June 09, 2022

Former President of Montenegro participated in the 25th Eurasian Economic Summit
Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic participated in the 25th Eurasian Economic Summit in Istanbul, organized by the Marmara Foundation. On the panel dedicated to the challenges regarding the supply chain, climate changes, and involuntary migration after the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine - Russia war, former Montenegrin president addressed following:

Distinguished Dr. Suver,
Your Excellences,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

I want to use this opportunity to express my highest appreciation to Dr. Akkan Suver and the Marmara Foundation and congratulate them on the organization of the 25th Eurasian Economic Summit. With its tradition and successes, these summits have gained high respect.

I also respect your dedication to overcoming the challenges facing the Covid19 pandemic. Unfortunately, millions lost the battle against the virus, and it seems like the pandemic will have long-term negative consequences.

This summit is an opportunity to exchange opinions on reducing the consequences of humanitarian catastrophes with effective and sustainable joint efforts. After years of virtual meetings, we are finally back to the classic conferences and with optimism regarding future common activities.

Our primary task is to reiterate the appeal to political leaders around the globe to work together in overcoming all challenges and solving crises to the benefit of humanity. To send a message that there are no winners in wars and that peace is the only lasting guarantee of stability and prosperity for humankind. To express our expectation that the war in Ukraine and clashes all around the globe will end and all open issues will be solved by dialogue.

Previous dialogues were mainly the floor for discussing different modalities of strengthening economic cooperation as an essential precondition of prosperity. Though, peace is a precondition of good economic cooperation. The war in
Ukraine has deepened the crisis in Europe caused by the Covid19 pandemic. So nowadays, along with the health crisis, we also have war and economic crises in Europe.

The war in Ukraine has shown that the attempts for domination of big over smaller peoples never stopped. It showed the weaknesses of existing mechanisms of cooperation in solving crises peacefully. It showed that Europe must be united in shared values. That democratic legacy must never again be a hostage to the particular economic interest of some countries. That we shall, again and again, fight for peace.

The cornerstones upon which we have been building our society in the last 70 years were solidarity, mutual respect, the right to self-determination, respect for differences, equality, understanding, and tolerance. It is the right time to back to these initial values that enabled us prosperity and substantial economic progress. The only way to strengthen these values is by working together through multilateral and regional organizations.

For many years we have had a continuous debate on the necessity of the United Nations reform. We have to support that debate, encourage it, and consider concrete ideas responsibly. By doing so, we will stop ungrounded critiques toward multilateralism, a precious value of humanity. These critiques often have as a goal fulfillment of particular interests and crumbling of global order.

Undoubtedly, multilateralism has shown some weaknesses in solving global crises, but thanks to its values, we did not have a repeat of horrors from two world wars, which are always there to warn and oblige humankind.

In the end, I want to express hope that we will together continue to strengthen and support the regional and global initiatives and encourage once more all the activities in redefining multilateral cooperation. Multilateralism must prevail not only for a safer present but also for humanityÈs better and sustainable future. The Covid19 pandemic and wars oblige us to it.

Thank you for your attention! more
April 02, 2022

Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic at the Conference in Tirana
Former president of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic participated in the conference “Peace, Security and Economic Development in the Western Balkans” in Tirana, organized by the Podgorica Club and the Universal Peace Federation (UPF). Apart from the former Montenegrin President Vujanovic, on the panel named “The Importance of Peace and Security in the Western Balkans in the Light of Current Developments,” other panelists were: Former President of Albania Alfred Moisiu, Former President of Croatia Stjepan Mesic, Former Acting President of Serbia Natasa Micic, Former President of North Macedonia Branko Crvenkovski, Former President of Kosovo Fatmir Sejdiu, former Member of Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mladen Ivanic, Vice President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Mimi Kodhelli, and Chairman of the UPF Europe & Middle East Jacques Marion. The panel moderator was the former Deputy Chairwoman of the Parliament of Albania, Vasilika Hysi. In his address, Former President Vujanovic stressed:

Your Excellences,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear panelists,

The Podgorica Club and the Universal Peace Federation organized this important conference only four months after signing the Memorandum of cooperation here in Tirana. The conference is organized here in the Peace Embassy, with which the UPF sent a message to the Balkan and Korean peninsula on the lasting and irreplaceable value of peace.

Why are war and instability still not archived topics in the Western Balkans? It is not archived for historical and contemporary reasons. Historical – because of the position of the Western Balkans as a crossroad of globally powerful empires always striving to make this area a part of their territories. Contemporary – because after the fall of great empires, here in the Western Balkans, we still have regional imperialism with the dangerous intention of changing current state borders and building greater national countries.

The tragic intentions of forming great national countries caused a war with catastrophic consequences during the fall of Yugoslavia. Decades after the war, we are still far from each other, differently interpreting history.

