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Friday, 29. May 2015. 10:15

Vice President of Parliament Mr Branko Radulović pays an official visit to Swedish Parliament

Vice President of the Parliament of Montenegro Mr Branko Radulović paid an official visit to the Swedish Parliament - Riksdag. During the visit, Vice President Radulović met with first Deputy Speaker of the Riksdag Mr Tobias Billström as well as with chairpersons and members of the Committee on the Constitution, Committee on European Union Affairs, Committee on Finance, Committee on Defence and Committee on Industry and Trade. 

During the talks with the Swedish parliamentarians, the interlocutors exchanged views on the current political, socio-economic and integration situation in the European Union and globally. On the occasion, numerous challenges that the European Union and its member states have been facing with were discussed, as well as ways for overcoming those, with the aim of solving the problems in a quality manner.

At the meeting of Vice President Radulović and first Deputy Speaker of the Riksdag, Mr Billström stressed that the European Union had no alternative and that Sweden would advocate firmly for its survival, and that closer connection of the Nordic states that composed the Nordic Council in a new union was not significantly supported by Sweden and its citizens. However, it was stated that the EU and its institutions faced a great challenge due to existing regulations and insufficient efficiency of its institutions. Deputy Speaker of the Riksdag reminded that Sweden, during the presidency of the EU in 2009, adopted so-called Stockholm Programme, which defined the framework of cooperation in the EU in all segments, as well as the manner of integration of the whole Western Balkans and Turkey. The fact that the Stockholm Framework Programme was not fully observed is reflected in the current developments in the Western Balkans, and economic crisis in a great number of the EU states. Deputy Speaker Billström also underlined that the Euro zone should survive on a new platform, which would contain effective economic and financial regulations with clearly defined role of institutions, including all EU states in the future. According to him, membership of the Western Balkans countries and Turkey should be successive and on the basis of clearly accomplished criteria, and not, in any case, a consequence of geopolitical importance of the state, which happened in the past. Additionally, Mr Billström thinks that the European Union should be a red thread to all European countries, however, every state has its own specifies which should be respected and valorised in the best possible manner for the sake of welfare of its own citizens and the whole of the European Union. Sweden is such example, given the fact that, in the last hundred years from the poorest country with high mortality rates of infants and emigration of citizens it has become a country of welfare, prosperity, freedom and the country where people migrate to. Furthermore, the main and basic motive of Swedish membership to the EU in 1995 was not motivated by the intention of Sweden to improve its own system, but to expand its own successful model to other EU member states. Deputy Speaker of the Riksdag referred to the Swedish model as the one composed on thorough development of the legal state and full implementation of laws, where Parliament is an umbrella institution, and where there is a freedom of expression, freedom of media, extremely low rate of corruption and where science is valorised as the most important resource.

When it comes to security situation and relations towards western military alliance, Deputy Speaker Billström said that that issue had becoming one of the most significant issues in the Swedish parliament, due to overall global and regional developments, and primarily bearing in mind events in the area of the Baltic Sea. The Riksdag will improve the existing document, in the manner that it would determine much more precisely all economic and security effects of the existing neutrality vs approaching and membership to the NATO. Additionally, the invitation of Finland to Sweden for closer military cooperation of the two countries, both of which are military neutral, will be considered. Also, he stressed a dominant position of the public in Sweden and most important political actors that Sweden should remain military neutral country.

Deputy Speaker Billström considers that Montenegro should have a balanced position towards the membership to the NATO, that the decision should be a result of detailed security, integration and economic analyses and a consequence of fulfilling standards, with obligatory respect of a position of the majority of people. Transparency and objective consideration in analysing and reaching decisions should be fully fulfilled.

Having in mind competences of the Committee on the Constitution, as the most significant in the Riksdag when it comes to monitoring the work of the Government and exercising the rights and freedoms, on the occasion of Vice President Radulović’s talks with members of the Committee, the role Riksdag was considered in relation to the Government, creation of independent and professional media and organisation of free election.

Answering to statement of Vice President Radulović that the Prime Minister of Montenegro frequently stressed that there was a parliamentary dictatorship when Parliament even in the slightest degree amends or rejects the proposal of the Government, the Swedish parliamentarians expressed disapproval towards such relationship, especially bearing in mind that this Committee and Riksdag supervised and controled the work of the prime minister and the overall government, which was responsible only to the implementation of policies and enforcement of laws adopted by the Riksdag. Vice President Radulović said that the media scene in Montenegro was far from free and professional, adding that after eleven years the murder of the editor-in- chief of the daily "Dan" Mr Duško Jovanović was not solved, that there were numerous cases of attacks on journalists, that the media scene was largely politicised and that the public broadcaster  was not sufficiently neutral in the public interest, that some media favoured certain political actors and that some so-called media deal with things in a way that is below human moralit. The Swedish parliamentarians stated that free media were one of the most important factors of building a free and democratic society. The Swedish parliamentarians added the new Media Law should be urgently adopted with norms that were to achieve the highest standards as well as new Law on Free Access to Information, as a part of the overall measures for improving Montenegrin media scene.  The issue of exercising media ethics should be left to media themselves, and in case that they violate the ethics, the state should consider the re-adoption of the Law on Defamation, which was the case Sweden, and which have resulted in achieving the enviable standards in this field. They stated that editor-in-chief may in certain occasion and in his/her comments promote a certain political orientation, while other redaction journalists should be completely independent and professional. The public broadcaster in Sweden is financed by citizens who use television signal. Apart from that, relation between the Riksdag and public broadcaster is precisely defined by a contract, whose implementation is controlled by a special working body. All other media are private, whose owners are foundations, businessmen, or labour movements. The editor-in-chief is the only one to bear responsibility in case of violating the ethics State financially supports by a symbolic amount some of the local media that work in local interest and have financial problems. Non-existence of the legal state is a reason of unsolved murder of the editor-in-chief and assaults on journalists.   

