Monday, June 20, 2011
New Montenegro census could spur calls for change
The results may influence tax policy, infrastructure, job creation and the economic and social situation of every citizen in Montenegro.
Montenegro citizens eagerly await the new census results, especially related to national, religious and linguistic data. They are bracing themselves for large figure differences between the current census and the one from 2003.
As census data can lead to increased taxation, the new results could affect school locations, roads, utility infrastructure, shopping centers, banks, businesses and jobs.
"If it turns out that [census results] do not reflect the actual, legal and constitutional reality, the public is not required to adapt to it, but the other way around. It is the state, with all of its systems, that is required to adapt to reality," Deputy President of the New Serb Democracy Goran Danilovic said.
His party, dedicated to the protection of Serbs in Montenegro, thinks that no one would ignore the census results when it comes to national, linguistic or religious structure.
"That does not mean anything dramatic ... We must never get into a position ignoring the situation the people are in and their reality; [therefore] it is important what we put into the constitution as an expression of political will," he explained.
The ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) sees the census results as relevant information for the expansion of social and development policies so they can be effectively and comprehensively applied. Spokesman and member of the DPS Executive Board Rajko Kovacevic said that at a recent party congress a conclusion was reached to strengthen the Montenegrin government and society by overcoming certain harmful divisions.
"The DPS will, with full consideration of the statistics on identity issues, continue its policy of strengthening and affirming the concept of civil society, raise the level of respect for human rights and freedoms on a daily basis," said Kovacevic.
If the census results show that people have become wealthier compared to the last census, and that there are vast differences in housing among individuals, then, Danilovic thinks, the government could change tax policy.
"Adequate taxation of excess and complete implementation of the real estate tax could bring significant resources to the state budget," said Danilovic.
The Podgorica EU delegation says that the census is strictly a statistical issue and suggests that the results will depend on how much of the EU funds will be available for the Montenegro citizens.
"At the EU level, the total population figures are used for the calculation of per capita indicators like regional GDP per inhabitant, which influence the allocation of structural funds," said the EU delegation spokesman Dragan Mugosa.
He added that the figures from the list are important for voting in EU institutions. As it is possible that this is the last census before Montenegro joins the EU, the head of the Union delegation Leopold Maurer earlier said that Brussels will apply the census data for its own policies.
In recent years, politicians mostly applied the census results related to national and linguistic changes for the promotion and implementation of political programs and goals.
Posted by Conference Organizer at 2:25 PM