increases which result from economic growth.

    Montenegrin government fails to protect LGBT people from homophobic violence

    Posted by Montenegro NewsBlog on 18/05/11
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    May 17th, 2011 A music concert was met by homophobic violence in the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica. During a performance by artist Lollobrigida on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, unknown groups threw teargas cans in the crowd, forcing half of the audience to disperse and seek medical assistance.

    In a related event, two members of the public were attacked in the centre of town, and told to “not spread the disease [homosexuality] here”.

    The Montenegrin government had earlier pledged to protect the LGBT pride event planned for 31 May, but has yet failed to earmark specific resources to protect the pride.

    In light of these incidents, organisers of the pride announced they would suspend their plans for a public event on 31 May. They called on the government to provide effective plans to protect participants and onlookers during the pride march.

    Currently in Podgorica, Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, reacted: “Today we saw first-hand the total lack of political will from national authorities to protect LGBT people and their supporters. These incidents are set to increase unless the Montenegrin government send a strong signal. And as Montenegro further progresses as a candidate to join the European Union, all its citizens must be protected and respected by authorities, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

    Also in Montenegro, Jelko Kacin MEP, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to South-East Europe, added: “It is deeply regrettable that the first gay pride parade in the country should be cancelled, due to authorities’ failure to unequivocally support the parade. The government’s genuine solidarity and public support is essential; formal approval is not sufficient, as it wasn’t followed by any concrete action.

    Today, Montenegro failed to demonstrate that it wants to progress towards EU accession equally fast, in all areas. Respect, protection and promotion of minority rights are a quintessential part of our common European values.”

    The LGBT Intergroup will continue monitoring the situation in Montenegro.

    Source: The European Parliament’s intergroup on LGBT Rights

     

    Montenegro urged to make more EU-related reforms

    18/05/2011

    PODGORICA, Montenegro — Stefano Sannino, deputy director-general of the EU’s Directorate General for Enlargement, said on Tuesday (May 17th) that Montenegro has made significant progress in meeting the criteria for EU membership but has a lot of work to do. Sannino was attending the second meeting of the EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee in Podgorica. He stressed the importance of the rule of law and respect for citizens’ freedoms, as well as parliament’s role in the country’s EU integration process. Sannino urged authorities to continue implementing judicial reforms and to keep fighting corruption and organised crime.

    source: RTCG, Portal Analitika, SETimes

    News during first 100 days of new government in Montenegro

    The aim of this report is to give an overview of happenings in Montenegrin political scene during the first hundred days of new Montenegrin government. It include links to most important news stories, related to Montenegro-EU relations as well as problems that country is facing on its way towards the EU.

    PODGORICA, Jan 21 2011 (Reuters) – European Union candidate member Montenegro will fight corruption as called for by Brussels but current government members are unlikely to face prosecution, the new prime minister said on Friday. (more – Montenegro PM to address EU corruption concerns-INTERVIEW)

    Chattam House issued an article about Montenegro named “The Survivor Exits”.  It states that Milo Djukanovic may have stepped down as the Prime Minister of Montenegro, but the conclusion of a protracted struggle over succession will ensure that he remains a key figure in Montenegrin politics. (download full article here)

    February 7th 2011: Poll Shows Montenegrins Afraid To Express Political Opinions. A Gallup poll shows that two thirds of Montenegrins are afraid to express their political opinion, RFE/RL’s Balkan Service reports. Robert Manchin, Gallup’s director for Europe, said that result “is the most alarming information in the whole research.”

    The European Union has granted Montenegro candidate member status but has warned that corruption, organized crime, and a compromised judiciary are the most important priorities. The Gallup poll also showed that, paradoxically, Montenegrins seem to trust their government, which has been dominated by Milo Djukanovic and his Democratic Party of Socialists since the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. (source…)

    February 16th 2011. While welcoming the European Council’s decision of December 2010 to grant Montenegro the status of candidate country, MEPs remain concerned by the corruption, organised crime, discrimination and curbs on media freedom that persist in the country (europolitics.info ; European Parliament backs Montenegro’s EU accession talks but raise concerns on corruption – full article)

    Despite growing concerns and huge citizens oppozition, government continued with efforts for building hydro plants. Montenegro has lined up 15 European companies keen to build hydro power plants to ease shortages and cut electricity imports, its deputy economics minister told Reuters. (full article) EC plans to monitor closely Montenegro’s hydro-electricity plants on the Moraca River (full article)

    February 24th 2011. Q&A with Montenegro’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration (read more here)

    Daily Newspaper Vijesti from Montenegro presented the analyse from Oxford Analytica. This analyses discussed Montenegro’s success in gaining EU candidate status last December, that was followed by the resignation of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic. He was replaced by the 34-year-old Luksic, widely seen as Djukanovic’s preferred successor. Luksic’s accession may be partly due to EU reluctance to countenance further progress to EU membership with Djukanovic in power. There are hopes that the new prime minister will tackle the deep-seated problems of organised crime and corruption, giving Montenegro a fresh start. However, since Djukanovic remains head of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, it is expected that his strong influence will not only remain, but also be protected by his successor Luksic. This was especially evident from Luksic’s statement, shortly after he was elected as Prime Minister, that Montenegro will not follow Croatian way of “sanaderization”. More at this link.

