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PM Marković at Vienna Economic Forum: Digital business is chance for young countries, we in Montenegro understand this well

PM Marković at Vienna Economic Forum: Digital business is chance for young countries, we in Montenegro understand this well
Published date: 19.11.2018 14:07 | Author: PR Service

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"Given that digital business knows no national boundaries, it is a chance for young countries that are trying to build and strengthen their competitiveness at the regional and European level. Information and communications technologies are the basis for smart growth and are inevitable in the process of transforming the economy and society as a whole. We in Montenegro understand this well – both politicians and the administration. Therefore, Montenegro is today one of the most prestigious investment destinations in Europe," Prime Minister Duško Marković said at the Vienna Economic Forum.

Speaking at the panel "Regional Cooperation as a part of the European Integration", the Prime Minister recalled that Montenegro has advanced the most in the process of joining the European Union, and became a full-fledged NATO member state last year. He also pointed out that our country in the previous year also achieved one of the highest rates of economic growth in the region and Europe, which was 4.7 percent last year and 4.8 percent in the first half of this year.

"Implementation of the Digitalisation component as part of the Action Plan for a Regional Economic Area should contribute to the integration of the Western Balkan countries into the pan-European regional market by improving broadband infrastructure, harmonizing legislation in this area with the legislation of the European Union and increasing digital literacy," PM Marković stressed.

The Prime Minister pointed out that Montenegro has made progress on the strategic and legislative plan in the field of digitalisation, but that it does not lag behind when it comes to results on the ground: "Montenegro is above the regional average in the field of the development of networks and infrastructure," the Prime Minister noted.

In the past two years, according to PM Marković, the penetration of broadband connections has increased from 53% to 74%, and the plan is to reach 80% by the end of 2018. That would mean, the Prime Minister explained, that four out of five Montenegrin households have an active broadband connection.

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"Coverage of mobile 4G networks exceeds 97 percent of the populated area at the state level, which is at the very top compared to the EU, too," PM Marković emphasised.

He added that Montenegro is ready to accept the reduction of the roaming prices in the region and that we supported the proposal of the European Commission to sign a new agreement at the second Digital Summit, which will be held in Belgrade in April 2019.

European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said at the panel that the EU wants to support the efforts of the Western Balkan countries to establish a digital agenda. She pointed to the fact that digitalisation represents a possibility for progress and development, but also a risk, and in this context, especially emphasised the importance of strengthening cyber security. The Commissioner said that the EU supports partners by sharing experiences and best practice.

Commissioner Gabriel also spoke about efforts to strengthen infrastructure, broadband Internet and the possibility of lowering the roaming prices between the countries of the region. She pointed to the importance of investing in people and their education. It is important, as she stated, to ensure that everyone has the appropriate skills to take advantage of the benefits of digitialisation.

The leaders of the Western Balkan countries who supported the strengthening of the digital agenda also spoke at the panel, pointing to the need for the EU's open door policy to remain active and assessed that the Balkans must have a clear European perspective.

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PHOTO: PM Duško Marković at the Vienna Economic Forum