Preliminary negotiations for the construction of the second section of the Mateševo-Andrijevica highway are underway, announced the State Secretary in the Ministry of Capital Investments, Admir Šahmanović.
“We secured a grant of six million EUR for a sustainability study for the entire highway and the preparation of project and tender documentation for continuation. The study should show which section will be built next,” Šahmanović said at the Belt and Road conference – cooperation between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, modernization in the Chinese style and a new opportunity for the world.
Šahmanović stated that for now they are negotiating a 22-kilometer highway that will cost around EUR 500 million.
“We entered into negotiations with the European Commission (EC) and as a result we have an approved grant of 40 percent, 200 million free funds.” The rest would be debt with an interest rate of one percent,” Šahmanović said.
He added that he agrees that we should work on renewable energy sources, Media Bureau reports.
“We must have an alternative for the Thermal Power Plant (TE) in Pljevlja, which will be put out of operation. I think that, apart from solar panels, renewable energy sources are a good way to a solution”, said Šahmanović.
The Vice-Dean for International Cooperation, Tamara Backović, said that the Faculty of Economics is dedicated to building future leaders. She added that student exchange can be a good investment in future cooperation between the two countries.
The President of the Chamber of Commerce (PKCG), Nina Drakić, said that last year the cooperation between China and Montenegro was much greater than in previous years.
“We have prejudices that the Chinese market is far away and that this would make our products less competitive due to additional costs. But I believe there is potential in export. Internal arrangements and organization would certainly improve the export of our products to China. And that is only one of the segments of cooperation”, said Drakić.
She believes that the flywheel in cooperation with China is the construction of the highway Bar – Boljare, and that investing in the railway and the port is a good perspective for our economy. According to her, tourism should not be neglected because the Chinese find Montenegro interesting throughout the year.
Drakić said that environmental protection is an important area that Montenegro deals with and that China is an ideal partner in its preservation with its projects. The president of the Montenegrin Tourist Association (CTU), Žarko Radulović, said that cooperation with China in the field of tourism exists, but that it is bad.
“I am not satisfied with the cooperation with the governments in this area. Their misunderstanding is zero tourists from this market, which has great potential. The problem is visas, because Chinese tourists cannot get them online. If they worked on a visa solution, they would have a billion Chinese tourists. We can do everything that China has done, but that’s why we have to work like the Chinese”, said Radulović.
Former national coordinator of the 16+1 initiative for Montenegro and former diplomat who was engaged in China, Vatroslav Belan, said that the visa regime is no different than in Croatia.
“Chinese tourists can enter Montenegro by applying for a Schengen visa. The biggest benefit that Montenegro has had from the 16+1 initiative is precisely the credit arrangement for the highway, bearing in mind that it is the result of this initiative,” said Belan.
The conference was organized by the Faculty of Economics, China Media Group and the Media Bureau.