    Life as a journalist in Montenegro: punchbags and missionaries itching to do their job. Physical threats or threats of court action, unstable salaries and a lack of recognition. In a country which only ranked 104th on the 2010 world press freedom index compiled by reporters without borders (RWB), the journalist’s profession entails quite a number of downsides. This is one of the many paradoxes in Montenegro, for given the lack of political opposition the journalist is also the sole representative of the public interest. (read full article)

    February-March 2011. Prosecutors charge Budva officials with abuse of office (article)
    Montenegrin municipal officials reportedly resign (more…)

    March 3rd 2011. Montenegro’s PM headed to Brussels to present achievements. This was the first official visit since he assumed the office of the Prime Minister. On that occasion, he met with top officials of the EU and NATO, as well as with Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme. PM Igor Luksic met with NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen, president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. (more)
    Meeting with Igor LUKSIC, Prime Minister of Montenegro

    President of the European Parliament (EP) Jerzy Buzek stated in Brussels that, as regards the EP, accession negotiations between Montenegro and the European Union could start instantly (more)

    March 29th 2011. European Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule praises Montenegro (full article)
    Montenegro very important country for enlargement policy-EU Commissioner Fule (more…)

    Montenegro has held the 13th registration of population, households and dwellings. The first registration was held in 1879, while the last in 2003. To read more about political campaigns that were run during the census period, click here – Census in Montenegro – Théâtre de l’Absurde.

    March 31st 2011. German Chancellor pledges support to Montenegro’s EU and NATO bids (more)
    Merkel encourages Montenegro’s EU accession process (more)

    April 8th 2011. Human Rights Reports 2010: Montenegro. U.S. Secretary of State releases Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Report states that principal human rights problems include police mistreatment of suspects in detention; substandard prison conditions; police impunity; lengthy pretrial detention; inefficient trials; intimidation of journalists; mistreatment of refugees; widespread reports of government corruption; denial of public access to information; discrimination against women; trafficking in persons; discrimination against persons with disabilities; discrimination against ethnic minorities, particularly Roma; intolerance based on sexual identity; and infringement on the rights of workers. Full report on this link.

    April 11th 2011. EC President Barroso is pleased with Montenegro’s commitment and efforts demonstrated (more)
    Statement from Mr Barosso during his visit to Montenegro. (full text)

    April 16th 2011. Marko Milacic, young Montenegrian journalist who works for state-public broadcasting company, punished for attentnding citizen’s protests. The editors told him to stay away from broadcasting 20 to 30 days, and not appear on the screen. „I supported the street protests because I want to welcome the awakening of the citizens’s consciousness, that is the conditio sine qua non for real democracy.” – said the young journalist. The protest was organized on a Facebook page called „Street protest against Mafia”, with about 3000 supporters. They had basic democratic demands. „We have had the same government for the past 20 years now, it has to end. This is not the official opinion of the medium I work for, it is my belief. (more info)

    April 2011.Montenegro is highly conservative Balkan republic. But, since it hopes to one day enter the European Union it must prove tolerance and respect for the human rights of gays and lesbians. This is why government officially suported the first every gay pride march in capital of Montenegro - Podgorica. Prime Minister Luksic supported the event and stated that Montenegro must show readiness to accept people who are different.
    Montenegro prepares for first gay parade (more…)
    EC expects Montenegro to guarantee security during Gay Pride Parade (more…)
    Euro Parliament warns Turkey, Montenegro on gay equality (more...)
    More Leadership Needed to Ensure Fundamental Rights in the EU, Say MEPs (more…)

    OSCE Mission to Montenegro and NGO promote environmental activism (more)
    Protests for protection of Valdanos bay, olive trees region that government planned to destroy for tourist resort construction. (petition)
    Montenegro’s tender for the lease of the bay Valdanosj was declared unsuccessful (more...)

    Here are some of the other important news:
    - Special Report: In the wild west Balkans, a banker’s tale (read full article)
    - Preliminary data shows Montenegro’s net FDI inflow for the first two months up 21.5% (full report)
    - Upcoming EU President country, Poland, main objective is to speed up Western Balkan enlargement process-Source (more)
    - High Tide: From Transliteration Troubles To Corruption In Montenegro (article)
    - Montenegro-EU talks could start in 2011 (more)
    - “Montenegrin govt. was involved in organized crime, wikileaks reports from Montenegro” (more)
    - Montenegro – assessing five years of independence (full report)
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    Montenegro and European Union rss

    The only blog in English about politics of Montenegro in the globalized world. Independent views about positive and negative aspects of EU integration, NATO membership, globalisation and other local, regional and global events. more.



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