Suzhou, China (24 November 2015) – “Since the diplomatic relations were established nine years ago, the friendship between Montenegro and China has been continuously strengthened. The 16 + 1 initiative has further boosted our cooperation and given it new dynamics,” Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Đukanović noted in his address at the 4th Summit of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern Europe Countries, taking place in Suzhou, China, on 24-25 November.
The Prime Minister underlined that Montenegro is the smallest country within the 16+1 mechanism, but that it is using a significant part of the preferential loan package for infrastructure projects. Economic growth is impossible without advancing infrastructure, PM Đukanović said, adding that Montenegro and its CCCC-CRBC partners have started the construction of the first Montenegrin highway, which will connect the Adriatic coast, via Belgrade and Budapest, with Central and Western Europe.
“This is a new starting point for the future of our cooperation. The point from which we can see a new domain – linking the Montenegrin Port of Bar to the Adriatic port corridor, which would mean the achievement of the ‘Win-Win’ strategy proclaimed by China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. For Montenegro, it is important to engage and develop the Port of Bar’s potential, and for China to expand the ‘One belt, one road’ network initiative,” he explained.
Boosting the capacity of the Port of Bar, as well as the modernisation of the Bar-Belgrade-Budapest railway, will enable the region to be better connected, and natural resources and comparative advantages of Montenegro to be better used, PM Đukanović explained, adding this will make the Chinese companies to invest in the region and open new opportunities for cooperation in the common interest.
According to the Prime Minister, Montenegro also stands good chances in the fields of energy, as it now uses less than 30% of its hydro potential.
“By building new hydro power plants, we could become one of the most significant peak power producers, which is highly valued on the stock exchange. This represents an extraordinary potential for cooperation with foreign partners. Especially when one takes into account the possibility of selling electricity to the EU market via the undersea cable between Montenegro and Italy – the project that is being implemented. This way, Montenegro will become a regional hub for the transmission of electricity. At the same time, all power potential in this part of Europe will significantly gain in attractiveness and export performance,” he underscored.
He also referred to tourism, as one of the strategic sectors of Montenegro’s economy.
“The best-known global companies have shown interest in the Montenegrin tourism. Many of them are already our partners. Montenegro is one of the fastest growing tourist economies in the world, as acknowledged by the analysis of all relevant tourism organisations. We understand that we should concentrate on joint tourism packages to attract more visitors from geographically distant markets such as China,” PM Đukanović stated.
Relations with China could be further upgraded through linking the 16 + 1 initiative to the Berlin process having been launched by the German Government in 2014 and continued this year in Vienna.
“These two initiatives are entirely complementary. Our example shows that projects can be implemented trilaterally as well. Reconstruction of a part of Montenegro’s railway is being performed by the Chinese partners, and funded from the EU funds,” the Prime Minister pointed out.
He concluded by saying that the proposed Middle-Term Agenda and Suzhou Guidelines form the strong basis for the implementation of priority projects in the region, representing a powerful impetus to its future economic development.
Source: Government of Montenegro