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PRILOZI, PISMA I DISKUSIJE - IX > The arguments about Montenegro as independent state


29 Mar 2006

 

Which arguments state that Montenegro would be better to take its own road, as independent state, towards the European Unions?

 

 

 

First Group of Arguments:

POLITICAL SYSTEM, DEVELOPMENT OF DEMOCRACY, ROLE OF LAW and PROTECTION OF MINORITIES 

1. MONTENEGRO COULD BE A GOOD EXAMPLE OF GRADUAL INTEGRATION INTO THE EU, SINCE IT REPRESENTS AN EXAMPLE OF “LIVING TOGETHER IN DIVERSITY”

-    Different confessions and nations, that have lived together in this region for centuries, represent a true recognition of the key principle of European integration «Living together in the diversity»;

-    Montenegro has a thousand year tradition (13 July 1878 - the Congress of Berlin recognised Montenegro as the 27th independent state in the world);

-    During the 90’s, Montenegro has succeeded to preserve peace in the country, and it has been opened for all the refugees and displaced persons from the ex-Yugoslavia countries as well as from Kosovo (For example, in 1999 Montenegrin population increased for 20%);

-    Montenegro - good neighbour: Montenegro wants to take its future in its hands, and to build its independent European road, till the membership in the European Union, simultaneously developing good relations with all the neighbouring countries, including Serbia and Kosovo

-    Montenegro- respecting minority rights, good multiethnic society

-    Montenegro- respecting international institutions, including Hague

2. Due to the experiences gained in three Yugoslavias as well as in the State Union, MONTENEGRO HAS STRONG AND GROWING POLITICAL WILL TO CREATE ITS EUROPEAN ROAD INDEPENDENTLY, THUS PROTECTING NOT ONLY STATE INTERESTS, BUT INTERESTS OF CITIZENS AND BUSINESS AS WELL.

3. RIGHT ON DIRECT REPRESENTING OF INTERESTS OF THE STATE OF MONTENEGRO ON THE NEGOTIATION ROAD

 - Partner relation with EU , as well as with all the neighbouring countries having the European road as their strategic priority

 - Creation of a small and efficient diplomatic network which would represent Montenegrin interests in other   countries and international institutions

 - Establishment of EC Delegation Office in Podgorica – by its founding, representatives of the Montenegrin society will develop more direct contacts with EU institutions/ Government, Parliament, NGOs , educational institutions, etc./

  - Forming the network of Embassies  of foreign states in Montenegro /improvement of communication, better contacts, new working positions for young and educated people.

4. MONTENEGRIN ADMINISTRATIVE CAPACITIES for the process of negotiating and taking over obligations under the Stabilisation and Association Agreement HAVE BEEN SIGNIFICANTLY ENHANCED

 -  In the hitherto negotiations, Montenegro, as a smaller system, has affirmed good coordination of its institution and developed clear negotiation positions

-  Visa facilitation – will be easer to accomplished with less costs including adaptation of our institutions as well

-   Plan B -  even the European Union has emphasised that, in case of Montenegro’s independency, it would immediately activate the plan B. All that has been negotiate so far will represent a starting point for consolidation and faster finalisation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Montenegro and European Union    

5. DERIVED POSITIVE IMPACTS – POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE REGION:

 - Independent European road of Montenegro certainly has a positive impact on the whole region, since it is neither opposite to the interests of other countries in the region, nor to the interests of Serbia /For instance, separate accession to the WTO is a good example of creating positive competition between Montenegro and Serbia, which can be always achieved through full respect for both economic and political interests of the “partners”/

 - By taking full responsibility for its European future, Montenegro completely relies on its capacity. Developing the strong state of low and strong institutions in compliance with European standards. Montenegro can represent a good case for the entire region.   

6. Considering POLITICAL, AND ECONOMIC CRITERIA AS WELL THE EUROPEAN ROAD OF INDEPENDENT MONTENEGRO WOULD DEFINITELY BE:

- FASTER

- WITH LESS ( ADAPTATION) COSTS

- WITH FASTER POSITIVE IMPACTS ON DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF MONTENEGRIN CITIZENS

 

The Second Group of Arguments:

ECONOMIC ARGUMENTS

 

1.  MONTENEGRO COULD BE A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A DYNAMIC ECONOMIC INTEGRATION INTO THE EU, since it represents A SMALL OPENED ECONOMIC SYSTEM, without great protectionism, with excellent resources, qualified human resources, high level of achieved economic reforms and privatisation level of about 70%

-    Strategic development document – Economic Reform Agenda 2002-07 represents a kind of “European Agenda” for Montenegro.  Economic reforms are dynamically and systematically implemented, including also restructuring of companies in the public sector, restitution process, enhancement of property rights protection and incentives in the area of investment policy, that enable access to the market and strategic foreign partners  bringing new investments and thus stimulate additional employment in Montenegro/ all these areas have not yet been covered by legislation in Serbia and certain period of time will be needed to harmonise these areas which would reflect on the dynamics of reforms in Montenegro/

-    Lower customs rates- better market supplying with popular prices, better choice of goods and better consumer protection with introduction of European standards in this field/  customs rate have only been a bit increased for sensitive agriculture products that are domestically produced in order to make them gradually adapt to conditions of growing competition on the single European market.

 

2. INDEPENDENT MONTENEGRO AS AN ATTRACTIVE INVESTMENT ENVIRONMENT

 - As a country with minimum level of foreign debt  and the biggest amount of foreign investments per capita in the Region in 2005 /382 € of the new foreign investment, i.e. 612€ per capita/, represent an economy which is  significantly improved investment environment and support development perspectives (laws significantly harmonized with EU standards, institutions, transparent investment procedures, additional incentive measures); Montenegro could be attractive for potential investors, especially in the areas of tourism, transport infrastructure and agriculture.

