28. Feb. 2009
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Montenegro established a integration policy of its diverse society which is not based on ethnicity but on equal rights and opportunities for every citizen
By Nedjeljko Rudovic, journalist with Vijesti
After all your meetings in Podgorica during previous two days, do you think next parliamentary elections will be fair?
Fairness is possible, but not just happening out of nothing. More people have to be ready to play fair and do something for it. I think especially in the TV the editors have to be committed to independence and a equal playing field and all the directors of state owned and state near companies have to be aware, that the citizens who work in these companies have to be respected in their total political autonomy and should be objects of any pressure in any way. In a small society which comes out of a politically totalitarian tradition this is not easy. That’s why all the responsible people carry the duty to do everything to make more fairness possible.
Can you describe the line which shows one elections are fair or not? What should happen and cause unfair elections? And who is in charge to judge that elections are fair or not?
There is neither a line nor a judge. You can only evaluate the degree of fairness after having listened to many concerned citizens and how they experienced the election. Elections are always processes of many weeks with many different moments and elements and fairness might be seen in many different ways. The biggest test is always, if those who loose the election can accept the result because they experienced a fair chance and a fair process. This is of course a big challenge, but it should be the aim of all of us.
Previous recommendations of Council of Europe PA were not respected in Montenegro, like one that attempt of buying ID cards should be put in criminal code. Do you have any mechanism to impose your recommendations to the authorities. How CE can be "democracy watch-dog" if your stances are in vain permanently?
We are really a watch dog and not a biting dog. We have no power to impose our views, but we can speak about them, we can try to convince others - but we do not command and we do not want this. But we can speak also to the representatives of the power, that they do neither serve their citizens nor themselves, when they cheat. Because their own legitimacy depends from the quality of the elections. And I am very glad, that the speaker of the Parliament understands this very well and he promised us to do after the next elections everything to implement our recommendations.
How do you see situation in Montenegro today? What is your first impression regarding Montenegro?
I always like to come to Montenegro - my this week’s visit was already the sixth in the last ten years - I feel at home here, especially at the coast - I was born also on the coast, in Japan, and I like always to see the sea. Montenegro has great opportunities and did many thing extremely well in the past. It has a anti-war identity and managed a peaceful separation which is a extraordinary achievement in Europe in general and in this region particularly. It has a beautiful countryside and nature provided it with a landscape everybody would like to be. Montenegro has very similar challenges as Switzerland today: We must show to the world, that we do not live from dirty money, that also our banks are respecting the laws, and that also small societies can guarantee the freedom and the respect to all those who share other political views. I am extremely happy that Montenegro established a integration policy of its diverse society which is not based on ethnicity but on equal rights and opportunities for every citizen!
What Western Balkans countries should change in their behavior to qualify themselves to become EU members?
We all have to show to Europe and the world that we want to live in a way which suits also the interest of all others. The sorrow of others have to be also our own concern, when your neighbors, the close ones like the more distanced ones like the way you are, then you are on the right track. All of us have to work against dirty money, smuggling poor people and expensive goods, every business has to respect the laws of every country, we should share our richness, so that nobody has nothing to lose and everybody has the opportunity to develop its potentials and skills. When we work and invest in this way and we clean up our natural environment and try to work in a sustainable way and take more care in the quality of our waters, woods, and coastlines- important in a country which lives also from tourism - than everybody will be happy to welcome all countries in the region in the EU. And we do have to improve the constitutional settings in the EU too, so it becomes more able to integrate all the countries who want to join it.