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Ask The Prime Minister

                        Ask the Prime Minister


PM Marković to investors: Montenegro is high-quality, reliable and safe harbour for investment

PM Marković to investors: Montenegro is high-quality, reliable and safe harbour for investment
Published date: 13.05.2019 16:10 | Author: PR Service

Ispis Print

PR ServiceIn an interview with the Collection Montenegro Magazine, Prime Minister Duško Marković invited investors to invest in Montenegro, especially in our northern region, saying that this is an archetype of a country in which people of different faiths and nations live in harmony, a country that raised the level of security by joining NATO and a country where the most prestigious world tourism brands already operate.

"There are Aman, Chedi, Sheraton, Regent, Hilton, Melia, Iberostar, Karisma, Falkensteiner, and the first One & Only in Europe will be opening in Montenegro next year… In 2008, Montenegro adopted the Tourism Development Strategy by 2020, deciding to become a destination for upscale guests. This decision was supported by the report of the World Travel and Tourism Council which placed Montenegro at the top of the list of destinations according to the growth rate of tourism, which amounted to 8.8%. Today we can see that we have succeeded. I just listed the prestigious tourism brands that are present in Montenegro, which had not existed before this strategy. Similarly, after developing our coastal region, we have started to strategically valorise the resources in our Northern region. I have stated many times that this is where our key resources lie. The Government did something that had never been done before: the capital budget for this year amounts to 320 million euros, which is the biggest capital budget so far. More than 70 percent have been allocated to the Northern region. The Government therefore sent a clear message to the citizens and investors: this is what we are focusing on right now. I have no doubt that we will be successful. Right now, the stage we are in implies introducing investors to the opportunities, resources and outlook. We are interested in investments, which will contribute to economic growth and increased employment, particularly in the Northern region, which is less developed. The programme “Economic Citizenship” which you mentioned, is our concept of investing in projects of special importance for the economic interest of Montenegro, and should also be understood from the same point of view," the Prime Minister emphasised in the interview published in Montenegrin and English language.

Montenegro – stable on the inside and recognisable from the outside

Asked how he would compare Montenegro from the beginning of his career with today to a foreigner who has never been to Montenegro, PM Marković said that we kept the natural beauty and the national and religious harmony, but everything else changed.

"Any foreigner who first visits Montenegro is amazed and charmed by its natural wonders. Foreigners who observe our country’s society are sure to see that through our way of life, people who hold different faiths, or are from different ethnic backgrounds, live in harmony with each other. This, I regret to say, can be seen as a unique case in our perpetually turbulent region. I would say that this is the aspect that has remained the same through the last three decades of my professional career, but everything else changed. Montenegro, once the least developed Yugoslav republic, has transformed into a country which is the regional leader when it comes to integration processes, and in terms of economic growth. With regard to economy, we are not just a regional leader: for example, last year’s economic growth rate in Montenegro of 4.9% was among the highest in Europe. Over the previous ten years, Montenegro has been one of the countries with the most net direct foreign investments per capita. On the coast of Montenegro, there are resorts which are among the most prestigious in the entire Mediterranean. This year, we started the development of a winter tourist centre in our mountains, which will be among the best in the region… At the start of my career, tourism was mostly organised by trade unions for their members, who were accommodated in the so-called workers’ resorts. We also had Sveti Stefan, and Ada Bojana, which later became a recognisable brand as well. However, these were the only two exceptions. Today, those parts of the Montenegrin coast where there are no international brands or premium world-class services could be considered the exception. I could continue presenting economic data, but economy means little without a change in the behavioural matrix, one needs to see a change in habits, even a change of consciousness. Montenegro has been transformed in these areas as well: it’s been proven to be a sustainable country. If you were to say all of this about Montenegro to somebody who is not well-informed about the present state of our country, they would probably be sceptical. However, we should remember that a little more than a decade ago, when we were preparing the referendum on renewed independence, people opposing renewed Montenegrin statehood raised the question if we could survive independently as a country and society. If I haven’t made the answer clear, time has shown that we have not only proven that we can survive, but that we can excel, and become a very successful country. Finally, Montenegro is a NATO member state and the next member country of the EU. Therefore, our strategic direction is clear – and is completely different compared to the Montenegro of several decades ago. Montenegro today is firmly in the place it has belonged for centuries – it is a European and Mediterranean country, well-integrated and developed, self-aware and determined, strong and resolute, stable on the inside and recognizable from the outside," the Prime Minister stressed.

