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Montenegro gets new government and PM

Montenegro’s parliament appointed a new government Tuesday after weeks of negotiations, a coalition of pro-European and pro-Serb parties expected to lead the country as it seeks to join the European Union, according to Euractiv.

The head of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Podgorica as part of a tour of several Western Balkan countries. She gave a press conference before meeting with the new Prime Minister.

Montenegro is one of the most advanced countries in the Western Balkans on the road to the EU.

All parties must come together to deliver on EU reforms — Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) October 31, 2023

The new government, led by economist Milojko Spajic of the Europe Now movement, will consist of 18 ministries and five deputy prime ministers. It will include the pro-Serb Socialist People’s Party, the centre-right pro-European Democrats and five Albanian minority parties. Spajic told deputies:

Our four main foreign policy priorities are full membership … in the EU, active, credible membership in NATO, improvement of good relations with neighbours and strengthening of the country’s role in multilateral organisations.

Milojko Spajic says Montenegro will seek to improve the living standards of its population of just 620,000. The new government plans to introduce a series of reforms to increase tax revenues, investment, improve the business climate and the judicial system. After an overnight debate, 46 MPs in the 81-seat parliament backed the government.

The pro-Serb and pro-Russian Alliance for a Better Montenegro, led by Andrija Mandic, voted in favour of Spajic’s cabinet in exchange for the post of parliament speaker and four ministerial posts following a government reshuffle planned for next year.

Montenegro’s economy, which unilaterally adopted the euro as its de facto currency in 2002 and relies mainly on tourism revenue from the Adriatic, is set to grow by 4.8 per cent in 2023, according to the World Bank.

Montenegro joined NATO in 2017, a year after a failed coup attempt.

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