We need to reject the ambition to interpret history only and exclusively in our personal experience of victims and culprits. We shall not endanger our present and future with the continuous investigation of the past, with the unavoidable imposition of our stances and negation of different experiences of others. We need to accept that everyone has their interpretation of history. In that regard, we need to cooperate in coexisting our differences for the sake of a peaceful and prosperous future. The reality shows that the wounds from the last war during the collapse of Yugoslavia – and even those before it – are still fresh and that complete reconciliation is not a reality. The future will bring reconciliation, and a precondition to have it is to accept the present reality of different interpretations of history.

In securing peace and stability in the Western Balkans, an immeasurable and irreplaceable role belongs to the EU.

Only as equal and full members of the EU the Western Balkan countries can reach standards and the quality of life of the EU citizens. Just in the EU – current or reformed – the Western Balkan countries can be in a union of countries where borders don’t have value and importance. The state borders are why the history of the Western Balkans was this tragic.

Commemorating the centenary of the beginning of World War One, affirming the value of peace, the EU has introduced the Berlin Process, which maintained a strategic partnership with the Western Balkan countries.

On the annual summits of leaders of the EU and the Western Balkans, from Berlin in 2014 to Sofia in 2020, strong cornerstones of the partnership between the two sides were maintained. The Western Balkans get strong support for developing the infrastructure and further cooperation in economy, education, science, and research. That cooperation is an additional and strong recommendation for the membership of the Western Balkan countries in the EU.

Indeed, the most outstanding achievement of such cooperation would be establishing the common regional economic area of the Western Balkans. This area shall ease, speed up and reduce the trade price, regional investments, free movement of persons, goods, services, capital, and digital interconnectivity. By signing the Sofia Declaration on Common Regional Market, leaders of the Western Balkan countries obliged them to establish a common economic area, and the Regional Cooperation Council of the South-East Europe Cooperation Process and the CEFTA will coordinate the process.

Instead of a common economic area, Serbia, Albania, and North Macedonia have introduced the Open Balkan initiative. Indeed, the initiative was started up with good intentions. Obviously, the economic and overall cooperation within the Western Balkans is necessary, and its low level is a severe deficiency.

Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo haven’t joined the Open Balkan. This has nothing in common with their relationship with the great project of establishing a common regional economic area. The common economic area of the Western Balkans certainly has its value and justification. As an impetus, not a substitute for European integration. As an area of all, not just particular countries of the region. By the model proposed by the EU, and our countries already accepted. But only with the coordination of already mentioned regional initiatives, which eliminate the risk of unequal or non-objective interstate governance. Interstate governance with which we have negative experiences and memories.

Certainly, of paramount value and importance for the Western Balkan security is the membership of Montenegro, Albania, and North Macedonia in NATO and Kosovo’s striving to become a part of the alliance. Within the coalition and its overall security, we strongly support securing the Western Balkans.

In conclusion, it is necessary to remember that we can have a peaceful future and stability in the Western Balkans only through cooperation, mutual respect, equality, and dialogue on open issues.

Thank you for your attention. more
March 22, 2022

Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic in Paris
Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic participated in High-Level Forum: "Challenges to Peace and Tolerance," held in Paris, organized by the Paris Forum for Peace and Development (PFPD) and Global Council for Tolerance and Peace (GCTP). Along with Former Montenegrin President, participants of the Forum were: President of Global Council for Tolerance and Peace Ahmed Al Jarwan, former Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, the OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Ambassador of Yemen to France Riyadh Yassin, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Gabon Noel Nelson Messone, and Consul General of Croatia in Istanbul Ivana Zerec.

After a productive meeting, the participants have agreed upon the next conclusions:

The participants of the High-Level meeting committed to the noble mission of global promotion of the values of tolerance and the culture of peace by:

Reaffirming the values of tolerance and peace, in full respect to the UN Charter,
Recognizing the crucial role of education, information, and media in the promotion of the values of tolerance and peace in tackling global crises,
Recognizing the crucial role of all members of society, in particular the position of women,
Condemning, in the strongest possible terms terrorism, grave violations of human rights, and all kinds of conflicts and destruction which are a threat for the entire humanity,
Acknowledging the unprecedented importance of reaching diplomatic solutions concerning the most pressing international humanitarian and security issues in Yemen in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions,
Concerned about the escalation of rhetoric of using weapons of mass destruction,
Taking into consideration the necessity for expansion and strengthening of global coalitions to meet todayÈs societal needs,
Agreeing to forge deeper, broader, and more effective collaboration to promote the humanitarian values of tolerance and peace, reducing and eliminating inflammatory statements, that do not contribute to negotiated solutions,
Welcoming all efforts for a negotiated solution of the current military conflict in Ukraine, including the diplomatic efforts of President of France H.E Emmanuel Macron, on behalf of the Council of the European Union Presidency,
And issuing call for peace through immediate negotiated diplomatic solutions to which they are fully committed to aid and participate. more
November 26, 2021

