Update No: 121 - (27/06/07)
The rebirth of a nation
Montenegro was an independent state until 1918 when it merged with Serbia
and other parts of the western Balkans to create Yugoslavia. That six-state
federation crumbled in the wars of the early 1990s, but Montenegro's immediate
choice then was to stay allied with Serbia.
However, the two-state union ended last year when Montenegro's pro-independence
parties prevailed in the referendum over opposition groups that favoured a
continued alliance with much larger Serbia. The tiny state of 620,000 people
officially proclaimed independence June 3. But it regards the real date of
independence as a fortnight before when it - just - voted for it. The pro-vote
barrel scraped past the 55% threshold.
Such has been the success of the venture that nobody doubts that it was the
right decision. A re-run today would be won by a landslide.
First anniversary of independence
Cannons blasted celebratory salutes on May 21st to mark the first
anniversary of Montenegro's independence, and the young country's leaders
renewed promises to take the Balkan nation into NATO and the European Union.
President Filip Vujanovic addressed a crowd of government officials and
diplomats gathered on the eve of the anniversary of the May 21, 2006, referendum
in which voters chose to end their state's shaky alliance with neighbouring
Serbia. The split brought to a formal end the last union to remain from the
shattered Yugoslav federation.
"We are proud to have realized the dream of our forefathers,"
Vujanovic said in his speech. "We remain committed to the rule of law,
liberal economy ... and maintain good cooperation with our neighbours" as
well as with world powers. "Our determination is clear: full membership in
NATO ... in the European Union," Vujanovic said. "We are confident in
the crucial support of our ally, the United States of America."
The Jewel of the Adriatic
Montenegro is on the map - and in a big way. It is actually a fabulous
place, with wonderful scenery, which is now receiving the world's attention at
It provided locations for the latest James Bond film, Casino Royale. It has now
gone one up on that in 1960s glamour stakes. The Rolling Stones, the British
rock group, played a concert in Budva in early June, as part of their 'A Bigger
Montenegro is becoming a British celebrities' theme-park.
Montenegro's biggest airport reports booming tourist numbers
This is giving a big boost to tourism, just at the right time of year. Tivat
Airport, Montenegro's busiest, has reported a new record as tourist numbers
continue to increase.
The Visit-Montenegro website notes that 118,680 passengers passed through Tivat
Airport for the first five months of 2007 - an increase of more than 40,000 on
Furthermore, the trend of growth looks set to continue as Montenegro becomes an
increasingly popular holiday and property investment destination. Airport
officials expect total passenger numbers for the year to hit somewhere between
550,000 and 600,000 travellers.
Southeastern Europe Leaders Voice Different Views on Kosovo
Another sign that Montenegro has made it is that Budva again, a delightful
resort on the Adriatic, was the venue for a most important meeting for the
Balkan states. At a two-day summit in Budva, Montenegrin President, Filip
Vujanovic, appeared to side with Serbia when he said: "We still believe
that the option of an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina is not
Vujanovic's remarks echoed earlier calls by Serbia, which told Ban Ki Moon, the
UN Secretary General, in a letter that it wanted talks on the future of Kosovo
to continue. "It is now on the UN Security Council to determine Kosovo's
future in a careful and responsible manner," Vujanovic said.
Serbia is relying on Russia's backing to thwart a UN resolution in favour of
Kosovo's immediate independence. However, independence without delay is
supported by most European Union countries and by the US.
In contrast to Montenegro's position, Albania's President, Alfred Moisiu, told
the Budva summit that the Kosovo issue needed to be resolved as soon as
possible. His country has strongly backed the proposal drafted by the UN envoy
Martti Ahtisaari, which envisions internationally monitored independence for the
province. "This is the best solution for Kosovo, Serbia" region and
the European Union," Moisiu said.
Macedonia's President, Branko Crvenkovski, said he wanted what he called the
last outstanding issue in the region "resolved in a productive way and
without jeopardizing regional stability and its Euro-Atlantic prospects".
