A year ago, a new government was elected in the Montenegrin parliament, headed by Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic. On the anniversary of the election of the Government, the official Washington says that concrete results are missing, while analysts, with different assessments of the Government’s performance, say that Montenegro has a lot of work to do, especially when it comes to progress in European integration.
“The United States expects that the Montenegrin government will fulfill the promises made more than a year ago, that Montenegro will remain on the Euro-Atlantic course and give priority to the reforms needed for EU accession. As always, the results speak louder than words. To date, although efforts are being made, these concrete results are largely lacking, “The embassy told Voice of America in response to questions about the Montenegrin government’s election anniversary.
Commenting on the last year’s results of the Government, former American diplomat Kurt Volker told the Voice of America that “it could have been worse”.
“There were many fears what would the election of this government mean, with at least one party questioning Montenegro’s independence, the way it started in parliament a year ago. There were many fears about what might happen. And I would say that the worst fears have not materialized,” said Volker, a former US ambassador to NATO and currently an associate of the Washington-based Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA).
Kurt Volker agrees that Montenegro has a lot of work to do – and when it comes to the rule of law, the economy, European integration and the security sector – but sees no significant progress in the fight against corruption.
“Honestly, it’s not obvious what’s different. This is something that people are talking about, the Government says that it is its priority, but you still hear stories about the activities behind the scenes that we have seen in Montenegro for years. So, you can’t say it looks different,” Volker said.
Official Washington also insists on greater progress, warning that “corruption and weak rule of law seriously weaken Montenegrin democracy and endanger the country’s Euro-Atlantic prospects and the prosperity of its citizens.”
“We call on the Montenegrin government to remain focused on making progress in areas that will accelerate Montenegro’s EU accession.” Areas that require attention and action are well known: strengthening the rule of law, combating transnational organized crime, fighting entrenched corruption and developing a multicultural, tolerant and inclusive democratic society,” the US Embassy told Voice of America.
Kurt Volker believes there are several causes.
“I think the country’s attention has been diverted to issues that have nothing to do with its development. If you recall the disputes regarding the enthronement of the metropolitan, then the protests, all this significantly distracted attention from what are the interests of Montenegro as a country. The second is that the government has a very narrow majority in parliament, it is made up of very different political factions and it is not clear whether they really share a common agenda when it comes to governing the country. And we should not forget Covid-19 “, says the American diplomat.
Kurt Volker told the Voice of America that Montenegro’s move in the wrong direction – the rejection of NATO, the European Union and the introduction of Russian influence – would be a cause for deep concern.
“I think that any closer engagement with Russia, intelligence, business, security cooperation would be a problem for the country’s European integration.” In the past year, we have mostly seen some of the more responsible parties insist that the Government’s policy remain consistent with European integration. “If that changed, if Serbian nationalism was encouraged, the Srebrenica genocide was covered up, tensions in society were fueled and Russia was allowed to create problems in Montenegro, then that would of course be a problem,” Volker warns.
The US embassy also warned of Russian influence, saying that the situation in Montenegro was further complicated by the constant interference of the authoritarian Russian regime, which, with its political and religious proxies from the region and within the country, found fertile ground in a deeply divided society. divert Montenegro from its Euro-Atlantic path. ”
For Kurt Walker, a minority government is one option to move forward, but not the only one.
“In that case, the government would be in a position where it could rely on a larger voting majority to support its policy.” On the other hand, it would be very vulnerable, because any proposal would be negotiated among a large group of parties. We will see how things will go or what they will decide to do “, emphasizes the former American diplomat.
He points out that as long as Montenegro legitimately uses democratic institutions to decide on the Government, and that the Government pursues a policy that strengthens democracy and European integration, Western countries will support Montenegro and be patient with them.
Croatian analyst Davor Genero says for Pobjeda that he was surprised by the announcement of the US Embassy in Podgorica.
We all know the extent to which Trump’s ambassador to Montenegro, who is still in office, was committed to supporting the late Amfilohije in forming a “three-column” coalition dominated by pro-Russian and Greater Serbia actors and the sole purpose of the coalition was to overthrow the previous Atlantic and pro-European administration. Immediately after the election, it was clear that it would be impossible to form a political government with such a parliamentary majority, but several European ambassadors and the US ambassador were involved in the process and thus gave legitimacy to the combinations created by the Serbian Church in Montenegro, Vucic’s ambassador and a group of oligarchs patronizing the third, shorter column. When the expert government was formed, it was clear that the project of taking power in Montenegro was on the verge of collapse, because expert governments, but truly experts, could work well in consolidated democracies with a fragmented parliamentary arena, but with excellent public administration. “Unfortunately, Montenegro is not Italy, much less a political anonymous from the clerical circle like Mario Draghi, the great Italian prime minister, who bases his position as prime minister and the legitimacy of his cabinet on expert skills, not on the political majority,” said Genero.
Without knowledge and experience
He points out that the great reaction of President Djukanovic, who insists on the formation of a political government, because only a political government in the system of parliamentary democracy is a government in the true sense of the word.
“The current administration does not have the necessary expertise and experience, nor does it have political legitimacy, nor does it control the parliamentary majority, which would enable the creation of public policies and legal solutions. Montenegro has been standing still for a year in the reform sense, those diplomats who participated in the dishonorable job of forming three columns are ashamed of that today and pretend that there is no responsibility for them. It turned out that the basic democracy in Montenegro, its pro-European profile, is still so strong that the adventurous government of three columns in a year failed to shake it to its foundations. Montenegro is now facing a time of consolidation and renewal of a convincing pro-European parliamentary majority. Surprisingly, even Trump’s envoy now understands that “, concludes Genero.