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PM Marković in interview with Vikend novine: Serbian Patriarch's statement is despicable and inaccurate, interests of SPC in Montenegro are primarily political

PM Marković in interview with Vikend novine: Serbian Patriarch
Published date 04.08.2018 10:05 | Author PR Service

Ispis Print


PR ServicePrime Minister Duško Marković said that the statement by the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) about the position of Serbs in Montenegro was despicable and inaccurate, that the Serbian Orthodox Church has in the first place political interests in Montenegro, and then religious and spiritual, that this religious community continuously disputes all citizens' decisions on the future of Montenegro, as well as that it does not respect the constitutional order of Montenegro as a civil, not a national state.

"This Government will not allow disrespect of Montenegro, in which the same principles of the rule of law must apply both for the citizen and for the priest. One cannot be beyond the reach of the Constitution and the law simply because you serve a church or a religious community, while not respecting the state and its institutions. The fact is that the Serbian Orthodox Church through the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral has interests in our country, which are primarily political, and then religious and spiritual," Prime Minister Duško Marković said in an interview published today in Vikend novine.

Asked to comment on a recent statement by Serbian Patriarch Irinej, who compared the position of the Serbian people in Montenegro to that of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), the Prime Minister said that everyone who thinks rationally received this statement with disbelief, indignation and contempt.

"However, the statement is still a sequence of official attitudes of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Metropolitane of Montenegro and the Littoral and its leaders towards Montenegro. It starts from the thesis on Montenegro as a Serbian state in which, as they say, the church is older than the state. It means that it should not be respected and contributed to it. It is disputed and all citizens' decisions about the future of Montenegro are continuously being disputed. The constitutional order of Montenegro as a civil, not a national state, is also not respected. Therefore, the claims made by Patriarch Irinej about the position of Serbs in our country are incorrect and despicable," PM Marković said.

Asked whether he recognises in this statement an attempt to pressure Montenegro and the Government which announced the adoption of the Law on Religious Communities, Prime Minister Duško Marković said that such pressure is absolutely recognisable.

"It was recognised in a subsequent statement to give up the alleged seizure of property, and then he will change the statement. But, this Government will not allow disrespect of Montenegro, in which the same principles of the rule of law will apply both for the citizen and for the priest. One cannot be beyond the reach of the Constitution and the law simply because you serve a church or a religious community, while not respecting the state and its institutions. The fact is that the Serbian Orthodox Church through the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral has interests in our country, and they are primarily political, and then religious and spiritual. Montenegro cannot be anymore denied access to public, state properties, which are used by the Metropolitane of Montenegro and the Littoral. As a state, we have built and helped, and we did not seize anything. The question is whether there would have been the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ today in Podgorica if the Government had not allocated significant funds for this valuable object. Accordingly, vulgar attacks on the state and its institutions will have to stop. These attacks most often come after secret supper with the opposition. So, if the Patriarch wanted to discourage us, he failed. The law will be adopted," the Prime Minister said.

Answering the questions on the budget rebalance, Prime Minister Duško Marković recalled excellent results in the past and the first half of this year when it comes to our economy and announced a tightening of responsibilities in the departments where problems in the collection of excise revenues were recorded, as well as changes in the structure of expenditures.

"Through the rebalance, we have, among other things, provided funds for the purchase of land for the construction of primary school and kindergarten in the settlement called Siti kvart. We have provided funds for locations for the wastewater and industrial waste water treatment system as an important segment of the infrastructure of the capital city. I would like to emphasise that with this rebalance we have provided the necessary funds for financing the health services of citizens, which is their important need. So, in a word, we are implementing real politics, not political rhetoric and marketing," the Prime Minister said. He said that the Government's goal was to maintain the level of growth rate achieved in 2017 and create new jobs, primarily in the north, with additional investment in agriculture and infrastructure construction and a reduction in current spending so that our fiscal strategy would lead to a budget surplus and declining public debt. The goal, the Prime Minister said, is to simultaneously increase investment and capital spending as a prerequisite for overall development. And, of course, all this together brings possibilities to increase salaries and pensions.

"Also, as the Prime Minister I am very aware of this, we must respond stronger to organised crime and increase the level of security of citizens and their sense of security, but in this way we will further strengthen the stability and security of the country as a whole," PM Marković noted.

Speaking about tourism, the Prime Minister said that more than half of the resources that can contribute to development are in the north of Montenegro.

"We have started tourist projects in the northern region worth more than EUR 80 million. At the same time, we do not want the north to serve exclusively for winter tourism. The fact that in some cities in the north, in the summer season of 2017, you could not find a free bed in the rural area, tells us that investing in the north is justified, as well as expectations from this region. The intention is to invest heavily in the roads, utility and social infrastructure, and other necessary contents, because most municipalities in the northern region have unique cultural and tourist potentials that must be used to create new values, create new jobs and a better life for each family. After all, I think of it as part of our debt to the north," Prime Minister Duško Marković said in an interview with Dnevne novine.

Asked to comment on the fact that Montenegro's decision to send two officers to the NATO KFOR mission in Kosovo was negatively perceived in Serbia, and that, on the other hand, the President of Serbia, in an interview with Zagreb Globus, assessed that Kosovo was a closed issue, Prime Minister Duško Marković said that Montenegro sent officers to Kosovo, just as it would send them to any other country within the framework of partnership obligations and duties.

"We have already explained that this is not an act of defiance or hostility towards anyone, but a responsible relationship in the system of collective security. The Republic of Serbia, unfortunately, perceived it negatively. I believe that such a reaction comes by force of habit of resistance to any initiative that is focused on Kosovo in the context of international relations. Montenegro has been particularly sensitive to Serbia and towards Kosovo, recognising the specificities of that relationship, while confirming the commitment to stabilise and strengthen neighbourly relations," the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister said that the motorway is the most important development project invested by the Government and it is therefore absurd to talk about dependence on China or to look at economic cooperation with China in the context of alleged dependence.

"The motorway project has multiplier effects on the economy already in the phase of construction of the first share, and so far loan of EUR 455 million from Exim Bank significantly contributed to the growth of all activities related to the construction of the motorway (construction, trade, warehousing, related services), and thus a strong growth of gross domestic product. When the construction of motorway ends and its full valorisation is ensured, the positive and powerful contribution of this investment to the development of the country and its economy will be unquestionable. I believe that then every today's objection will be part of an earlier bad approach," Prime Minister Duško Marković said in an interview published in the weekend edition of Dnevne novine.

PUBLIC RELATIONS SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTENEGRO