Press release from the 22nd Cabinet session

Published on: Mar 21, 2024 6:00 PM Author: Public Relations Service of the Government of Montenegro

The Montenegrin Cabinet, at today's 22nd session chaired by Prime Minister Milojko Spajić, adopted the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on International and Temporary Protection of Foreigners. Due to a number of displaced persons from Ukraine who have the status of foreigners under temporary protection in Montenegro having exhausted legal possibilities for extending temporary protection for a period of two years, amendments to the Law regarding the extension of temporary protection were initiated. This is in line with the decisions of the Council of the European Union, aimed at achieving EU standards in the field of international protection. The EU Council adopted a Decision on 19 October 2023 to extend temporary protection for individuals from Ukraine, who have obtained temporary protection for a period of two years, for an additional year, until February 2025.

The Cabinet adopted the Draft Law on the Ratification of the International Treaty on Exchange of Data for the Verification of Asset Declarations. By ratifying this Treaty, Montenegro demonstrates readiness for further improvement of the system for preventing and combating corruption and a commitment to enhancing mechanisms for international-regional cooperation in this field. The purpose of the Treaty is to prevent corruption through direct administrative exchange of data related to declared assets between the signatory parties. The Trety applies to data exchange regardless of the specificities of the asset declaration systems of the requesting and requested parties, as well as to data exchange in cases where the requested party does not require any declarant under its jurisdiction to submit asset declaration. The Treaty specifies the data to be exchanged, the data exchange procedure upon request, the possibility of automatic data exchange, the right to refuse requests, the possibility and mechanisms of searching and using open databases and direct access, the possibility of spontaneous data exchange, confidentiality, designation of focal point, the issue of costs of assistance provided under the Treaty, and language.

The Cabinet adopted the Draft Law on the Ratification of the Agreement between Montenegro and the Republic of Albania on Social Security. The Agreement is based on commonly accepted principles and standards for concluding such agreements, aligned with the European Union Regulations on the coordination of social security systems. The adoption of the Law ensures rights in social security for citizens or insured persons of the contracting states, based on reciprocity. These rights include: pension and disability insurance rights; health insurance, health care, and maternity rights; rights in case of occupational injury and occupational diseases, as well as the right to unemployment benefits.

The Draft Law on the Ratification of International Labour Organization Convention 190 on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment has been adopted. The Convention harmonizes standards related to the protection from violence and harassment for all participants in the world of work, complementing and improving the situation in this area and enabling decent working conditions. It contains the first international definition of violence and harassment in the world of work, including gender-based violence, applicable in both the public and private sectors, formal and informal sectors, and urban and rural areas. The Convention obliges signatory states, in consultation with representative employers' and workers' organizations, to adopt an inclusive, integrated, and gender-responsive approach to eliminate violence and harassment in the world of work through prevention, protection, monitoring measures, legal remedies, awareness-raising, and training.

The Cabinet adopted the Draft Law on the Ratification of the Agreement between the Government of Montenegro and the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for the elimination of double taxation on income and property taxes and the prevention of tax evasion and avoidance. This law enables the implementation of the aforementioned Agreement to protect residents of the contracting states from double taxation, which negatively affects international business and investment. Additionally, the Agreement aims to remove tax barriers in the exchange of goods and services, movement of persons and capital, as well as technology and knowledge transfer, thereby promoting foreign investment and ensuring positive effects of tax incentives. Moreover, by concluding the Agreement, the contracting states establish a legal basis for international cooperation and exchange of information on taxpayers to effectively combat tax evasion.

The Decision on the Introduction of International Restrictive Measures, as determined by the decisions of the Council of the European Union regarding the military support of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Russian aggression against Ukraine, has been adopted. This decision introduces international restrictive measures established by the decisions of the Council of the European Union 2023/1532/CFSP of 20 July 2023, and 2023/2792/CFSP of 11 December 2023, to which Montenegro has joined, in line with the foreign policy priority of alignment with the European Union in the field of Common Foreign and Security Policy.

