Friday, October 26, 2007

From three Leaders to three Stooges: Dinosha, Bardhi & Sinishtaj struggle with constitution

PODGORICA, Montenegro, 23 October 2007 -- Fireworks lit the sky above Podgorica this past Monday night to celebrate the important milestone for the country after it approved the much anticipated constitution after becoming a sovereign state 16 months ago. The festivities followed by a reception for Montenegro's political elite and diplomats who were the architects of the legal document.

Last Friday parliament voted to adopt a constitution reflecting the country's newly gained independence, and then formally adopted it late Monday night, after much political maneuvering among its members in parliament.
In the 81-seat parliament, 55 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, while 22 voted against it, and the rest abstained. Following months of deliberations in parliament, the ruling coalition managed to secure the two-thirds majority required for the adoption of the constitution to avoid a referendum.

The three Albanian representatives (Vasel Sinishtaj, Ferhat Dinosha, and Mehmet Bardhi), decided to abstain and did not vote in favor nor against the text. But their decision to abstain once again played into the hands of the majority.

Out of the 77 votes cast, the three Albanian votes (and 1 Bosniak) were the only ones undecided, leaving many experts to believe that the Albanians were under immense pressure not to partake in what could have been a deciding factor on whether the document passed or went to a referendum. Because 54 votes were required to reach two-thirds, securing the Albanian vote was critical, and thus came the incentives to Sinishtaj, with promises of a full municipality for Tuz, similar to promises made during Montenegro's independence drive, but with no end result.

According to published reports (BIRN, Blic, Dan, Vjesti, SE Times), the document was approved by the opposition Movement for Changes, the Liberal Party and by parties that represent Montenegro's Bosniak Muslim, Albanian and Croat communities. However, the Albanian support seemed to drop off when Sinishtaj and Bardhi reportedly backed-off on their initial support of the document and sought consultation from the Albanian diaspora in the United States as to whether their vote was representing the needs of those Albanians from Montenegro who live outside the state.
The diaspora requested to review the draft, but when the parties were unable to furnish a copy of the legal document it was too late and the constitution had already gone to a vote.

The decision to abstain is an enigma to this day, especially given that Dinsosha had more important business to attend to outside Montenegro and thought that voting for a document that would seal the fate of his people was not pressing enough. Bardhi, on the other hand, went on record to cite breaches to European laws as the reasons behind his decision to abstain. Although his argument was not supported by one single reference to any European law against minority/human rights, he would have had more credibility and substance to his decision by just voting "NO" instead of not voting at all. Abstaining provides some legitimacy, if not acceptance, to the language of the constitution, therefore his arguments were also dumbfounded. Sinsihtaj, a candidate that was vigorously supported by Malesia and the diaspora seemed confused from the very beginning. He was used as a pawn for the Montenegrin majority as they promised him a full municipality in Malesia for his vote. After initially agreeing to the language, he immediately backed off, without any argument or reasoning why, thus also abstaining and conceding that the Constitution may be in the best interests of Albanians, but not sure.

On the other hand, members of some pro-Serbian political parties in Montenegro boycotted the proclamation ceremony of the new Montenegrin Constitution on Oct. 22, saying it makes about 200,000 Serbs who had comprised a constitutive nation the minority in Montenegro, and under the new constitution, the Serbian language has been removed from official use and Serbs have no right to dual citizenship.

Where Albanians threw heartless jabs at the constitution in efforts to back their decision, parliament members from the Socialist National Party, National Party, Serbian National Party and Democratic Party flatly rejected the constitution, saying it does not guarantee the same right to all people in Montenegro.