Former President Filip Vujanović at 2nd International Conference on Belt and Road Green Development
Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic participated in the 2nd International Conference on Belt and Road Green Development, organized by the China International Cultural Exchange Center (CICEC) and the National Academy on Development and Strategy of the Renmin University of China. In his remarks, former President Vujanovic expressed the following:

Decades of climate change are undoubtedly a serious global threat to the health and quality of life of all humanity. Therefore, the obligation to ensure a healthy environment and green development is an important responsibility of every country, all the regions, and the entire international community.

Values of multilateralism in protecting and improving the environment confirm its importance and show that multilateral cooperation is necessary and irreplaceable.

Montenegro has shown a responsible attitude in environmental protection in the consistent application of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. Montenegro actively participated in the creation of the Paris Agreement, immediately ratified it, and, based on the highest environmental standards, adopted the Law on Protection against the Negative Impacts of Climate Change.

The law sets out the obligation to adopt a Low Emission Development Strategy for the next 30 years and an action plan for its implementation, determined every two years.

Montenegro has shown its full readiness for regional action in environmental protection by participating in the initiatives of Southeast Europe and the Mediterranean and accepting the Declaration on the Green Agenda of the Western Balkans as the framework of cooperation between the countries of the Western Balkans and the EU.

Thus, Montenegro has expressed its readiness for full regional cooperation and regional supervision over the implementation of environmental protection measures. In this way, the constitutional commitment of Montenegro to be an ecological state is confirmed.

In its activities in the UN, Montenegro will be committed to multilateralism, considering that protection against climate change is an essential confirmation of it.

I express great appreciation to the PeopleČs Republic of China and its President Xi Jinping for his overall commitment to global protection and the improvement of the environment.
In that sense, I emphasize the special importance of the recently adopted Glasgow Declaration on the joint commitment of the PeopleČs Republic of China and the United States to implement the Paris Agreement and protect the environment.

I see the Second International Conference on "Belt and Road" Green Development as a confirmation of this commitment of the PeopleČs Republic of China, and I wish it a success. more
October 15, 2021

Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic participated in the Forum on ecology and climate changes
Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic participated in the Ecological Civilization Forum of the 2020 United Nations Conference on Biodiversity (Phase 1). Former President Vujanovic took part in the discussion "Banking Financial Institutions Supporting Biodiversity Conservation." This theme forum was co-organized by the China Banking Association, the National Institute of Development and Strategy Research of Renmin University of China, and the United Nations Development Program. In his opening remarks, Former Montenegrin President stressed:

The crisis of environmental sustainability has been drastically increased. Disastrous impacts of climate change and variability, along with the present deterioration of biodiversity reaching an unprecedented rate in human history, make the future of our planet uncertain.

We need a fast and profound transformative change addressing the interdependent and mutually reinforcing crises of biodiversity loss, climate change and health in an integrated manner. The complete and prompt transformation of economic development must enable the transition to a new model structured around innovative technological solutions. That turning point should lead to the elimination of our economy dependence on fossil fuels; decoupling natural resources use and environmental impacts from economic growth and halting the biodiversity loss.

I firmly believe in the capacity of humanity to undertake such a green transformation to which we committed by adopting the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development by 2030. Even a very small contribution of each country means everything in sustaining the life we know on our planet. Determined and courageous political decisions based on a science-policy interface are of utmost importance for the success of the forthcoming 15th UNCBD COP and 26th UNFCCC COP.

Science must be allowed to lead us in that direction. The vision and initiatives aimed at setting global ecological civilization construction of the Renmin University of China and its National Academy of Development and Strategy is a great example of the transformation needed for achieving the shared sustainable future of mankind. more
July 09, 2021

Former President of Montenegro participated in the 24th Eurasian Economic Summit
Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic has participated in the 24th Eurasian Economic Summit, organized online by the Marmara Foundation from Turkey. In the panel discussion dedicated to climate changes and global warming, former Montenegrin President Vujanovic stressed:

Distinguished Dr. Suver, dear Akkan,
Your Excellences,
Dear friends,
Ladies and gentlemen

It is my great pleasure to be a part of the 24th Eurasian Economic Summit organized by the Marmara Foundation, wishing it a great success.

One of the most important challenges for the future of humanity is undoubtedly global warming caused by climate changes.

Wish for progress, uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources, technological and infrastructural prosperity, besides its positive sides, leads to negative effects, which were recognized by the global society just at the end of the last century.