The Cabinet adopted a Decision on the publication of the Agreement between the Ministry of Education, Science, and Innovation of Montenegro and the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China on the mutual recognition of higher education diplomas. Signed in Shanghai on 30 January 2024, the Agreement aims to facilitate access to higher education and mutual recognition of higher education diplomas in the People's Republic of China and Montenegro. It applies to higher education diplomas awarded by Chinese higher education institutions and research institutes authorized to award them, recognized by the Government of the People's Republic of China at the time of diploma award, and higher education diplomas awarded by licensed higher education institutions in accordance with relevant laws and legislation of Montenegro at the time of diploma award.

The Action Plan for Employment for the year 2024 has been adopted along with the Report on the implementation of the Action Plan for Employment for the year 2023. This plan serves as a fundamental instrument of active employment policy, outlining measures and activities aimed at achieving the goals defined by the National Employment Strategy for a one-year period. Planned activities aim to align with the guidelines of the European Commission regarding the implementation of employment policies to improve the labour market situation. The Action Plan defines 84 activities, with 25 to be implemented by the Employment Agency, 15 by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, and seven by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Innovation. Other activities are conducted by institutions that directly or indirectly influence the labour market situation and trends. The estimated budget for the planned activities is €34,636,501, with €30,211,100 allocated from the Budget. The report for the previous year indicates that the overall implementation rate of planned annual activities was lower than expected. Out of a total of 66 activities, 46 were implemented (70%), 11 were partially implemented (17%), and nine were not implemented (13%).

The Cabinet adopted the Information on the European Union support programmes to Montenegro during 2023. The information highlights the continuation of contracting and implementing projects covered by the 2014-2020 perspective (IPA II) and programming for the financial perspective of IPA 2021-2027 (IPA III). Within the national IPA programmes, concerning the establishment of a legal framework for implementing EU support, three financial agreements were signed in 2023 for the IPA 2020, IPA 2022, and IPA 2023 programmes. Regarding support for regional projects, regular activities continued in implementing the Multi-Country IPA and the Western Balkans Investment Framework programmes. Two calls for projects under the Western Balkans Investment Framework were completed, approving nearly €118 million for new infrastructure projects. By the end of 2023, a total of 320 projects involving Montenegrin organizations and institutions were contracted under the European territorial and cross-border cooperation programmes, including 241 within trilateral and transnational programmes, with €44.5 million allocated for Montenegrin partners, and 95 within bilateral programmes, with a total value of €32.3 million.

The Cabinet also adopted the Information on the activities related to the implementation of priority projects in agriculture from July to December 2023.

Furthermore, the Cabinet adopted the Information on meeting the necessary conditions for the commencement of commercial use of the cable car Kotor - Lovćen. The Government of Montenegro ("Grantor") and the Consortium Novi Volvox & Leitner Italy ("Concessionaire") signed the Cable Car Kotor - Lovćen Construction and Management Agreement for a period of 30 years on 15 December 2021. According to the concluded Agreement, the Grantor (Government of Montenegro) was obliged to build public infrastructure, including electro-energy infrastructure, and provide the Concessionaire with a connection to the grid no later than 15 April 2023. As this was not possible, the Concessionaire accepted the Grantor's request to build the majority of the infrastructure, based on which the Infrastructure Construction Agreement was signed on 26 April 2023, with the obligation to repurchase the infrastructure after commissioning. The Concessionaire constructed the Substation TS 35/10 kV Kuk and the corresponding Overhead Line 35/10 kV, obtained usage permits, and fully fulfilled the contractual obligation. To fully fulfill the Agreement and repurchase the infrastructure, the Capital Projects Administration has remaining obligations beyond the Concessionaire's control. In this regard, the Government instructed relevant institutions to undertake activities within a specified period to fulfill contractual obligations and enable the Cable Car to be put into commercial use.

The Cabinet adopted the Information on the allocation of funds from the European Investment Bank under the framework agreement "Water Supply and Wastewater in Montenegro," and associated financial agreements B, C, D, and E aimed at wastewater collection and treatment and improvement of the water supply system. It approved the remaining funds from the framework agreement to be allocated as follows: 3,000,000 euros to the Municipality of Nikšić for the "Construction of Phase II of the sewerage network in the Municipality of Nikšić" project, and 3,055,334 euros to the Municipality of Pljevlja for the "Construction of Phase II of the sewerage network in the Municipality of Pljevlja" project. The Ministry of Finance, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Ecology, Sustainable Development, and Northern Region Development, the municipalities of Nikšić and Pljevlja, and "Project Consulting" Podgorica LLC, was tasked with preparing credit transfer agreements for local self-government units and submitting them to the Government for consideration and adoption.