The conference, organized by an NGO, the International League of Humanists and
the government of Montenegro, brought together the presidents of Macedonia,
Albania, Bulgaria and Croatia, as well as top officials from Bosnia and
Herzegovina and the European Parliament's Delegation for South-East Europe.
Hungarian investors cast their eyes on new market
Hungarian companies plan to invest up to 10 billion Euro in Montenegro in the
coming years. This emerged at a meeting between Hungarian Economy Minister,
Janos Koka, and his Montenegrin counterpart, Branimir Gvozdenovic, in Budapest
on May 11th. Both leaders met to bolster economic ties between the two
countries, Mnnews reported.
Gvozdenovic said that Hungary was the biggest foreign investor in Montenegro in
the past two years. It accounted for 27 per cent of all foreign direct
investment in Montenegro between 2001 and 2005. Today investments worth as much
as 10 billion Euro are in the planning stages there by companies including OTP
Bank Nyrt, Magyar Telekom Nyrt, Mol Nyrt, aluminum maker MAL Zrt, Ganz Zrt and
TriGranit Zrt. Construction group TriGranit Zrt alone plans to spend several
billion euros to build a holiday resort in Montenegro and a new city centre in
Italians ready to invest, 20 companies visit Montenegro
Representatives from Italian firms came on a four-day visit to Montenegro to
explore new investments. The representative of the Italians from USA, Salvatore
Ferinjo, the member of the parliament commission in charge of defence and
security of Italy, lead the delegation. The president of the Union of
entrepreneurs, Predrag Mitrovic, said the aim of the Italian visit was the
promotion of the state and economy. During the stay in Montenegro, the Italian
firms discussed possibilities for investment and joint projects with the
representatives of the Government and the Union of entrepreneurs, New Europe
Even though the Union of entrepreneurs was the host of the Italian delegation
they had meetings with the government's officials. Italians and Americans of
Italian origins said they were interested in investing in regional cooperation
and are interested in investing in Montenegro, said Mitrovic. He said the second
goal of the visit of the Italian delegation was cooperation with entrepreneurs
and Montenegrin businessman.
"It is important for us to show Montenegro, as a country, that it is safe
and open for investments and real business projects. That is our guiding
idea," said Mitrovic. Ferinjo was born in Karina, near Palermo and managed
to become one of the richest brokers on the Manhattan stock market. Prior to his
arrival in Montenegro, Ferinjo told Mnnews that the richest Italian firms from
the sector of construction, hotel keeping, tourism are coming to Montenegro. He
added, "I have managed to transfer to them my enthusiasm and ideas about
investing in Montenegro. I believe there is a brilliant future for Montenegro
and I hope that we can be part of the foundations for future lucrative
MINERALS & METALS
Global Steel to invest 1.1bn Euro in new deal
Global Steel Holdings, the offshore investment arm of the Pramod-Vinod Mittal
controlled Ispat Industries, plans to invest 1.1 billion Euro in Montenegro. The
investment follows Global Steel's recent acquisition of coalmines in Ivangrad,
which have reserves of 150 million tonnes, in Montenegro. Global Steel will
invest 600 million Euro for rehabilitation of mines and 500 million Euro for a
500 mw power plant, Mnnews reported.
The mines in Ivangrad have a coal washing and separation plant that can produce
sized and washed coal. There is a coal washing and separation plant attached to
the mines that can produce sized and washed coal. The company will rehabilitate
the existing mines and will also develop six new mines and washing facilities.
Post investment, it will have a capacity of three million tonnes of coal per
annum. This is Global Steel's fifth venture in the Balkans. It has recently
acquired the Magnohrom Refractory in Serbia, Llamkos Steel in Kosovo,
Kremikovtzi Steel in Bulgaria and the coke oven company of GIKIL in Bosnia.
Global Steel also operates thermal power plants in Bulgaria and Nigeria.
Global's recent acquisition of Llamkos was embroiled in a court case. However,
it managed to get control of Llamkos through legal recourse. Global Steel
Holdings acquired Kremikovtzi in April 2005. Global Steel operates and manages
about 14 million tonnes of steelmaking capacity and associated businesses in
mining, energy and logistics in various parts of the world.