My actions speak louder than words, there is not a critic or a media that can crook the image of Podgorica, but I am always ready, with clear conscience, for any inspection into my work, Miomir Mugoša said for Weekend Edition of Dnevne Novine daily.
“I will remind you that on February 16th of this year was an anniversary of a quarter of a century since I have been responsible for many serious business in the state of Montenegro. My actions speak louder than words, there is not a critic or a media that can crook the image of Podgorica, that I have been fighting for during my 15 years of laborious work as a Major. As I said when I abandoned my post to go be an ambassador of Montenegro in Slovenia, I am always ready for an inspection of my work by Montenegro’s state institutions”, Miomir Mugoša said to Weekend Edition of Dnevne Novine daily, commenting on media headlines about the Prosecution being “interested” in his work as a Major.
He would not go into further details, saying “everyone should do their job, in accordance with the law, I hope”.
Exactly one year ago ambassador Mugoša submitted his accreditations to the President of Slovenia Borut Pahor. On that occasion, he spoke to Weekend Edition of Dnevne Novine daily about his year long diplomatic mission.
WEDN: Are you pleased with your post in Slovenia?
MUGOŠA: Objectivity dictates that one’s work is judged by his peers. In this case, judge of the work of the team of Montenegro’s Embassy in Ljubljana was Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, and I am pleased with their assessment. Still, when it comes to my personal work, I think there is always a space for bigger and more productive engagement. Also, during my long-term professional engagement on many different state official posts I have always regarded actions to be louder than words, so the concise answer to your question could be the fact that the meetings between high instances of Slovenia and Montenegro are now more often, and certainly has increased in relation to the last three years. The list of signed bilateral agreements in different fields is very long as well.
WEDN: What was discussed in these meetings?
MUGOŠA: Bilateral meetings of the highest officials of our state put aside, we had many productive cooperations between ministries, and the cooperation at the local administration level was revived. This bears great significance for our municipalities, because they can learn from good practices and experience of Slovenian administrations. This year saw our Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Minister of Health visit officially, while our current activities are focused on the preparation for a visit of Minister of Culture, during which an agreement of cooperation will be signed between two ministries. Visits from our high state officials are also in the plans, and special focus is given to the visit of Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek and Slovenian delegation of agriculture workers in the end of June. This should provide a further push to the development of economic relations between our two countries.
WEDN: At what level are those relations?
MUGOŠA: Aside from good, fruitful and friendly cooperation, without open political issues in the bilateral field, I think there exists a large space for development of economic relations between two countries, taking into account that product trade is still not satisfactory. Slovenia agrees on this matter, and openly states “that commercial cooperation between our two countries is to weak and that in the future we must put focused efforts in that field”.
WEDN: What is the way to fix that?
MUGOŠA: The visit of Minister Počivalšek with the delegation of 20-30 respected representatives of Slovenian businesses will be a first step in the initiative for a wider and more quality economic cooperation. We need to understand that Slovenia went through an economic crisis, as did many countries. We can now notice the recovery, and the fact the Slovenian export has risen for 6% last year supports that. It is encouraging to state that in February this year, export increased for 7,9% in relation to February of last year.
WEDN: What are your current activities?
MUGOŠA: The implementation of Program of International Development and Cooperation between Slovenia and Montenegro gives a special contribution to strengthening of economic relations. Its total value for the period of 2013-2015 was 2.097.568 million EUR. The amount of 1.329.347 million EUR was spent for financing development projects that have a goal of improving infrastructure for development of economic and social components, 315.000 EUR was spent for funding technical support, while the remaining 453.221 EUR was spent for projects of environmental protection that were assigned through UNIDO. The Government of Montenegro passed a draft annex to the Program in August 2015, that was signed in Ljubljana on October 26th 2015, during the official visit of Montenegro’s delegation lead by Prime Minister Milo Đukanović. The work of Montenegro-Slovenian Committee for implementation of Agreement on Economic Cooperation, signed in Budva on September 5th 2011, needs to be intensified.
WEDN: Are there any new potential investors?
MUGOŠA: We need to underline the fact that Slovenian investments in Montenegro, for the period of 2002 to November 2015, are in the amount of 350,6 million EUR. Slovenia is in position ten on the list of foreign investors, with the participation of 4,5% in total investments. Slovenian capital has been present in many Montenegro’s companies, in financial and insurance businesses, in tourism, trade, construction. Still, however, I believe that economic parameters that describe the relations of our states can be improved, and Embassy in Ljubljana is dedicated to that matter. Currently, consultations on defining Agreement on Mutual Support and Protection of Investments and Agreement on Avoiding Double Tax are in progress, and these agreements should further support the economic relationship between Slovenia and Montenegro.
WEDN: Does the fact that Slovenia is a member of EU and NATO contribute to Montenegro’s integration into EU and NATO?
MUGOŠA: When we define this relationship, firstly I would like to point out that Slovenia is a friendly state and an honest partner to Montenegro, with strong contributions to our course of reforms, and especially processes of integration. If we speak of evolution of this relationship, we can see that it started while we were in a united state, and then we went through SFRJ’s disintegrations, had turbulent times and recovered in the new reality, which can perhaps be explained by better understanding between small states and nations.
WEDN: What is the concrete manifestation of that?
MUGOŠA: Let’s not forget that Slovenia was among the first to recognized Montenegro’s independence and that the first embassy in independent Montenegro was none other than that of Slovenia. It was opened on June 23rd of 2006 by a then-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia Dimitrij Rupel. Special significance to EU integration of Montenegro, Slovenia has given through its role of contact country for NATO in two mandates, as well as through expert help in passing and implementing necessary reforms in all fields. Slovenia has continuously dedicated efforts for Montenegrin strategic interests in regional and multilateral communication on many international addresses.
WEDN: What is the Slovenian opinion on current political situation in Montenegro?
MUGOŠA: We cannot accurately speak of attitudes of one society in general. My opinion, based on daily readings of Slovenian media and estimates from credible political analysts and contacts with high state officials and colleagues in the diplomacy, is that Montenegro enjoys a great level of understanding and support for its integration processes. There is a belief that Montenegrin society is democratically mature and ready to reasonably and responsibly solve its many societal issues, as well as contemporary regional and global challenges, on the equal foot with other international subjects.
Source: Cafe Del Montenegro