Rio de Janeiro Summit from 1992, which resulted in adopting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), constructed an institutional and legal framework for combating climate changes. Summit in Rio had opened the doors to the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol from 1997, which extended the UNFCCC. Kyoto Protocol obliged state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, primarily the CO2 emission.

The Kyoto Protocol preceded the adoption of the Paris Agreement from 2016, which is one of the most important multilateral documents agreed on in the previous decade. Paris Agreement predicts the change of energy paradigm and established patterns of action to keep the rise in global average temperature to well below 2°C, and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C. Paris Agreement is legally binding for all the state parties which had ratified it. Montenegro finished the ratification procedure on 11 October 2017 in its Assembly.

Paris Agreement has affirmed the leadership role of the UN and multilateralism as the best framework for sustainable future planning and care for humanity. It is entirely in compliance and is developing the UN SDGs, which also deal with climate changes and necessities for the ecological environment.

The EU has accepted such a UN role, and by the end of 2019, it adopted the European Green Deal. The main aim of this document is for Europe to be the first climate-neutral continent in 2050. European Green Deal covers all the branches of the EU economy, focusing on traffic, infrastructure, energy, agriculture, industry, ICT. In April 2021, the EU reached a compromise through the European Green Deal, which implies adopting the European Climate Law.

Bearing in mind that the Western Balkans, including Montenegro, is willing to become the EU member, such willingness created consent among all the WB states regarding the negative impact of climate change. Though, during the Berlin Process Summit held in Sofia in November 2020, the WB countries adopted the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans. By adopting the Green Agenda, the state parties obliged themselves to implement measures to prevent further climate changes and global warming, dealing with sustainable energy development and protection of biodiversity, mobility and circular economy, sustainable agriculture, and food production. The WB Green Agenda is in its fullness compatible with the European Green Deal and is important for further process on the path toward the EU membership.

When it comes to Montenegro, on 20 September 1991 Assembly of Montenegro adopted the Declaration on the Ecological State of Montenegro. Through its Constitution adopted in 1992, Montenegro defined itself as a democratic, social, and ecological state, which was also the value accepted and involved in the first Montenegrin Constitution after the restoration of independence, adopted in 2007. Montenegro is fully committed to implementing such constitutional values and strivings, which is the process that demands the involvement of all the stakeholders. I expect Montenegro and the Western Balkans to be valuable partners in creating a sustainable and green future.

Wishing the Summit to contribute to a better understanding of this process and result in concrete initiatives, I greet all the participants and organizers.

Thank you for your attention.
more
April 23, 2021

Former President Filip Vujanović Published a Paper
Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović published on 21 April 2020 a paper in the Global Times, analyzing the Belt and Road initiative and Montenegrin experiences regarding the cooperation with Chinese companies in building the highway.

Accusing China of creating ‘debt trap’ for Montenegro groundless

The Government of Montenegro’s request to the European Union’s Commission for help to repay the debt to the Chinese ExIm bank for the highway building serves as a new cause for accusations of China’s internationally important Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Numerous media renew and even strengthen the critique of this globally useful project, groundlessly accusing Chinese foreign policy of its alleged intentions to create a ’debt trap.’ Reportedly, the country can become economically dependent on China, making the space for its political dependence on China.

Qualifying these accusations as unfounded, I have already expressed my opinion on the value of the BRI. I see it as a globally valuable, as an essential affirmation of multilateralism, as a chance for strengthening regional connectivity, and as a development opportunity for all the countries participating. I consider President Xi Jinping’s initiative to implement and affirm this project as a huge chance for participating countries to use attractive and competitive financial potentials of the BRI.

Thanks to this, they can foster their development in the strategically important infrastructure projects, and do more regarding regional connections. Additionally, through links with and within the regions, participants can also affirm a noble mission of multilateralism and intensify closer cooperation in the economy and beyond.

Through its banks, China has provided the most favorable and competent loans, has offered reputable infrastructure contractors, and has given the possibility for domestic contractors as partners in these projects, allowing local enterprises to be involved. Through credits and contractors building along and with local companies, this initiative is an excellent opportunity for the economic development of participating countries using its benefits.
more
March 27, 2021

Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic participated in webinar on Balkan and Korean Peninsulas
Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic has participated in the Webinar on Balkan and Korean Peninsula organized by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF). Alongside former President Vujanovic, panelists in the webinar were: Alfred Moisiu, former President of Albania, Ho-Jin Lee, Acting President of the UN Association of Korea, Hyung-Suk Kim, former Vice Minister of Unification of Korea, and Heung-Soon Park, professor, and expert on UN affairs. The Moderator of the webinar was Lufti Dervishi, director of Transparency International Albania. In his address, former President Filip Vujanovic stressed the following:

Your Excellences,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,

The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) has been continuously putting its efforts to help the Western Balkan region overcome its challenges, which is why it is my great pleasure to participate in this conference. The efforts UPF is putting, which aim toward reconciliation of open issues and maintaining long-lasting peace, are of great importance, not only for Balkan and Korean Peninsula but on a global level.

