Annual press conference of Government of Montenegro: Successful accomplishment of programme goals in all sectors

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    Podgorica, Montenegro (1December 2017) — In his presentation at the Government’s annual press conference, Deputy Prime Minister Milutin Simović emphasised that the basic features of the work of the Ministry of Agriculture were openness and cooperation with agricultural producers and processors, their associations, local governments, international partners and scientific and professional institutions, adding that this year’s Agro budget was increased by 40%… Annual press conference of Government of Montenegro: Successful accomplishment of programme goals in all sectors

    Podgorica, Montenegro (1December 2017) — In his presentation at the Government’s annual press conference, Deputy Prime Minister Milutin Simović emphasised that the work of the Ministry of Agriculture in 2017 was characterised by openness and cooperation with agricultural producers and processors, their associations, local governments, international partners and scientific and professional institutions, adding that this year’s Agro budget was increased by 40%.

    “With the support of European funds and funds from the national budget, through the IPARD Like project, a total of 237 projects amounting to EUR 16 million were contracted, along with a EUR 7-million grant;

    An innovative concept of further implementation of the ADMAS project was adopted with a view to significantly broader coverage of the users for the remaining 24 million dollars;

    The project with the International Fund for the Development of Agriculture – IFAD of a total value of EUR 5.8 million was launched, thus contributing to the development of rural areas in seven municipalities;

    The financial agreement on the implementation of the IPARD was signed, through which 39 million euros of non-refundable support from the European Union will be available to our agricultural producers and processors;

    Negotiations for the new World Bank’s project – MIDAS 2 totalling EUR 30 million for supporting agriculture, rural development, fisheries and food security are in their final stage,” said DPM Simović.

    He reiterated that 8 food production facilities received EU export numbers under the Decision of the European Commission.

    Speaking about the results in the forestry sector, Vice President Simović said production in that area grew by 25.4 percent, and 3.3 percent in the wood industry, with the growth of budget revenues of 9.3 percent, adding: “The introduction of a moratorium on the export of logs came to increase the export of cut timber by 17 percent and pellets by as much as 225 percent. Export of logs decreased 37 times and of firewood by 70%. We launched a project for the reorganisation of the concept of concessional use of forests.”

    “The results we achieved together – the government, agricultural producers and processors and our international partners give us the right to stay positive and ambitious when it comes to the next year’s plans as well,” Deputy Prime Minister Simović emphasised.

    Summarising the most important results in the field of judicial reform, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Zoran Pažin especially pointed out that the Ministry started the implementation of a project of historical importance – the codification of civil law – which should result in passing the Civil Code of Montenegro, which will engage prominent experts in these areas.

    Speaking about the most important activities in the field of judicial cooperation, DPM Pažin announced that the process of Montenegro’s membership in the European Commission Justice Programme has been initiated, and will provide additional value to the negotiation process in terms of the rule of law and implementation of the acquis in the field of justice.

    “I am particularly pleased to announce that Montenegro signed Tuesday the Founding Agreement of the International Organisation for the Development of Rights (IDLO), and once the agreement is ratified, Montenegro will become a full member of the organisation. Joining this organisation will contribute to strengthening the role of IDLO as an important stakeholder in the strengthening of judicial institutions, independence of the judiciary, access to justice, human rights and the rule of law,” said DPM Pažin.

    Deputy Prime Minister for Regional Development Rafet Husović stressed that the investments in the northern region prevail when it comes to economic and development policies aimed at reducing regional inequalities. The action plan for the implementation of the Regional Development Strategy of Montenegro in 2017 stipulates projects in the amount of EUR 726.9 million, out of which EUR 376 million for the development of the north, or 52% of the total funds defined by the Strategy.

    Darko Radunović, Minister of Finance, pointed out the excellent financial results achieved by the fiscal consolidation measures this year, which contributed to the achievement of a high level of economic growth. He said that fiscal policy will be firmly based on the fiscal strategy, taking into account the implementation of structural reforms aimed at stimulating business environment and greater possibility of stimulating entrepreneurship and employment, as it is set out in the draft budget law for 2017.

    State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zoran Janković noted that the numerous diplomatic activities unquestionably testify to the firm commitment of the Government to working decisively and persistently towards accomplishing the country’s strategic foreign policy priorities – Euro-Atlantic and European integration, improvement of good neighbourly relations and strengthening of regional cooperation. Mr Janković emphasised that NATO membership is the greatest foreign policy success of Montenegro.

    “It is not only a solid and long-term guarantee of sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of the State, but a prerequisite for unhindered economic development and the strengthening of inflows of foreign investments,” State Secretary Janković underlined.

    Presenting the results in the defence area, Minister Predrag Bošković said that in October 2017, Montenegro participated for the first time as a member of NATO in the eight-day simulation exercise titled “Crisis Management Exercise 2017 – CMX 17.”