According to the agreement which led to the constitution, early elections would be held in late 2009, a year ahead of schedule.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Troika Sets out Principles for Kosova Talks

October 22, 2007

Vienna, Austria -- The Troika of international mediators on Kosova’s status presented both parties on Monday with its first set of proposals aimed to "open a path for a solution".
Troika Assessment on Negotiations: Principal conclusions The Troika has reviewed the positions of the two parties. Without prejudice to the positions of both parties on status, the following principles can open a path to a solution:

1. Belgrade and Pristina will focus on developing the special nature of the relations existing between them especially in their historical, economic, cultural and human dimensions.
2. Belgrade and Pristina will solve future problems between them in a peaceful manner and not engage in actions or dispositions that would be regarded as threatening to the other side.
3. Kosovo will be fully integrated into regional structures, particularly those involving economic cooperation.
4. There will be no return to the pre-1999 status.
5. Belgrade will not govern Kosovo.
6. Belgrade will not re-establish a physical presence in Kosovo.
7. Belgrade and Pristina are determined to make progress towards association and eventually membership of the European Union as well as to move progressively towards Euro-Atlantic structures.
8. Pristina will implement broad measures to enhance the welfare of Kosovo-Serbs as well as other non-Albanian communities, particularly through decentralization of local government, constitutional guarantees and protection of cultural and religious heritage.
9. Belgrade and Pristina will cooperate on issues of mutual concern, including
a) Fate of missing persons and return of displaced persons
b) Protection of minorities
c) Protection of cultural heritage
d) Their European perspective and regional initiatives
e) Economic issues, including fiscal policy and energy, trade and harmonization with EU standards and development of a joint economic growth and development strategy in line with regional economic initiatives.
f) Free movement of people, goods, capital and services.
g) Banking sector
h) Infrastructure, transportation and communications
i) Environmental protection
j) Public health and social welfare
k) Fight against crime, particularly in the areas of terrorism, human-, weapons- and drug-trafficking and organised crime.
l) Cooperation between municipalities and the government of one of the two sides.
m) Education
10. Belgrade and Pristina will establish common bodies to implement cooperation.
11. Belgrade will not interfere in Pristina`s relationship with IFIs [international financial institutions].
12. Pristina will have full authority over its finances (taxation, public revenues, etc.)
13. Kosovo`s EU Stabilization and Association Process (Tracking Mechanism) will continue unhindered by Belgrade.
14. The international community will retain civilian and military presences in Kosovo after status is determined.

Source: BIRN

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tit for Tat: Albanians offerred Full Municipality for Constitutional Approval

PODGORICA, Montenegro, 13 October 2007 -- After months of negotiations, the ruling coalition reached a deal with part of the opposition on the country's new constitution, opening the way for its adoption by a 2/3 majority in parliament.

Svetozar Marovic, vice president of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), and Nebojsa Medojevic, leader of the opposition Movement for Changes (PzP), announced late on Tuesday (9 October) that a coalition of the DPS and the Social Democratic Party will be backed by the PzP, the Albanian Alternative Party (Sinishtaj) and the Bosniak Party.

The stragedy to seal the Albanian vote in support of the new constitution was spearheaded to include a deal that would "guarantee" Albanians (in Malesia) a full municipality within 6 months of implementation.

The official language in Montenegro will be Montenegrin, with Serbian, Bosniak, Albanian and Croatian in official use. This is the result of an agreement reached by the Montenegrin authorities and opposition parties, as they negotiated the country's new constitution.

It was agreed that the constitution defines Montenegro as a civic state, but that all the nations who live in Montenegro will be individually named in the preamble of the future top legal act.

In regard to the contentious issue of dual citizenship it was proposed that the constitution determines that all those who had dual citizenship on the day of the declaration of independence of Montenegro, June 3, 2006, keep their citizenships, and that the state bodies be given one year to reach bilateral accords on the matter with states, whose citizenships have in the meantime been acquired by the citizens of Montenegro.

It was agreed that after the adoption of the new constitution, early parliamentary elections be held in 2009, one year before the date for a regular vote, and that the issue be regulated by a constitutional law.

Deputy Secretary of the Venice Commission Thomas Markert welcomed the agreement between the ruling and some oppositional parties in Montenegro about the approval of the constitution in the parliament with a two thirds majority, the Montenegrin Republika newspaper writes. The Venice Commission will rule on the new constitution in December. Markert said expert from the body of the Council of Europe did not plan to visit Montenegro over the next months, but they would keep in contact with the officials in Podgorica.