This webinar’s topic is significant since Balkan and Korean Peninsulas have great experience in their strivings to maintain long-lasting peace and stability. These experiences are rich and diverse, primarily because of historical, demographical, economic, geographical, ideological, religious, and other differences between the two peninsulas. Their experiences are helpful not only for Balkan and Korea but for other lands around the world.

Indeed, differences within Balkan countries are exceeding those which exist between South and North Korea. The most notable difference between the two countries of the Korean peninsula is an ideological one. There is no region in the international community in which such difference is visible to this extend.

No matter the existing differences, the two peninsulas also have at least three similarities affecting their present and future.

The first similarity is the geostrategic and geopolitical importance of both Balkan and Korea on a global level. In recent history, two regions were a sphere of interest of the world’s biggest powers. Earlier, there were the Soviet Union and the United States, and recently there are the United States and China, and Russia to some extent.

Nowadays, the Korean peninsula is an economic partner of great importance for the United States and China. South Korea is one of the most prominent digital and economic powers worldwide. There is also a significant military presence in both countries to maintain peace. On the other side, from a historical perspective, Balkan has always been an intersection between East and West, Christianity and Islam, Europe and Asia. Balkan has always been a massive factor on which Europe’s stability depends.

The second similarity is a challenging and tragic 20th century marked by war destructions, divides, tragic human victims, and suffering. At the beginning of the 20th century, Korea was occupied by Japan, followed by the Russian–Japanese war on the peninsula. After that, Korea started its fight for independence and went through Second World War and the Korean war. Balkan also vastly suffered from wars, and it went through five of them – two Balkan wars, two World wars, and the war during the disintegration of former Yugoslavia.

At the beginning of the 1950s, the Korean peninsula was divided into two states. In the unfortunate events that followed the peninsula division, especially the war between North and South Korea, more than 2.5 million people were killed. Tragic human losses were followed by mass destruction that left scars that could be felt to this day.

While the war between South and North Korea was a matter of ideological discrepancies of one, Korean people, followed by different geopolitical interests of the greatest power of that time, the Yugoslavian war resulted from emerging of extreme nationalism of that time.

That war left a huge mark on Western Balkan relations, and its legacy slows sincere and long-lasting reconciliation. Equally, to both the Balkan and Korean peninsula, the wars have left devastating consequences on economic and overall development between countries, on level of fundamental human rights and freedoms guarantees, and general inter-state relations.

And third, maybe the most important similarity between two globally essential regions is their necessity for long-lasting peace. Experience and history warn Balkan and Korea that war is not an instrument for resolving open issues, differences, and misunderstandings. Contrary, war can only add fuel to the fire and bring demolitions, deepening of problems, and human victims. Unfortunately, our recent past and shared painful experiences are important lessons of peace as the highest value.

Balkan political leaders concluded that the best way to maintain long-lasting peace is to become European Union members and regional cooperation. Some of the Balkan states have already become the EU members, often referred to as the most successful peace project.

Western Balkan states, to achieve EU standards, have created numerous regional mechanisms and initiatives. They cooperate mainly in fields where their national differences aren’t visible, such as economy, education, culture, science, innovations, and research. Of course, it is necessary to improve it. The EU will not be a successful project without Balkan, nor the Balkan could progress and develop without EU membership, as the greatest guarantee of peace and reconciliation.

It is not easy to achieve and maintain peace and reconciliation, but we should always insist on them and promote them as the highest values. Hopefully, this conference will contribute toward that goal.

Thank you for your attention. more
November 19, 2020

Former President of Montenegro on video conference on the Western Balkans
Former Montenegrin President Filip Vujanović participated in a video conference dedicated to relations in the Western Balkans, co-organized by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP), the Nizami Ganjavi International Center (NGIC), and the Foundation for Share Society and Values (FSSV). Besides the former President of Montenegro, other participants to the conference were Zlatko Lagumdžija, former President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mirko Cvetković, former Prime Minister of Serbia, John Connorton, Secretary of the NCAFP, and Matthew Niemec, former Special US President Bill Clinton’s envoy for mediation in the name dispute between Greece and North Macedonia. The video conference’s moderator was Susan Eliot, president and director of the NCAFP.

The topics of the video conference were the fate of the so-called Mini Schengen initiative in the light of the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans presented in October and concrete proposals for cooperation in the upcoming period between the Western Balkan countries on their path towards European Union.