    Minister of European Affairs Aleksandar Andrija Pejović emphasised the fact that Montenegro is the only country to receive money from the Berlin Process for the environment amounting to EUR 9 million.

    “We have built additional capacities in cooperation with civil society, we will continue our work in 2018,” Minister Pejović said, adding that during the first year of the Government’s work, Montenegro opened 4 and started the process of closing one negotiating chapter.”

    Pavle Radulović, Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism, said that the Montenegrin tourism is breaking records, with a number of the world’s leading tourist brands deciding to build in Montenegro. “Renowned tour operators are returning to our country, Montenegro’s ranking in the Doing Business report greately improved,” Minister Radulovic pointed out.

    Economy Minister Dragica Sekulić recalled of this year’s economic growth, which, according to the World Bank, ranks Montenegro among the fastest growing economies in the Western Balkan region, noting that the economic growth for 2017 is projected at the level of 4.2 percent.

    Osman Nurkovic, Minister of Transport and Maritime Affairs, said that last year was intense and challenging for this department, and that the next one will be even more dynamic. He stated that the construction of the priority section of the motorway marked last year, adding that works are being carried out on 95 percent of the route, including 15 tunnels out of 16, 15 bridges out of 20 of total length of 6,122 km, while the works on the most demanding bridge “Moračica” are going on faster than it was planned.

    Ministry of Health is dedicated to increasing the quality of citizens’ health care and improving the conditions for the work of employees, and this year EUR 11.800.000 was allocated for procurement of medical equipment, Health Minister Kenan Hrapović said, adding that private pharmacies were re-networked into the public health system.

    Minister of Public Administration Suzana Pribilović stated that the establishment of the Ministry of Public Administration created conditions for intensifying the process of public administration reform in Montenegro, as one of the three pillars of the EU enlargement process.

    “We created preconditions to receive the first tranche of 4 million euros in the first quarter of 2018, out of a total of 15 million, as direct budget support for public administration reform,” Minister Pribilović said.

    Interior Minister Mevludin Nuhodžić expressed satisfaction with the police’s results in the fight against serious and organised crime, pointing out that there has been an increase in the confidence of citizens in the work of the police.

    “As far as I am concerned, it is the most objective criterion,” he underlined.

    Damir Šehović, Minister of Education, reminded that the Ministry, in line with the Government’s decision to put education at the top of its priorities, amended 8 systemic laws, thus implementing the reform at all levels of education.

    “We are set to achieve several strategic goals: to improve quality, create a free education system based on knowledge, not on wealth or status in society, harmonise education with labour market needs, create conditions for acquiring practical knowledge, define a model for rewarding the best and create conditions for improving the status of educational workers,” Minister Šehović said.

    Minister of Science Sanja Damjanović emphasised that Montenegro has initiated an initiative to establish a large scientific infrastructure – a new international scientific institute in the region of Southeast Europe, which would be a fader of the new cycle of economic development, scientific and technological recovery of the entire region. She said that this project will contribute to halting the outflow of talent from the region, but would also make the region competitive with the rest of Europe and would be a place to attract highly skilled personnel.

    Zoran Pažin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, presented the realisation of programme goals in the field of culture, in the capacity of the head of the department. He particularly referred to the measures taken in cooperation with UNESCO to protect the natural and cultural-historical heritage of Kotor, noting that one of the key goals has already been achieved: in July 2017, the Kotor fortress was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List as part of the Venetian defence fortress system, the joint nomination of Italy, Croatia and Montenegro.

    DPM Pažin announced that the focus in 2018 will also be placed on improving freedom of the media, through amendments to the legislative framework, voicing the Government’s commitment to affirming media freedom.”

    Minister for Human and Minority Rights Mehmed Zenka pointed out that in the area of protection of human and minority rights, it is particularly important that laws amending the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination and the Law on Minority Rights and Freedoms were passed, while the Government has established the Draft Law on Selection, Use and the Public Display of National Symbols. He noted that when it comes to the two last laws, it is a matter of key and fundamental laws in achieving minority rights and expressed satisfaction with the fact that both laws were drafted with a great consensus among representatives of political minorities in Montenegro, which represents a major step forward in respecting minority rights.

    Kemal Purišić, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, said that new solutions to the Law on Social and Child Care provide fair distribution, stability, financial sustainability of the social system, as well as regularity in payment of benefits; a group of beneficiaries of social benefits was expanded, and the increase in fees improved the material position of some vulnerable groups. He emphasised that the regular payment of pensions and the liquidity of the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund continued, as well as that the stimulus and support to the labour market policy resulted in the fact that the total average employment in the nine months of 2017 increased by 3.4%.

    PUBLIC RELATIONS SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTENEGRO

    Source: Government of Montenegro