3. POSITIVE ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF INDEPENDENCE:

-    More funds in the budget – More efficient alternative use of € 42 mil, that was spent for the army in 2005 (dynamic reform of the defence system, in accordance with our needs);

-    Higher quality in relations with international financial institutions (IMF) - good indicators of macroeconomic stability/ low inflation rate, the lowest foreign debt per capita in region, gradual reduction of public expenditure, encouraging fiscal politic, credit   rating BB+ as a good message to investors, dynamic reduction of  employment rate, under 19%/

-    Keeping Euro in payment operations- lower transaction costs, stabile currency, attractive to investors and familiar to foreign tourists,  risks of primary admission, on which we can not have an impact, have been avoided,  approximation to the Maastricht  criteria on monetary and budgetary discipline, which will enable more dynamic and easier accession to the EU  

-    More credits for infrastructure in Montenegro-  because Montenegro as an independent state has much better debt indicators and possibilities of getting new credits / foreign debt per capita in Montenegro  is 823€ , while in Serbia it totals 1660€/. This implies better selection of priorities for investing in infrastructure, more possibilities for financing Montenegrin infrastructure development projects,  particularly for regional and rural development  /“ Integration” of debts would lead towards situation in which an average Montenegrin citizen would become  “double” indebted overnight/.

-    More donations- inline with Montenegro’s priorities and needs of domicile populations     

-    Larger and high quality scope of bilateral political and economic cooperation, especially with the EU countries;

-    More direct access and larger scope of the financial support provided from European funds and programmes for the accessing countries- Montenegro as an independent state can receive more funds because it represents a separate subjects/ Following the introduction of the twin track model, funds from CARDS programme intended for Montenegro were increased, from 8% in 2003. to approximately 12% in 2005. This will also be the case when access to IPA instruments, starting 2007, is at stake/.

-    Free movement of goods, services, labour and capital with all the neighbouring countries, including Serbia- common trade policy of the Western Balkan countries will be defined through a single Free Trade Agreement. This means - no customs duties between countries in the region, no “ hard” borders, no additional barriers, on the contrary,  the barriers will be removed, and that in the best interests of businessmen’s in Montenegro and Serbia as well. The European Union would react seriously on the new barriers, especially if they would be politically motivated.

 

4. TAKING CARE OF NEEDS AND RIGHTS OF MONTENEGRIN CITIZENS OUTSIDE MONTENEGRO AND PROTECTION OF PROPERTY AND OTHER RIGHTS OF SERBIAN CITIZENS IN MONTENEGRO - BASE FOR  FUTURE GOOD COOPERATION IN VARIOUS AREAS OF LIFE AND BUSINESS

-  The state of Montenegro will be dedicated  to ensuring a continuous access to the educational market to Montenegrin students- in accordance with internationalisation of higher education market and principles of Bologna declaration that we have signed, Montenegro will enable continuous studying at high education institutions in Serbia, even under conditions acquiring the full independency, which is of mutual interests /Agreements between states with the view of promoting cooperation in the area of education, agreements on cooperation between universities, scholarships granted by the state, credits, exchange, joint projects and access to European educational founds/

-  Montenegro will continue to pay, thought the Health Found, all health services provided in other countries including Serbia, which are not possible to provide in Montenegro.

- Montenegro will  also propose one separate agreement to be signed with Serbia , not only in the area of mutual coordination and cooperation in the field of health protection, but in the area of social security as well, which should enable excercise of rights to pension of Montenegrin citizens in Serbia and vice versa (similar agreemens exist, for example, with Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina).

-  In order to continue good and mutually useful political and economic relations with Serbia, the state of Montenegro will, by special act,  pass a decision on protection of property and other rights of Serbians citizens in Montenegro as an act of good will and serious access to the issue of regulation of relations between the two states in case of Montenegro’s independency after the referendum.        

 

The Third Group of Arguments

LOOK IN THE FUTURE – WHAT KIND OF EUROPEAN STATE WE WANT

 

1.  MIDDLE-TERM VISION OF MONTENEGRO’S DEVELOPMENT:

·   Creation of law respecting society /development of democracy and rule of law / – Development of political and legal system is similar to those in the EU countries: High level of harmonisation of national legislation, procedures and institutions with the EU legislation, on the strategic road of association. Strong institutions and transparent processes;

·   Development of the economic system similar to the EU countries – Degree of openness, level of liberalisation and competitiveness of economic sectors in Montenegro, which allows gradual integration into the single European market;

·   European integration for ourselves – European perspective of Montenegro as a voluntary choice of its citizens, optimal form of protecting interests of the state, business and each citizen.

6. FINAL OBJECTIVE:

·   ASSOCIATION OF THE INDEPENDENT AND INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED STATE OF MONTENEGRO TO  THE EUROPEAN UNION   /membership in the EU will be a final “recognition” that we have chosen a good strategic development road /

·   Focus is not on the duration of association, but on the quality of association process. On that road, Montenegro wants to preserve its identity as well as to enable dynamic development of economy and the society as a whole.

 

Dr Gordana Djurovic
Minister
Republic of Montenegro
Ministry for International  Economic Relations
and European Integration

Stanka Dragojevica 2
81000 Podgorica
Montenegro
Serbia and Montenegro
Tel. ++381 81 225 568
Fax. ++381 81 225 591
E-mail gordanadjurovic@mn.yu
www.minevrint.vlada.cg.yu

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