Concerning the first topic of the video conference and the Mini Schengen initiative’s fate, former President Filip Vujanović stated that Mini Schengen’s idea is a thing of the past and became unnecessary last Western Balkans Summit in Sofia, co-chaired by Bulgaria and North Macedonia. The European Union’s relationship with the Western Balkans has been given a clear and strong framework through the Berlin Process initiative. This initiative was launched in August 2014 by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A month earlier, she participated in the Brdo-Brioni Initiative Summit in Croatia. At this Summit, Chancellor Merkel and presidents of the Western Balkans, Croatia and Slovenia expressed a clear expectation of more robust and more concrete European Union support for the Western Balkans.

After many years of cooperation and numerous summits of the Western Balkans and the EU leaders, the Berlin Process received a clear direction at the Summit in Sofia on November 10, 2020. Two Declarations were adopted at the Summit: on the Common Regional Market and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans. By committing to the Common Regional Market foundation, the Western Balkan countries’ leaders have committed themselves to cooperation in common trade, digital, investment, innovation, and industrial space. Indeed, the above-mentioned facilitates and accelerates people’s free movement and the movement of capital, goods, and services with the advantage of digital connectivity. All these values have been put into a function to remedy the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with the Declaration, an Action Plan for its implementation was adopted, with established obligations and deadlines. Montenegro will undoubtedly be a reliable partner in respecting these essential agreements between the EU and the Western Balkans.

One can state that thanks to the Berlin Process and the European Union, the obligation to constitute the Common Regional Market was accepted, which includes everything that was the ambition of Mini Schengen, determining a much broader content of cooperation than envisaged by Mini Schengen. The initiative had a good goal - a stronger regional connection of the Western Balkan countries. Still, it’s creators chosen a lousy way to achieve that goal because, at the same level and immediately, it had to include Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. Concluding the first part of the discussion, former President Filip Vujanović stated that the constituted Common Regional Market is a solid framework and a strong chance for further regional integration.

The former President of Montenegro pointed out the numerous possibilities that the recently presented European Commission’s Economic and Investment Plan provides to implement the Common Regional Market idea. This plan designs an excellent opportunity to enhance regional cooperation in all fields, primarily through more solid infrastructure and energy connectivity, which along with digital transformation, is a crucial segment of improving the Western Balkans’ business environment and a chance to attract foreign investment.

Speaking on the European and Euro-Atlantic perspective of Montenegro and the region, former President Vujanovic reminded that Montenegro is a credible member of NATO. Montenegro has made the greatest progress towards the EU membership path among Western Balkans, with all chapters opened and three temporarily closed. He also stated that without Western Balkans, the European Union could not be successful as an idea nor will be fulfilled project. President Filip Vujanovic recognized the need to fulfill previously agreed obligations and better implementation of contracted projects as crucial elements for strengthening the Western Balkans’ European perspective and fostering regional relations. He concluded that Western Balkan countries must be more focused and proactive when approaching the implementation of already contracted projects whose goal is to strengthen the ties within the Western Balkans. more
October 08, 2020

Former President of Montenegro in the 23rd Eurasian Economic Summit
Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović participated on October 8, 2020, in the 23rd Eurasian Economic Summit, organized by the Marmara Foundation from Turkey. This years summit is holding online, and on the panel headlined ’Contemporary Sagacious People - New Power Balances and Respect and Governance’, the former Montenegrin President announced:

Distinguished Dr. Suver,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,

First of all, I would like to express my utmost respect to the Marmara Foundation and its president, dr. Akkan Suver and to wish the successful realization of this Summit.

Facing the new reality caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, I would also like to use this opportunity to point out the importance of various activities that the Marmara Foundation organized in previous months to raise the awareness of fighting the disease.

This forum is a well-known ground for open discussion. I genuinely believe that we will have conclusions within the panels, which should help overcome the world’s challenges.

This Summit’s topic is the world after the Coronavirus and new power balances in globalization, respect, and governance. To think about humanity’s future after the coronavirus pandemic, we should first face the present and do whatever it takes to overcome this devastating pandemic. Unfortunately, thousands of lives are lost, millions are currently at risk of the pandemic, and we should do our best to save human lives.

The critics towards international organizations are apparent, but the pandemic has undoubtedly shown us that their role in our global society is irreplaceable. We need a strong United Nations to act successfully on a worldwide level. We need a strong and unified World Health Organization to overcome this pandemic. We need support from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to help national economies to recover and maintain fiscal stability.

We also need these international organizations to help us fight against poverty, climate change, human rights, the affirmation of democracy, peace, and security – basically, for every value of our lives.

Indeed, this is not a good time to promote isolationism and national interests, but for a global partnership for the common good. During the last 70 years, we have been building a deeply connected and interdependent global society that should be a guarantor for overall development.