The Cabinet also adopted the Information on the conclusion of the Donation Protocol between the Ministry of Defence of Montenegro and the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and accepted the text of the Protocol. In order to enhance cooperation in the defence domain, the British side expressed readiness to donate equipment for search and rescue to the Ministry of Defence of Montenegro during bilateral discussions. The equipment is intended for the Montenegrin Air Force and Navy. As emphasised in the discussion, the donated equipment will significantly improve capacities and operational capabilities in performing regular tasks and defined missions. It will also contribute to achieving NATO capability goals and enhance the capacities of units of the Montenegrin Armed Forces in executing tasks related to increasing flight safety, efficient maritime search and rescue, quality medical response in emergencies, improving airport fire protection capacities, as well as tasks related to assisting the civilian population in case of natural disasters. The total value of the donation is 186,707.98 euros and will be realized through three deliveries.

The Cabinet adopted a Decision on Amendmends to the Decision on Temporary Measures for Restricting Prices of Products of Special Significance for the Life and Health of People and the List of Products. The Decision envisages limiting margins on a significantly expanded list of products, which will directly contribute to reducing prices in trade.

The Cabinet adopted an Information on the need to establish the Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As stated in the Information, the necessity of forming the Council arises from the need to improve the protection and promotion of the human rights of persons with disabilities through synchronized and responsible systemic work, considering the international obligations that Montenegro has undertaken by ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as the necessity of developing policies, laws, and programmes that remove barriers and guarantee the enjoyment of civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights of persons with disabilities. In this regard, the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights is tasked with preparing a Proposal for the Decision on the Establishment of the Council.

The Cabinet adopted an Information on the status of the Institute for Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, and Rheumatology "Dr. Simo Milošević", along with an assessment of the situation and a proposal for measures. After the Commission for Resolving the Status of the Institute thoroughly considered all options for resolving the status of the Igalo Institute, excluding bankruptcy, the proposed model of the Commission was adopted by the Cabinet. This model was aligned with the rules and principles of state aid allocation. The proposed solution, i.e., the Rescue and Restructuring Plan or rebranding of the Igalo Institute, involves three steps: a small-value aid of 300,000 euros to ensure the continuation of operations (de minimis), assistance of up to 10 million euros provided for six months to unblock accounts, continue operations, and pay salaries, with the obligation to develop a high-quality restructuring plan within these six months, which will undergo approval procedures by the competent authorities and obtain permission for implementation. This approach, as stated, will create conditions for multimillion-dollar investments in further revitalization and rebranding of the Igalo Institute. In this regard, the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Urbanism, and State Property is tasked with taking all necessary actions to implement the proposed model for resolving the status of the Institute and to obtain a current valuation of the Institute's property from an authorized appraiser.

The Information on signing the Contract regarding Montenegro's participation in the World Expo 2025 Osaka has been adopted. Montenegro will be represented within the Shared Pavilion Type C, occupying an exhibition area of 80m² (exhibition space 53m², commercial space 15m², and office space 12m²), with the possibility of constructing an intermediate floor. In addition to Montenegro, the shared pavilion will also feature: Croatia, Slovenia, San Marino, Panama, Uruguay, and Gabon. In accordance with the rules of the Expo organizer and Montenegro's previous participation practices in Expo exhibitions, official confirmation of the celebration date of Montenegro's National Day, which will take place on 26 May 2025, has been obtained. Given that this is the most important event for each participating country at the Expo exhibition, it is planned to establish an interdepartmental working group in the future to thoroughly address this event and the planned programme. One of the key responsibilities is for the Ministry of Economic Development to announce a Public competition in the coming period for the selection of the conceptual design for the exhibition in the Montenegro pavilion.

Full press release in Montenegrin, please click here.

22. sjednica Vlade Crne Gore - kadrovi
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