Montenegro and European Union

December 21st 2010. Mr Djukanovic, who led Montenegro 20 years (served 5 times as prime minister and once as President), has long signalled his plans to quit. He announced today, on a press conference that he quits position of Prime Minister, but he will keep his role in the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists. Now that Montenegro earned candidate country status for EU membership, Mr. Djukanovic stressed that country is stable and considered as factor of peace and stability in the region.

It is expected that current Minister of Finances, Mr Igor Luksic, will be chosen as a new PM. The Economist, in the recent article about Montenegro, stressed that “handing over to Igor Luksic, his deputy. Mr Djukanovic may hope to keep influence behind the scenes, although he knows that Ivo Sanader, his former counterpart in Croatia, tried and failed to do this (and now stands accused of massive corruption).”

Independent analysts and intellectuals are worried that PM’s resignation doesn’t mean a lot. Prominent university professor Dr Filip Kovacevic in his recent article in daily newspaper “Vijesti” said that “The person who did not fight for his/her liberation does not know to appreciate its value. The resignation of the long-time Montenegrin authocratic prime minister Milo Djukanovic should have come about as the result of country-wide mass protests. In this way, it appears to be yet another authoritarian game of the domestic and international power-elite.” Internet blogger Stefan Popovic also expressed his concerns: “After they (PM Djukanovic and his close family and friends) bought everything they could (especially the most valuable land), it’s quite convenient to withdraw from power now, leaving career-thirsty colleagues to deal with social problems emerged from his 20 years authocratic rule. Naturally, I expect that no important legislation would be passed without his consent in the future.”

During today’s press conference, Mr Djukanovic listed all the results of his government in recent years and pointed out that he did the best he could in order to foster development and bring the country closer to European Union and NATO. Answering the questions of the journalists, Djukanovic announced that he will now devote himself to a private business, although his past business interests have raised concerns in domestic and international public sphere. (read here his controversial political biography)

As The Economist points out – Montenegro has a lot on its plate. A Serbian newspaper claims that Darko Saric, an alleged cocaine trafficker on trial in absentia, spent some of this year living in a luxury hotel on the Montenegrin coast. Milorad Veljovic, chief of the Serbian police, said that Mr Saric could not be the real boss of the gang, a remark taken to mean that it was a controversial Montenegrin businessman. ….
Drugs are not the only issue. In November Italy and Montenegro agreed to build an undersea cable to let Montenegro export electricity. The country does not yet have enough electricity for itself, let alone for export. Plans to build four dams on the Moraca river could solve that. But Darko Pajovic of Green Home, an NGO, says the project would have a bad environmental impact and likens it to an “African scenario of economic development”. Dejan Mijovic of Forum 2010, another activist group, will seek a judicial review. He notes that, in 2015, the region’s energy market will be liberalised. After that, he says, electricity will flow to richer Italy, meaning that Montenegrins will have to pay more for their power despite spending up to €200m ($267m) on the dams.

In a statement to SETimes in October 2009, professor Filip Kovacevic warned that Montenegro is an unreformed one-party state, where the interests of a small group of people, all with close links to Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, rule with impunity at the expense of the interests of the vast majority of Montenegrin citizens. We recently published the fragment of a study by prof.Kovacevic, and you can read it here (article: Rhetoric and Reality: Is Montenegrin government really pro-European? )

Related articles:

2009: Opposition moves towards boycott of undemocratic elections in Montenegro.

Remembering past – 1998: The New York Times reported about situation in Yugoslavia and clash between former partners Milosevic and Djukanovic (current PM of Montenegro)

Another successful boycott of undemocratic elections in Montenegro. Signs of one-party system?

2008: Why victory is “mission impossible” for the opposition in Montenegro

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