Montenegro won’t and mustn’t allow discrimination to be the subject of systemic silence, ideological and political abuse and remain without an adequate response, says Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović on the occasion of the Day of Zero Tolerance.
He points out that the Day of Zero Tolerance for Discrimination reminds us of unity in protection against discrimination and promotion of the right of every individual to live with dignity, regardless of any personal characteristics or beliefs.
Renunciation of anti-fascism recommended by those who want Montenegro to finally renounce its identity
Montenegro has made the most progress in the process of Europeanization, and if it remained off the rails now, it would be a catastrophe, says the President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović, answering questions from journalists from the region at the 5th Podgorica Journalists’ Forum.
He believes that the policy of a civil state, multi-ethnic democracy and the European value system has begun to take root in Montenegro.
According to him, overcoming divisions in the country is a challenge, but the way to overcome them should be sought without renouncing anti-fascism because that would mean renouncing oneself.
“The renunciation of anti-fascism is in fact the renunciation of the state of itself. This is recommended to us by those who want Montenegro to finally give up its identity. If we talk about the Montenegrin identity, its most valuable link is anti-fascism”, says Mr Đukanović.
He is convinced that Montenegro is determined to preserve a civil Montenegro.
“Now that all of Europe is on the path to unification, there are no big dilemmas, I would say not for intelligent politicians, but for intelligent people. I’m not an apologist of Europe, I see European weaknesses, but I absolutely know that there is a much worse solution than all the weaknesses we see in Europe today, and that is to stay out of the European track, it would be a catastrophe for all of us”, Mr Đukanović points out.
Serbia persistently working to its detriment, sowing hatred towards everything Montenegrin
President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović states that Serbia is working incredibly persistently to its detriment. He adds that the spirit of hatred from the bottle towards Montenegro and everything Montenegrin has now been released, which is why relations between the two countries are at the lowest possible level today.
“There is no need to prove that, I have been present in political life for 30 years, I followed the 1990s, the Z-4 plan offered for Croatia, the plans offered for Bosnia, the Rambouillet offered for Kosovo. All that was arrogantly, rudely and hastily rejected, and all that ended in serious losses for Serbia and for those who were the creators of such a policy in Serbia. So, I have no doubt that this policy towards Montenegro today is a policy of releasing the spirit from the bottle, the spirit of hatred towards Montenegro”, says President Đukanović at the Podgorica Journalists’ Forum.
According to him, what was done from official Belgrade in the 1990s to Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, is being done today to Montenegro.
He adds that this can now be seen “through the relentless campaign that is being conducted from Serbia in relation to the local elections in the second largest city in Montenegro, Nikšić”.
Speaking about the upcoming census in Montenegro, Mr Đukanović says that the opinion of the previous government was that the questionnaire should be freed from traditional issues, which the EU got rid of in most countries, because the census is important primarily for the economic development of each country.
According to him, the national census is important for those policies that are not European, but are nationalistic and chauvinistic.
He says that Montenegro has the strength to defend its civic and secular character, due to the culture and tradition of civic and anti-fascist values that it cherishes.
He stresses that it is realistic to expect a quick return of the USA to the Euro-Atlantic community and also to the Western Balkans, because the representatives of the new American administration are excellent experts on the situation in the Western Balkans.
Montenegrin identity under attack
President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović said at the Podgorica Journalistic Forum that the Montenegrin identity was under attack.
“As much as all opponents of the civil state of Montenegro, and thus the pro-European state of Montenegro, have a problem with all elements of the civil state in Montenegro, they primarily have a problem with Montenegrin identity, because they would easily go over what the future of Bosniaks Muslims, Albanians and Croats in Montenegro will be”, said President Đukanović. “But the problem here is what we will do with Montenegrins. So, we have to prove that there are no Montenegrins – that Montenegrins are a fictional people, that they are communist-Đilas bastards, that Montenegro is a state that originated from Broz’s Jajce, in addition to all the other nonsense we had the opportunity to hear, even from the highest dignitaries of the Serbian Orthodox Church and some quasi-historians and politicians from the current political and intellectual scene in Serbia”, Mr Đukanović explained.
“Montenegrin identity is primarily under attack. Secondly, we register that we are already witnessing a serious violation of the Charter of Human Rights in Montenegro itself. So, there’s a serious group, and potentially it is the most numerous group in Montenegro, I say potentially, it is not potential that Montenegrins represent about 45% of the total population structure, but I can’t tell you how many believers are among them, but as many as there are, and I suppose there’s a greater number of them, they are denied their religious rights. They can’t satisfy their religious rights like Montenegrins. They must agree to satisfy their religious rights in the Serbian Orthodox Church, which treats them as Serbs”, Mr Đukanović said.