Montenegro, which lost its statehood in 1918, regained independence in a successful referendum in May 2006. The country has large non-Montenegrin communities, most notably ethnic Serbs and Albanians.

Montenegro Rebuffs Albanian Demands:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Balkan conference seeks cooperation in 2008

PODGORICA, MONTENEGRO -- Regional Conference “Through Cooperation towards Integration”, which was held for the first time this year in Montenegro, gathered over 150 participants from six countries of the Region, so as the representatives of the EU Member States (Slovenia, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary) and European Commission.

Work on plenary session, gave the summary of the current phases in the European Integration process in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro, with emphasize on the priorities expected by the Governments of the countries from the Region in 2008.

Work in Working Groups, on themes: harmonization with the Acquis and challenges of translating of it, management of the pre-accession funds, civil society strengthening, and reform in the field of justice, freedom and security, provided qualitative exchange of the experiences in the aforementioned areas, and defining of the potential common projects aiming to enhance regional cooperation.

This Conference showed that: the countries of the Region define the European Integration process as the strategic framework for the future development of the countries, they gradually assume so-called „ownership of the process“, and the common goal of the all National Programmes for Integration is the same – full membership in the Union, in line with the fulfilment of all accession criteria.

Although the countries of the Region are currently in the different stages of the integration process towards EU, there is, without any doubt, the significant free room for enhancing of the regional cooperation in this process, based on the good practice of the previous enlargement process, and on clearly defined specific interests of each country included.
Montenegro, as the host country of this year’s Conference has proposed Draft Memorandum on Technical Cooperation in the European Integration process.

The aim of the Memorandum is to enhance cooperation models in the Process, through strengthening of the relations in the following areas:

1. Approximation of the national with the European Union legislation, taking into account priorities in that process,

2. Methods and results of the analysis and evaluations of the efficiency in the process of introducing European standards into legislation and economy,

3. Strengthening of the institutional capacities and enhancing of the competency level in the public administration on matters important for accession to the European Union,

4. Translating of the European Union legislation,

5. Establishing of the manners for utilizing of the European financial instruments in best possible way, including IPA, national and regional programs,

6. Informing of the public on European Union accession process,

7. Strengthening of the cooperation between the Governments and Civil Society in European integration process.

The countries of the Region, with signing of this Memorandum, would strengthen following fields of cooperation:

1. Exchange of the information and experiences,

2. Organization of joint activities and events: meetings, conferences, round tables, forums, on which experts and officials of the signatory Parties will take part,

3. Organization of the joint consultations, initiatives and activities in order to achieve as good results as it is possible in the signatory Parties’ countries in the field of European Integration,

4. Advanced trainings through organizing seminars on matters of European Integration, and instigating experts from the Parties to involve into the aforementioned process,

5. Development of joint initiatives,

6. Exchange of public employees in the field of common interest, having in mind available human resources on both sides.

In order to implement this memorandum, joint cooperation Committee will be established, which would meet once a year at least. The members of the Committee will be appointed by the Governments of all countries, and the Commission representatives will be invited as observers. For all above mentioned fields of cooperation, persons responsible for coordination will be delegated by all country institutions involved.

Having in mind common interest of the all countries in Region for the establishing of the closer cooperation in the accelerated process of association and accession to the European Union, all countries participants of the Conference, supported this initiative, expressing their readiness to define final proposal of the Memorandum in direct communication in following months, with aim of its finalization and signing, the next Regional Conference latest.

Having in mind that the Regional Conferences, until now, have been held in Tirana, Skopje, Belgrade, Sarajevo, and this year in Podgorica, the Republic of Croatia expressed their readiness to be the host of the next Regional Conference on European Integration, in October 2008, in Croatia.

