Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Djukanovic forecasts 2009 for Montenegro

December 30, 2008

According to PM Milo Djukanovic, 2008 was the most successful year in the short history of Montenegro. In 2009, the economic crisis will slow the development of the take-off of Montenegro, but has a basis for the expected growth of the economy of five percent in the next year, a drop in unemployment to 24,000 and the average salary of 515 euros.

Gross domestic product (GDP) has already exceeded 3 billion euros - the next year’s GDP is projected to be around 3.7 billion euros. This was declared at a press conference in the Villa Gorica by Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, who also added that Montenegro has not been spared by the crisis, which has greatly affected Europe, but it is important that in 2009 Montenegro maintains its dynamic economic growth.

The government has defined a set of fiscal measures and socio-economic policies that will mitigate the negative consequences of the crisis in Montenegro. A law on measures to support the banking system and help define the instruments, with a budget for next year, has been adopted, and the package of measures which will reduce the fiscal burden of citizens and the economy, such as: (1) the reduction of burdens on earnings, before the time of internal debt repayment on the basis of restitution and the old foreign currency savings, and (2) the abolition of benefits for Motorways in the price of fuel. These measures should improve the competitiveness of the economy.

Unemployment today is not a problem in Montenegro, which has one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. Therefore, there is no reason for “strahovanje” of the realization of the key parameters of “zacrtanih” for the next year. Iin favor of this forecast comes preliminary data by the Central Bank, which reports that the net inflow of foreign direct investment for 11 months was 538.5 million (or 18 percent) more than in the previous year. We will also continue with preparations for the implementation of strategic investment projects, such as: (1) the highway Bar - Boljare the total value of 2 billion euros for which the tender has been extended to March 2nd of next year. Our estimates, despite the announcements for the reduction of interest for travel in the next year, say that tourism in Montenegro for 2009 will increase to 5 per cent.

Arabs want the sea

A key interest of investors from the Middle East is investment/purcj\hase of our sea coast, where they have submitted offers for the Adriatic shipyard, said the prime minister. If we accommodate their plans for these attractive locations, it will significantly influence the development of the economy of Montenegro. Tender for the purchase of the sea should be published in the next two months.
In addition, the government has adopted a draft for the 15 study sites for valorization of tourist sites in the zone Morskog - Island cvijeća, Valdanos, Saint Marko, Čanj ... These are the prerequisites for large investments in this area.

On Kosova

Djukanovic reiterated that Montenegro has no open issues with its neighboring states. Recognition of the independence of Kosova is proof that measures to resolutely follow the state interests will strengthen the stability of the region, said Djukanovic.

On NATO membership

Montenegro is ready for the next steps in approaching NATO. He reminded everyone that Montenegro became a member of the Adriatic Charter, and was officially accepted membership in the MAP program, the courts of the NATO Alliance. After successful dialogue and responsible implementation of the IPAP and PARP programs, we are ready for further steps on the way to NATO, said Djukanovic.

~ Mira Milovic, I. Koprivica

Monday, December 29, 2008

Montenegro spring elections a possibility


PODGORICA, Montenegro -- Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic did not rule out the possibility of holding early parliamentary elections this spring. "Some developments are signaling that we should perhaps consider early elections," he told IN TV on Saturday (December 27th). This would allow "the government to dedicate itself to its obligations in Montenegro's EU integration process and to overcoming the consequences of the global economic crisis", Djukanovic explained. The current government's mandate expires in 2010, but a 2007 agreement set late 2009 as the date for the next elections.

(Beta, B92 - 28/12/08; IN TV, Makfax - 27/12/08)

Montenegro hopes investment to keep growth on track

PODGORICA, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Montenegro will test investor confidence in 2009 by putting up for sale a 22 percent stake in its power monopoly and opening up projects in energy, tourism and infrastructure.

'If we realise only part of planned investment in tourism, energy and infrastructure, it is realistic to achieve a more dynamic growth than the one forecast by the IMF,' Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic told a news conference on Monday.

The IMF said this month it expected Montenegro's economy to grow only 2 percent in 2009 and 2010, far below the rate of recent years, while Djukanovic's government expects a 5-percent increase.

Analysts say investment is vital to finance the current account deficit, estimated at 19 percent of GDP in 2008. The government expects this to fall to 18.5 percent in 2009.

Djukanovic said the country expected to finalise a tender for the construction of a 2 billion euro highway in 2009 despite the economic crisis.

'We will also soon announce a tender for the sale of a 22 percent stake in the Montenegrin Power Company as well as for the construction of new power utilities,' he said, referring to a planned capital hike in Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG) power monopoly.

'Nowadays, every single cent available for investment around the world goes to the energy sector, therefore I am confident that the capital increase will be successful as well as other projects in the energy sector,' Djukanovic said.

Work on landing a 700 million euro undersea cable connecting Montenegro and Italy were also expected to start in 2009. The government would also offer for sale 15 holiday resort locations.

'All this is the grounds for our optimism in forecasting real growth of some 5 percent and the imperative is to maintain positive trends from past years,' Djukanovic said.

The former Yugoslav republic of 650,000 people ended its loose union with Serbia in 2006 and has since enjoyed strong growth, mainly driven by tourism. The economy is expected to have grown by 8 percent in 2008.

(Reporting by Dusko Mihailovic; Editing by Gordana Filipovic and David Cowell) Keywords: MONTNEGRO/SELLOFFS

(Belgrade Newsroom +381 11 311 4305)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Academic Conference in NY Brings Together Affluent Albanian Minds

The Center for European and Mediterranean Studies and the MA Program in the Department of Politics of New York University are sponsoring a one-day Conference on Contemporary Albanian Societies in Transition. The Conference will be held on December 19th 2008 at New York University. The conference will deal with issues that examine various social and policy problems related to contemporary Albanian societies and politics. The panels and presenters will include scholars, graduate students and professionals who specialize on Albanian issues.

Committee Chair: SHINASI A. RAMA, New York University
Organizing Committee: AROLDA ELBASANI, University of Berlin,
BESNIK PULA, University of Michigan,
ELTON SKENDAJ, Cornell University,
MIRELA BOGDANI, Oxford University, and
VENERA BEKTESHI, Boston College.

Our Guest Lecturer is His Excellency, Prof. Dr. ENVER HOXHAJ, Minister of Education of the Republic of Kosova.

The Conference will also feature a Roundtable on Kosova led by Dr. SAMI REPISHTI, City University of New York.

The Organizing Committee will select which, in its judgment, is the best paper presented at the conference. The author or authors of the selected paper will receive a prize awarded by the Editorial Board of the Albanian Journal of Politics.

Selected revised papers will be published in the Albanian Journal of Politics and in a separate volume.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

BBC: Montenegrin PM's 'Family-Owned' Bank Asks For State Bailout

PODGORICA -- The First Bank of Montenegro, which is partly owned by the Montenegrin prime minister and his two siblings, is asking for a 40 million-euro ($50 million) bailout from the government.

Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic owns about 3 percent of the bank, while his brother, Aco, owns about 30 percent. Their sister, Ana Kolarevic, owns a 1 percent share.

Opposition leaders and NGOs have been critical of the request, saying it's a blatant example of conflict of interest.

But Montenegrin Central Bank spokeswoman Radica Zekovic told RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service that the First Bank of Montenegro is not foreign-owned and has a legitimate claim to receive money from the government during the difficult situation caused by the global financial crisis.

Most other banks in Montenegro, Zekovic said, are owned by foreign banks and have received aid from those larger foreign banks.

BBC News