PR Service

Montenegro is more compatible with EU member states

Prime Minister Marković said that with the NATO membership, Montenegro has become part of the biggest security alliance; it is an equal partner to the most powerful and most developed countries in the world.

"The joint security framework means the investors have more confidence in Montenegro; this is an important advantage. Montenegro’s NATO membership is a signal to investors that this is a destination which enjoys the highest security standards, and that it shares the same values of partner countries, from which we wish to attract as many investors as possible. Our successful European integration shows that Montenegro is changing, that it is closer and more compatible with EU member states. We are harmonizing our entire system with the EU model and are adopting new standards, thus preparing our society for the time when we finally become a member. These are all signals for investors that Montenegro is a stable country, and that this is a society which is not wavering, but closely following the set strategic direction. The most important thing for investment is predictability. When it comes to Montenegro – everything is predictable – there are no surprises. We are on a good course, and we are steadily moving towards the set goals. The progress we have made in the European and Euro-Atlantic integrations confirm this. The great interest from prestigious investors after our joining of NATO further supports and solidifies this fact," he noted.

Furthermore, PM Marković spoke about our competitive tax system, Government's programmes to encourage business development and infrastructure projects to make Montenegro more accessible and energy-safe.

"When it comes to physical infrastructure, we are creating strategic preconditions for an even stronger inflow of investments. We are finalising the first stage of the motorway, and we are planning to significantly improve our airports through reliable foreign partners, and we are finishing the submarine energy cable. This means that we are making Montenegro more accessible and energy-safe, and these are important preconditions for attracting quality investments," he pointed out.

No more "concreting"

Speaking about the space as an important resource, the Prime Minister especially emphasised the importance of the Law on Spatial Planning and Construction of Structures.

Montenegro, just like many societies in transition, including the countries where capitalism is well-developed, underwent the “concreting” stage, marked by construction without any strategic overview of space, and without taking into account the sustainability factor. Now we do things differently. We have made a fundamental change: this Government created Structures, which, for the first time, offers a unified treatment of space as our resource. The Law was attacked exactly by those people who wished to hold on to their old positions and pursue the concreting approach, without focusing on sustainability. However, we are determined and persistent. There will be no going back. Our goal is for the state to carefully manage space by giving priority to sustainable development which creates benefits for the economy and citizens in terms of income and in terms of increased employment opportunities, not giving special treatment to the particular interests of any group or individual. In this regard, we offer investors an embodiment of our vision of Montenegro through full compatibility of spatial plans on all levels – from the state level to the lowest levels. We offer a clear and open strategic framework so that anyone can find room for themselves and be sure that tomorrow, or in a year, nothing will happen that will foil their business plans.

PR Service

We are not dealing with historical myths, but with growth and raising the standard of life of our citizens

Asked at the end of the interview to tell the Montenegrin readers his vision of Montenegro, Prime Minister Duško Marković reminded that we know exactly what we want, and that is creating a better environment for our children.

"We Montenegrins love history and literature and this is what I will focus on to give the best answer to your question. There have been two great poets who described Montenegro and Montenegrins – Ivan Mažuranić spoke of Montenegrins as martyrfighters and knights, and Njegoš talked about Montenegro as rocky karst, drenched in tears and blood. Even though we are of course proud of our glorious history which the poets thus described, we are aiming to change this narrative of Montenegro and Montenegrins, and leave it behind us through this new concept. We are no longer dealing with historical myths, but with growth and raising the standard of life of our citizens. We are no longer focusing on being described as fighters and knights but as successful people creating a better environment for their children. We do not see Montenegro as rocky and karst, but as a Mediterranean gem… Therefore, we know exactly what we want, we are very dedicated to reaching the goals we set, we have come a long way together, and this is what we were talking about at the beginning of this interview – we went from being an undeveloped Yugoslav republic to the most developed country in the region. And we are still growing. Therefore, the best message for investors is that Montenegro is a success story, and that it is a high quality, reliable and safe harbour for investment, clearly the safest in the region, and even elsewhere. You just need to dock here while there is still room," the Prime Minister concluded.