Working Group I

Harmonization with Acquis and Challenges of Translation


I Legal harmonization

-Legal harmonization is among all Copenhagen criteria for accession, the most demanding one, not only due to new legislation to be drafted and adopted but especially of its implementation and enforcement
-Legal harmonization is needed not only for accession to the EU but also for speeding up transition and to improve competitiveness of economic subject on the way to the functioning of market economy
-Legal drafting is a process which requires key stakeholders to be included (inspectorate, judiciary, regulatory, agencies) for better implementation latter on.
-Role of National parliament in legal harmonization is important, especially through the work of parliamentary working bodies
-Harmonization with Acquis is also at the same time harmonization with domestic legal system as well as with domestic economy. Domestic legal tradition should be respected and transitional periods where needed for economy.
-Trained and educated public employees are crucial for legal harmonization assisted where needed by proper technical assistance.
-Planning and strategy approach with clear coordination role, including also timetable of policies, reforms and measures for implementation is needed, although the main work on legal drafting is on line ministries

II Translation

-Translation of Acquis is a precondition for proper legal harmonization-Central translation coordination unit in each country is recommended which should have coordination role and overview of translation process in the country (register of translated texts, glossaries, manuals, etc.)
-Translation of legal texts requires expert, legal and linguistic revision.-Planning of translation as well as priorities should be done in close connection with legal harmonization priorities (cooperation of institutions).
-After translation of legal text a legal revision is a must, therefore legal revision should be organized by the state.


I Legal harmonization

-Discussion and exchange of views on implementation of SAA and legal harmonization through common bodies (Council, Committee and Subcommittees and Joint Parliamentary Committee) and also through bilateral cooperation.
-Exchange of best practices in implementation of NPAA.

II Translation

-Cooperation within the region in organizing round tables and exchange of experiences concerning organization of translation process with special emphasis on legal revision with TAIEX support.
-Discussion and exchange of practical experience on translation process in the region.-Exchange of already translated texts between countries of the region should be further encouraged to avoid duplication.

Working Group II

Instrument for Pre-Accession and Cross Border Co-operationConclusions and recommendations

1) Different capacities in region countries can create problems in creation of CBC projects between countries (certain funds may be not spent).

2) Mutual cooperation towards common challenges – common projects (Multi-beneficiary IPA), co-financing and establishment of future Decentralized Implementation System structures, increase of capacities of the countries in the region.

3) Regional Technical assistance - need for flexible approach of EC. Emphases should be put on training in Project Cycle Management for local governments, as well as developing Master plan for training and needs assessment.

4) Need for strong cooperation between Government and NGO’s. Country administration should start working on building bridges between potential beneficiaries and NGO’s.

5)Common problem is adjustment of national regulations to EU requirements regarding management of IPA. Strengthening the cooperation with the EU Member States devoted to legal issues.

Working Group III

Civil Society and public private partnership in the EU Integration process

1. Current Status

- Enhancement of the cooperation between the Government and the civil society in the EU integration process
- Neccesity for new forms of partnership between State, profit and non-profit institutions in the European Integration process

a. Profitable (PPP)
b. Non-profitable (NGOs)
c. Interaction between profitable and non-profitable for the interest of the society

- Introducing more favorable legislative, Institutional and financial framework

2. PPP in the process of the European Integration

- Public needs financed by private sector
- Government
- Local Government
- Promotion of the Public Private Partnership as a tool for infrastructural investment
- Long-term planning
- Importance of the regional coordination
- Importance of the institutional and organizational framework
- CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility

3. Common questions related to NGOs

- European good practices regarding legislative framework
- European good practices between
- State and the NGOs
-Private sector and the NGOs
- Finance and its transparency of public funding
- Independence of NGOs
- Participation fee for the EU funded programs

4. Final remarks/recommendations

- Bridging gaps between the Government,Civil society and the private sector in the EU integration process
- Strengthening of the role of the civil society through the social dialogue
- Strengthening of the regional cooperation and communication among the government officies
- Strenghtening of the role of the NGOs in IPA planning and its implementation
- Promotion of the joint activities between profit and non-profit sector (PPP)

Working Group IV

Cooperation in Justice and Home Affairs with emphasize on needs for training on EU Law

Suggestions and Recommendations

1. Establishment of a regional network between involved institutions on mutual legal assistance in criminal and civil matters.