On statements of Vice President Radulović that elections in Montenegro were not free, which was published in all reports of the European Commission, and that there was no possibility of implementing the idea of transitional government in the Parliament, thus the Democratic Front together with true opposition and Montenegrin citizens, would begin street protests, the Swedish parliamentarians suggested that it needed an intensive international activities and visits to the EU parliament and their institutions for the purpose of obtaining greater international support.

During the meeting with chairperson and members of the Committee on European Union Affairs, composed of ministers and European parliamentarians, the importance of this Committee was emphasised in creation of the overall policy of Sweden towards the EU and control of its implementation. They consider that the EU is in a deep crisis and that it has no critical relation towards itself, not solving its numerous problems and that behaves even towards its own member states, but also globally, in a colonial manner. “Closed door” policy should come to an end, and further work of institutions should be ultimately transparent and principled for the purpose of achieving aims for which it was founded, and that is to be the union of welfare. Critical relation towards the current state is a first step in achieving such perspective of the EU.

During the meeting with members ofCommittee on Finance, representatives of the Committee stressed that it was better for Sweden not to be the part of Euro zone, bearing in mind the current situation in the Zone. However, Sweden has certain problems in maintaining export competition of its products due to changes of relations between the Swedish krona and euro. Therefore, redefining in the Euro zone and its institutions is necessary. Sweden is against federal solutions in economic and financial sphere, but it advocates the principle of unique regulations. It was pointed out that the some countries experienced a moral hazard due to application of the Maastricht criteria. As a result of the overall situation in the euro zone and the whole EU, the competitiveness of the product is low and the level of investment is small.

During the meeting with members of the Committee on Defence, in addition to details on the Swedish defence doctrine, Swedish parliamentarians pointed out a number of interesting facts from this area. Namely, total expenses of Swedish neutrality and the level of military and safety security and applications of their platforms cost Sweden up to 2% of GDP. Export of equipment is around 3%, and further growth of the GDP of Sweden will cause a reduction in the proportion of costs allocated to such military commitment. Also, the parliamentarians emphasised a military alliance under the auspices of the EU would not be formed, even in the security sector. Security services, military or civilian, are controlled by the Government and the Government’s work is controlled by the Parliament. Also, the State Audit Agency more closely controls the respect of laws and granted funding by the security services. They pointed out that the legal procedures were clearly defined in terms of  tapping, with the crucial role of the judicial authorities.

Vice President Radulović also met representatives of the Committee on Industry and Trade. During the meeting, members of the Committee emphasised that their basic objective was a high and competitive export of the Swedish products, particularly those that resulted from knowledge, science and information technologies. Thus, a new package of measures has been initiated with high competitiveness and competence of products. Investing in science and research is exceptionally high, over 7%, of which the state allocates 3.6% which is the same percentage invested by the private sector in this field. In this manner, Sweden allocates for this most important resource three times more that the EU average. Swedish parliamentarians stressed that the role of the Government and the Parliament must be active in the creation of overall economic and industrial policies, and that big systems and leaders in development must be encouraged and supported by the state in terms of certain benefits, through the tax system or through the creation of conditions for improving competitiveness and development.

Swedish parliamentarians posed numerous questions to Vice President Radulović on the situation in Montenegro and the region, with regard to the field of security, international relations, socio-economic situation, impact of the leading countries and the overflow of global crises both when it comes to ISIS forces and Ukrainian crisis. Vice President Radulović stressed that, unfortunately, the Western Balkans was governed by a confederation of criminal regimes and security structures and that they for achieving their positions and aims often used international differences, pre-political situation of the society, recent bloody conflicts and global threats. Such situation in the certain degree is a responsibility of lack of principles and inertia of individuals and institutions that they represent and are part of the EU, as well as the global impact and interests of the big countries, primarily the USA and Russia. Furthermore, the matter of concern is ambiguity or even explicitly of some of the Albanian officials on unifying the Albanian people in one state, as well as participation of some citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia in fights on the ISIS side. Vice President Radulović considers that the civil revolt in Macedonia is a fight against the corrupted regime and that it has no national sign. He stressed that civil revolt would happen in Montenegro soon and that the EU should have an objective and active attitude towards all future events and their protagonists.