Home Tourism Montenegro votes for new government in time for von der Leyen’s visit – EURACTIV.com

Montenegro votes for new government in time for von der Leyen’s visit – EURACTIV.com

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After weeks of negotiations, Montenegro’s parliament named a new government on Tuesday, October 31, a coalition of pro-European and pro-Serb parties expected to lead the small Balkan country in its attempt to join the European Union.

The government of the EU candidate country was formed in time for the visit of Commission head Ursula von der Leyen, who arrived in Podgorica the same day as part of a tour of several Western Balkan countries. She gave a press conference before meeting the new Prime Minister.

The new government, led by economist Milojko Spajic of the Europe Now movement, will have 18 ministries and five deputy prime ministers. It will include the center-right pro-European Democrats, the pro-Serb Socialist People’s Party and five Albanian minority parties.

“Our four main foreign policy priorities are full membership (…) of the EU, active and credible membership of NATO, improving good relations with neighbors and strengthening the country’s role in multilateral organizations,” Spajic told MPs.

He said economic policies would aim to improve the living standards of Montenegro’s population, which numbers just 620,000, and would include reforms allowing for more tax revenue, investment, a better business climate and a better system. judicial.

After an all-night debate, 46 MPs out of the 81 seats in Parliament supported the government.

The pro-Serbian and pro-Russian alliance For a Better Montenegro, led by Andrija Mandic, agreed to vote for the Spajic cabinet in exchange for the post of speaker of parliament and four ministerial posts after a government reshuffle tentatively planned for the next year.

The economy of Montenegro, which unilaterally adopted the euro in 2002 as its de facto currency and which relies mainly on revenue from tourism in the Adriatic, is expected to grow by 4.8% in 2023, according to the World Bank.

Montenegro joined NATO in 2017, a year after a failed coup attempt that the government at the time blamed on Russian agents and Serbian nationalists.

Russia has dismissed the accusation as “absurd” and the government of neighboring Serbia has denied any involvement.

After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Montenegro, unlike Serbia, joined EU sanctions against Moscow, sent aid to Ukraine and expelled a certain number of Russian diplomats. The Kremlin has placed Montenegro on its list of hostile states.

(Edited by Georgi Gotev)

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