March 25, 2014

Opening of the EU Info Center in Podgorica
President of Montenegro, Filip Vujanović and Eduard Kukan, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the Western Balkans and Dirk Lange, Head of the EC Unit for Montenegro, opened the EU Info Centre today in Podgorica.

Speech delivered by the President:

Esteemed Mr. Kukan,
Mr. Lange,
Ambassador Drobnič,
Mr. Picula,
Your Excellencies,
President of the Supreme Court,
Governor of the Central Bank,
Esteemed High Dignitaries,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Mr. Kukan said everything that was to be said about the Center. WeÈve heard all that was to be said about MontenegroÈs European path. I am grateful for what he said about the Center and MontenegroÈs European path. Respecting his words and respecting your time, I will just express gratitude that needs to be conveyed on this great occasion. First of all, thanks to the EU for helping to accelerate the negotiations of Montenegro for membership in the EU through this Centre. We are very satisfied with our pace so far. We opened and provisionally closed Chapters 25 and 26 relating to science and research, education and culture, and gave an opportunity to our institutions and organizations, and those who work in them, to get closer to the EU in sharing these great values in important areas of creativity. WeÈve gotten the opportunity for our citizens who work in these areas of activity to achieve all the benefits of opening these two chapters. To have the opportunity to share their experiences, have the opportunity to receive financial support for their projects, to have an opportunity for new insights, in a word - to be a part of a large family in the fields of science, culture, research and education. Here they will be able to obtain information about all of that and to be present in these important fields of activity in the EU.
I express my gratitude to the EU which showed by this EU Info Centre that it is primarily citizen-oriented. The process of European integration is led by the state, political parties, civil society organizations, the media and all stakeholders in our society, but above all EU represents values to which our citizens aspire. Our citizens will be able to obtain all the information concerning the EU institutions, the relationships within the EU, the future and the value of the EU and to preserve and increase the very significant and outstanding support in the process. I express my gratitude for all those forms in which this center will operate - from conferences, seminars, round tables, to those which are probably the most important, i. e. direct conversations with citizens, who will be informed here about the European heritage.
Finally, thanks to everyone who funded this project, who was involved in its execution, all those who will be committed to working here, wishing it to be successful and further accelerate the European path of Montenegro.
JournalistÈs question: How do you see the U.S. interest in the case of Telecom?

President’s answer: Montenegro is determined to investigate it and to show a high level of responsibility in terms of all the requests for fact finding and evidence whereby we shall establish the state of affairs. WeÈve already heard the statement by the special prosecutor Đurđina Ivanović , who said htat the case had been investigated to a very high extent, and that the whole truth would be examined and established thereafter. So far, the investigation has not shown that there are any basis for anyoneÈs guilt, but Montenegro is determined to show a fully responsible attitude, led by those principles which I constantly repeat. Hence, everyone is equal before the law. No one is privileged in relation to the law. We respect the dignity of all. We respect the presumption of innocence. Absolutely no one is requested by the state to treat someone differently or to declare someone guilty if there is no evidence for it, and if not guilty.

JournalistÈs question: Does this mean that to you as the head of a sovereign state this does not matter, you do not think that it is bad manners of an embassy to issue such statements?

President’s answer: I perceive the relationship with the international community as one that not only Montenegro, but every country that is a member of the international community must respect. The United States is our valuable strategic partner. The U.S. is partner which understood Montenegro in the period of time prior to the referendum, they were of great help in conducting the referendum democratically, in recognition of the independence of Montenegro, building our way to the EU on these grounds, especially the Euro-Atlantic integration. Thus, we highly respect the EU and NATO countries and the United States is a true friend of Montenegro and we experience everything that the United States had stated as an expectation expressed by friends.

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