He noted that the Serbian Orthodox Church really acted as an instrument of Serbia’s expansionist policy towards the region.
“So, we have that problem today, it’s a fundamental problem that someone is going to have to deal with seriously. Of course, Montenegrin politics is seriously dealing with this, but the wider political public will have to deal with it, as well”, he explained.
“I think that for various reasons we still don’t have sufficient identification with the most important national interests of our country”, he stressed.
“So, that identification could be said to be manifested to the maximum at a time when we were emotionally driven by the idea of rebuilding our state. After that, it was as if we misunderstood that the job was done and then we started various factional conflicts on that Montenegrin and pro-European political scene, which I would say was used by the opponents of civil and European Montenegro at that moment”, President Đukanović pointed out.
“But we have no choice but to defend what is our most essential national interest. So, I don’t need to prove to anyone that a man without a roof over his head is a man without an identity, without a future. It is the same with the people. So, Montenegro has made a great feat, modern Montenegro, after a century of pause, has democratically renovated its state house, and as I said, it has directed itself towards the right, European system of values. We have been attacked, and these are now to say some more or less known phases of the political and security environment and life in our area. So, if someone outside Montenegro is fighting for Nikšić, and they want to conquer Nikšić, Nikšić is not so important to them, it’s that they want to show through Nikšić that they are conquering Montenegro. Will we let anyone do that? No, we won’t”, President is clear.
“In the elections on 30 August, our opponents had a few more votes, and we congratulated. Go ahead now, take responsibility and lead Montenegro, but if you have interpreted your success in the elections as the right to destroy or sell and betray Montenegro, then that is no longer a political issue. Then we will defend it the way Montenegro has always defended itself during its thousand-year history. That must be clear to anyone who misinterpreted the results of the 30 August elections”, Mr Đukanović stresses.
“A census of great national interest for the state of Serbia is soon to be held here, a census to campaign so as to explain to people that they are not what they are, but that they are actually Serbs”, Mr Đukanović stressed.
“Our struggle for the European future of Montenegro continues. We strongly believe in our value, we absolutely believe that good will always defeat evil, we think that we stand for the good of the citizens of Montenegro, for the good of this country, the region, for the good of Europe to which we belong”, he stressed.
He said that numerous researches showed that the rating of the DPS policy in Nikšić was growing.
He also spoke about the expectations from the new American policy towards the Western Balkans. “Let’s not be pretentious, let’s not even think that now our space will return to the very top of the US foreign policy agenda, as it was at the time in the 1990s. But what is very important for us, is that we now have a completely clear announcement that we are going to rehabilitate the Euro-Atlantic cooperation. That in itself, I would say, will strengthen that policy of consolidating Europe”, President Đukanović said.
“Wherever the role of the European Union was absent, room would open up for the malignant influences of some policies opposed to the European Union. Russia has been present throughout history in this area, there has always been a lot of pro-Russian mood here, which means that there is still a lot of room for malignant political influences and manipulations from the outside”, he pointed out.
Mr Đukanović said that when we talk about the Serbian World, we talk about only one new phrase for something that represents the traditional expansionist policy of Greater Serbian nationalism towards Montenegro.
He noted that for the first time in 30 years of multi-party system, the previous government, and the current opposition, congratulated the victory on the night of the elections, although it was not a convincing victory.
“Montenegro didn’t have enough strength to protect itself from the hybrid war that came from various platforms, both regional and out of it, and from some non-political platforms from Montenegro itself. The role of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which was a very agile actor in the electoral process in Montenegro, should be recalled”, Mr Đukanović pointed out.
However, he warned that everything that had happened in the three months since the new Government took power called into question the seriousness of its intention to take responsibility for running Montenegro.
“The Democratic Front has 27 out of the 41 majority MPs, and 2/3 are under the strict control of official Serbia and its president”, Mr Đukanović said. The other line of influence was the Serbian Orthodox Church, and that policy was personified by Metropolitan Amfilohije”, President stressed.
“So, the basic idea is to destroy the civic character of Montenegro, to question its path of pro-European development, and I would say that the dominant danger in the elections was to destroy the secular character of Montenegro. Therefore, the ideas of Greater Serbian nationalism personified by Metropolitan Amfilohije were those. As we know, he wasn’t thrilled with President Vučić or the authorities in Belgrade. He wasn’t very enthusiastic about the top ranks of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Serbian Patriarchate, but he had a serious idea, a serious misconception that Montenegro could be returned to the Middle Ages, at a time when Montenegro was governed by the church. I would say that these two dangers were flying over Montenegro at the same time”, President Đukanović pointed out.
“These dangers still exist, especially the first one, but my deep conviction is that Montenegro is able to defend itself from it”, Mr Đukanović stated categorically.