OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

04/02/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/02/2019 13:03

Political dialogue must take place within parliament and state institutions, says OSCE Secretary General Greminger during visit to Podgorica

PODGORICA, 2 April 2019 - OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger concluded today a two-day visit to Podgorica, during which he met with Montenegro's highest officials and highlighted the significant progress achieved in fulfilling strategic reforms in the country.

'Strong institutions are the pillars of a consolidated democracy and all political actors should contribute to their strengthening. Parliament is the key institution in a democratic system. The peaceful, democratic nature of political discourse needs to be preserved and political dialogue must take place within the parliament and state institutions,' said Greminger.

'I have to commend the work of the Committee on further reform of electoral and other legislation. There is a definite need for thorough and timely reform,' said Greminger. 'The only way to achieve progress is through mutual dialogue and compromise in order to implement recommendations that reflect international standards. The political will of all sides is crucial to ensure full implementation of proposed recommendations.'

In his meetings with Montenegro's senior officials, Greminger noted that protests are part of the democratic process, as long as they stay peaceful. 'While the region made considerable progress towards peace and stability and in strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law, recent events show that these achievements cannot be taken for granted and need to be further consolidated.'

During his separate meetings with media and NGO representatives, Greminger reaffirmed the OSCE's support for free, independent, and pluralistic media, stressing the importance of ensuring the safety of journalists. He also pointed out that the active participation and commitment of civil society representatives in the country's reform agenda is important, especially in the youth, gender and democratic development spheres.

In a meeting with opposition party leaders, Greminger stressed that strong opposition is necessary to safeguard democracy. 'It is important to hear critical voices. Peaceful protests are part of democracy, but differences should be debated in Parliament.'

Head of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro Maryse Daviet said: 'Thanks to the close partnership that the Mission has forged with the government, institutions, civil society and other stakeholders, it is well positioned to continue to support Montenegro in meeting their long-term strategic goals in line with OSCE commitments and principles.'

Greminger met with President of Montenegro Milo Ɖukanović, President of the Parliament Ivan Brajović, Prime Minister Duško Marković, Deputy Prime Minister for the Political System, Internal and Foreign Policy Zoran Pažin, Minister of Culture Aleksandar Bogdanović, Minister of Sports and Youth Nikola Janović, opposition party leaders, as well as representatives of NGOs and the media in Montenegro.

During his visit, the Secretary General also met with the staff of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro. The OSCE Mission to Montenegro was established in June 2006.