2. Activities to increase capacities in legislative techniques with regard of approximation to the acquis for secretariats for legislation and line ministries.

3. To increase cooperation of training centres, it was agreed to prepare a gathering of representatives from all judicial training centres of the region shortly. At this meeting topics and possibly curricula of short term, mid term and long term training programs including budgetary questions will be discussed and planned. GTZ Open Regional Fund – Legal Reform agreed to support this gathering.

Topics could be:

- Organisation of Implementation of Conventions and reformed laws regarding prevention of corruption.
- Implementation of economic related laws, which were currently reformed within approximation to the acquis.

4. Study visits for judges, prosecutors and civil servants in the region and in new member states to share experience on Approximation and Harmonization matters.

5. Organisation of training for judges to implement European Convention on Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights.

6. Enhance Regional Cooperation in the Area of Integrated Border Management.

7. Initiate the set up of a comprehensive, internal training program for judiciary and relevant bodies, involved in corruption cases in order to share common knowledge, with support of available pre-accession instruments and other means of support.

Friday, October 05, 2007

A snapshot of Montenegro's Foreign Policy

The following release highlights some very interesting foreign policy initiatives that Montenegro is taking with respect to its sister-nations Russia and Serbia. This "Slavic-Triad" is unmistakenly a force that other countries in the region will have to contend with. What may this be? We will let the bloggers decide.
04-10-2007 Podgorica -- Montenegrin foreign policy is orientated towards joining the European Union and NATO, and improving relations with neighboring countries, according to a draft document issued by the government.

"Foreign Policy Priorities of Montenegro", parts of which were published by the Podgorica based daily “Vijesti” on Thursday, characterises Montenegro's relations with the USA as being of “special importance” and its relations with Russia as being of “great significance”. The document, prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cites EU accession as a “strategic aim, which will dominate Montenegrin foreign policy in the coming period.”

The other strategic aim is NATO membership.

“Through NATO integration Montenegro will be able to achieve the best security framework within which it can address potential crises and challenges to its stability," the document states, noting that NATO integration will also help Monetenegro develop a stable and democratic image and speed up economic development by attracting foreign investments.

In addition, it will allow the country to participate on an equal footing in geostrategic decisions. The document says that joining the EU and NATO is not possible without an active Montenegrin role in regional cooperation, and the development of good neighborly relations. “For historical and political reasons, in addition to Albania, BiH, Italy, Serbia and Croatia, we consider Macedonia, Slovenia, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Greece as neighbor countries,” the document states.

It stresses that relations with Serbia are important and concludes that Montenegro and Serbia "will continue developing close ties because of historical, cultural and economic factors and a common Euro-Atlantic perspective." This, the document notes, will require "equal partnership and respect from Serbia.”
source: BIRN

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Përshëndetje të dashur Bashkatdhetar!

Organizata mbarë shqiptare “Gjenerata Re Shqiptare” (që administron dhe portalin studenti/alb) në bashkëpunim me shoqaten studentore të qytetit të Modenës Egnatia.
Do të organizoj në qytetin Modena-itali aktivitetin “NJE DITE PER KOSOVEN”. Me këtë aktivitet, dëshirojmë të ndihmojmë sadopak në njohjen e Kosovës si shtet sovran, të pavarur dhe demokratik.Ndihma e secili prej jush mund të konstatoj duke na ndihmuar me materile të ndryshme, të cilat do tëppërdoren në ditën e aktivitetit, ku do të ruhet me rigorizitet e drejta e autorit.

Ju lutemi të na ndihmoni nëse e ndjeni se kjo nismë është një rrugë e drejtë për të ndihmuar vëllezërit tanë kosovarë.

Materialet mund të kenë të bëjnë me historinë, shtrirjen gjeografike, aktualitetin, poezi, ese, etj.
Do të mundohemi që shumicën e tyre t’i përkthejmë në gjuhën italiane, duke pasur përkrah dhe atë shqip.

Ju falenderojmë për bashkëpunimin!