Brussels, Belgium (1 December 2015) — Montenegro wants to accelerate sustainable development, committed to giving high priority to the implementation of key environmental policies, such as tourism, energy, agriculture and transport, said Minister of Tourism and Sustainable Development Branimir Gvozdenović at a meeting with European Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella in Brussels earlier today.
Noting that quality and sustainable environmental protection are preconditions for economic prosperity of Montenegro, Minister Gvozdenović briefed the European Commissioner on the dynamics of drafting a comprehensive national strategy aimed at endorsing European demanding standards in this field.
Commissioner Vella welcomed Montenegro’s efforts towards drafting the national strategy, emphasising the importance of this strategic document as the basis for transposition of European legislation and its successful application. He praised the government’s inclusive approach and close inter-departmental communication when developing strategies, as well as the intention to involve representatives of the civil society and the economy in the broad consultations on this complex and challenging issue.
Minister Gvozdenović pointed out that Montenegro, a country where the protected areas make up one quarter of the national territory, is aware that there is no dynamic economic and sustainable tourism development without serious commitment and major investment in environmental protection.
He said that the adoption of European standards and achievement of a high level of environmental protection is crucial for Montenegro’s tourism development, meaning that the country is expected to more than double the current number of tourist visits by 2025, while increasing the share of tourism in GDP from the current 20% to 31%. In that regard, he thanked for the expert and financial support provided by the European Commission, hopeful that the European experts will continue to support the efforts of the Montenegrin public administration towards achieving high European standards of environmental protection in all sectoral policies.
Commissioner Vella agreed with the statement that the quality of environmental protection is a precondition for economic development, adding that the European Commission is willing to assist Montenegro in achieving the standards set up in European legislation.
Minister Gvozdenović also met in Brussels with Head of the Unit for Montenegro at the European Commission Dirk Lange, with whom he discussed fulfilling requirements for opening the negotiating chapter 27. Minister Gvozdenović stated that the full implementation of European standards in this area require a major investment in environmental protection through ensuring EU support. Mr Lange welcomed the efforts made by the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism towards preparing a comprehensive and efficient national strategy in the field of environment and expressed the European Commission’s willingness to support Montenegro’s activities in that regard.
Source: Government of Montenegro