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PM Đukanović: ” I think it is hard to deny that Montenegro is now the most developed economy in the the Western Balkans, although a decade ago, it was among the less developed republics on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia. Nowadays, there are some large-scale investments in infrastructure, energy and tourism, and that the momentum that is obvious in the field of economic development will only be accelerated…”
Prime Minister Milo Đukanović’s interview for the Voice of America Open Studio TV programme
Broadcast live on 21 September 2016 at 22:00 (CET)
Next month, we have elections in Montenegro, you told us in an interview after the Summit in Warsaw that the elections will be in a way a referendum on NATO membership. Are you of the same opinion now?
Prime Minister Milo Đukanović: I think that time strongly confirmed that assumption of mine. As you can see in the current election campaign in Montenegro, the ruling coalition, namely the ruling party – the Democratic Party of Socialists, supported by minority parties in Montenegro, remains fully committed to the course of full integration of Montenegro into NATO and the European Union. Unfortunately, I would say that opponents of this course have joined their forces and that they are now strengthened by some parties that until recently have not supported this policy, trying to challenge or at least slow down Montenegro’s membership in NATO. I believe that Montenegro has already seriously progressed on that way and that there is no turning back. Montenegro was also committed to this goal before independence, and especially during the past ten years. It has adopted a new system of values that are also shared by the EU and NATO. I think that we have made a lot achievements and set a good foundation for the future – modern and developed Montenegro as a European country. I think that the elections, taking place on 16 October, will only confirm Montenegro’s determination to continue in that direction.
Your political opponents say that Montenegro under the leadership of your party have regressed over the past 20 years, that there is a serious problem with crime and corruption, that the standard of living has declined. What do you say about these allegations and what new ideas primarily in economic terms do you offer?
Prime Minister Milo Đukanović: It is commonplace for the opposition to criticise the government. It becomes more visible during pre-election periods, so that it is more or less expected that the opposition speaks with contempt about the Government’s efforts made in the past and the results they produced.
However, I think it is hard to deny that Montenegro is now the most developed economy in the the Western Balkans, although a decade ago, it was among the less developed republics on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia. Nowadays, there are some large-scale investments in infrastructure, energy and tourism, and the momentum that is obvious in the field of economic development will only be accelerated. If we know that the average growth rate of Montenegro during the last decade has been at the level of 3.2%, in the time when the growth rate in Europe has been less than 1%, then there is no doubt that you cannot really prove political assessment the opposition puts forward in order to discredit the ruling structure and take power.
However, it is clear that we in power are not satisfied with what we have achieved, that we have much more ambitious goals to reach. Therefoe, we understand the impatience of the public, which expects all the problems that represent historical heritage of Montenegro and the region to be overcome within a shorter period of time. We are of course willing to tackle this challenge, and that is what we are presenting to the Montenegrin public on the eve of the elections. We, therefore, think it is really possible to boost the standard of living in Montenegro through a wise and sustainable use of unused development resources. To this end, we permanently improve our business environment in order to enable foreign investors and domestic business people to join the Government’s efforts to optimally use so far unused resources. First of all, we are motivated by the need to mobilise all the entrepreneurial potentials of Montenegro, continue to open new small and medium enterprises, and activate this type of business, so that more and more people in Montenegro get the chance to work and contribute to what will be successes at the national level.
Translated by the Public Relations Service of the Government of Montenegro
Source: Government of Montenegro