When it comes to Montenegro, we followed the World Health Organization’s recommendations from the beginning of the pandemic. To cooperate in all the activities regarding the fight against the virus, the Montenegrin government has founded the National Coordination Body for Communicable Diseases. Our country has provided very successful cooperation with various countries and organizations in fighting the virus throughout this body. The EU, China, the United States, Turkey are among the partner countries and organizations that helped us overcome the virus’ negative impacts.

As has already been said, it is still early to think about the world after the pandemics. But at the same time, I am assured this virus will speed up the reform process in many global organizations.

Once again, we have to give a chance to international solidarity, unity, and cooperation to lead us towards a sustainable future and progress. In the end, no matter how strong our national interests, state economies, and business societies are, the Covid-19 has shown us how necessary and irreplaceable global cooperation is.

Thank you for your attention. more
July 30, 2020

Former president of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic on video conference on Western Balkans
On July 30, 2020, former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic participated in the video conference headlined ’The Western Balkans: Facing up to Historical Challenges and Seizing Looming Opportunities’. The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) organized this conference. Besides former Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic, the panelists were former Albanian President Alfred Moisiu, former acting president of Serbia Natasa Micic, and former President of Kosovo Fatmir Sejdiu. In his address, former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic stressed:

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,

I express my gratitude to the UPF for organizing this conference and its commitment to the Western Balkans to overcome its challenges and find the best future.

We live in a time when such conferences, dedicated to any topic, should highlight the current Covid-19 pandemic. Expressing sorrow for the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, for millions of patients and those at risk of the pandemic, we need to express our faith that humanity will overcome it. We also hope that our society has enough potential to overcome the enormous economic losses caused by the pandemic and utilize all the experience gained through those difficult times in protecting itself from all other global challenges.

Dealing with global problems such as sustainable development, climate change issues, and especially this pandemic confirm the irreplaceable multilateralism role in our daily lives. No matter how powerful and significant are some countries, how important and influential are some regions of the world, global partnership and cooperation have no alternative. That is why multilateral organizations have exceptional value, and our obligations are to strengthen them and develop them. The current pandemic has also shown us the importance of the World Health Organization, whose values we should affirm, and at the same time, whose weaknesses we need to eliminate. All global problems and challenges have confirmed the value of the UN, expressing at the same time the necessity to ensure greater efficiency of this most important international organization.

The Western Balkan countries should accept those global interests, using their historical experiences as a lesson for the future. Unfortunately, the historical occasions of the Western Balkans are both numerous and painful. During the last century, the Western Balkan region went through two Balkan wars, two world wars, and the devastating war during the disintegration of Ex-Yugoslavia.

The history of the Western Balkans confirms that peace has no alternative. At the same time, it affirms that dialogue is the best way to resolve open issues. In the end, it confirms that cooperation and partnership are both precondition and guarantee for the development of the Western Balkans countries and the region as a whole.

Indeed, the exceptional value of the Western Balkans in this regard is the membership of Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Albania in NATO, Kosovo s determination to be a part of the Alliance, and the membership of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in its Partnership for Peace program.

Additionally, the Western Balkan countries’ willingness to become members of the European Union is also of great value for the future. Montenegro has opened all negotiating chapters in this process. Serbia has opened sixteen chapters, North Macedonia and Albania have almost started accession negotiations. Bosnia and Herzegovina have taken the necessary steps to gain candidate status, and Kosovo has shown an evident readiness for European integration. One must point out that the Western Balkans won’t have full prosperity without the EU membership, nor the EU will be complete without the Western Balkans!

In addition to the European and Euro-Atlantic integration, the Western Balkan counties should also strive toward further strengthening regional cooperation ties in the field of economy, education, culture, science, research, and innovation. They have committed themselves to this by the EU’s agreement and throughout numerous regional contracts and initiatives, among which the most important are the Berlin Process, the CEFTA, and the South-East European Cooperation Process. But, first and foremost, they are obliged to keep their individual and shared interests in mind.

Finally, to emphasize the importance of cooperation within the Western Balkans, the Podgorica Club, whose members are participants in this conference, was established. Members of the Club are former presidents and prime ministers of the Western Balkan countries, Croatia and Slovenia. Throughout our work, we are strongly advocating European integration of the region, supporting the regional cooperation simultaneously, throughout strengthening ties in areas of mutual interest. We will resolutely continue to promote these values and the need for collaboration and good neighborly relations. I am convinced that the Western Balkans’ future lies in deeper connectivity and affirmation of European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Thank you for your attention! more
March 05, 2020

Sarajevo: Former President of Montenegro at the Bosnia and Herzegovina 2020 Economic Forum
Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović participated in the Bosnia and Herzegovina 2020 Economic Forum. In his address on the panel dedicated to the goals of sustainable development and the new narrative for the Western Balkans 2030, former President Vujanović stated:

The initial reason for the Podgorica Club’s foundation was to support European integration and regional cooperation in the Western Balkans in the areas defined by the EU strategic documents for our region (Credible Strategy for the Western Balkans 2018, Sofia Declaration May 2018). These areas are the economy, education, culture, science, and research. Through fulfilling these goals, the Podgorica Club is firmly committed to affirming the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and the 2020 Strategy of the Regional Cooperation Council of the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP).

With its program goals, mission, and vision of action, sublimated through the action concept "New Narrative of the Western Balkans - Vision 2030", the Podgorica Club’s activities are entirely future-oriented. The Club’s goal is to make a decisive step forward through the members’ experience and free the region from the burden of the past, which this area has lived long enough and, unfortunately, has often been its hostage.

Through a little more than a year of operation, the Podgorica Club has made a full contribution to European integration through concrete activities. The Club held a regional Conference headlined "The EU Enlargement at the Crossroads" in Skopje in June 2019, when we called out the European Union to respect the "rules of the game" in the integration process and to open negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

Previously, in April 2019, in Ulcinj, in cooperation with the Ministry of Science of Montenegro, we held the Forum "Science and Innovation Vision 2030 for the Western Balkans". In addition to presenting the best models of cooperation in science, the forum’s conclusions and recommendations sent strong support toward the Southeast European International Institute for Sustainable Technologies’ foundation (SEEIIST). The institute aims at state-of-the-art cancer therapy and biomedical research with protons and heavier ions. Three months after the Ulcinj Forum, Western Balkan heads of states and governments signed the Memorandum of Understanding for its foundation at the Berlin Process Summit in Poznan.

Throughout the support for regional cooperation and synchronized action towards the international community, the Western Balkans is strengthening its visibility and credibility internationally. It can also respond faster and more efficiently to its European integration path and the UN Agenda 2030 challenges.

In summary, the Podgorica Club operates in three directions - regional, European, and global.

Analyzes compliance between the European integration process and sustainable development goals from the 2030 Agenda show a high complementarity between these two processes. As many as 109 out of 169 sustainable development tasks in 17 goals are related to European integration. Suppose we add that every EU strategic document’s priority dedicated to integrating the Western Balkans in the EU is the support of regional cooperation; in that case, the Podgorica Club’s conclusion unites these three processes is their active promoter. Only the activities as mentioned above, organized by the Podgorica Club, directly or indirectly, can be related to the most sustainable development goals. more
February 06, 2020

Former President of Montenegro in Seoul
Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic is attending the UPF’s World Summit 2020 - Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity, and Universal Values. Throughout the Summit, former Montenegrin President met with several distinguished guests, including former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former European Commission’s President Jose Manuel Barroso, and former NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen. more
February 06, 2020

Seoul: Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović at the World Summit 2020
Former President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic participates in the "World Summit 2020 – interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal Values", currently held in Seoul, South Korea. The World Peace Federation (UPF), an international non-governmental organization with a general consultative status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council, is an organizer of the summit. The UPF is a great contributor to solving open inter-state, inter-ethnic, and interreligious issues through its activities and appreciation of universal values of peace and dialogue.

Former President Vujanovic participated in the consultations dedicated to the Western Balkan, mainly focusing on the Balkan Peace Initiative, an initiative initiated and supported by the UPF. Other than former President of Montenegro, the participants on this event moderated by former US Ambassador Cristopher Hill were UPF’s Char for Europe and Middle East Dr. Katsumi Otsuka, former President of Albania Alfred Moisiu and former Prime Minister of Albania Vilson Ahmeti, former Secretary-General of NATO Anders Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt, president of Forum for Strategic Studies and former MP in Serbian National Assembly Neven Cvetičanin, and president of Institut Prospective & Sécurité en Europe (IPSE) Emmanuel Dupuy.

Former Montenegrin President expressed his gratitude towards UPF and its initiative, which has mainly focused on promoting the importance of peace in the Western Balkan. He made a brief retrospective of wars on the Balkan peninsula from the 20th century, reminding of the consequences of two Balkan wars, two world wars, and the war caused a disintegration of former Yugoslavia, reiterating the constructive role of Montenegro in these processes. Former President Vujanovic emphasized that the Euro-Atlantic integration and further cooperation within and with NATO is the best sustainable way towards long-lasting peace. On this line, he reminded that Montenegro, Albania, and North Macedonia are NATO members, Kosovo wants this membership, and Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina participates in the NATO program Partnership for Peace. Former President Vujanovic concluded that all the stakeholders participating in defining Western Balkan’s future should express mutual respect, embrace the diversities and different opinions, and use open dialogue as an essential instrument for realizing mutual goals. more
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