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How to achieve a more balanced regional development, exchange of parliamentary practices between Montenegro and Serbia

Topic: How to achieve a more balanced regional development, exchange of parliamentary practices between Montenegro and Serbia

December 12th 2014, Podgorica, Montenegro

Meeting between the members of the Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget of the Parliament of Montenegro and the members of the Committee on the Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy of the National Assembly of Serbia took place on December 12th 2014 in the Parliament of Montenegro. The meeting was held with the support of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), as part of the activities of the Network of Parliamentary Committees on Economy, Finance and European Integration of the Western Balkans.

The 10 MPs present at the meeting was focused their discussion on balanced regional development, and in this regard, the two states exchanged experiences in relation to incentive measures aimed at achieving the policy of balanced regional development, as well as the concrete results of these measures. In particular, the need is highlighted to strengthen cross-border cooperation for supporting the development of underdeveloped regions, the northern region of Montenegro and the neighbouring region of southwestern Serbia. The substantial decentralization and particularly fiscal decentralization were identified as challenges for the effective implementation of the regional development policies, and, in this regard, experiences between Montenegro and Serbia were exchanged.

Committee members also discussed about the trade relations between Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia, i.e. the mutual exchange of goods and mutual payments of goods and services and the need for further strengthening the economic cooperation between the two states. In this regard, it was pointed out that it would be appropriate, in terms of ensuring conditions for the establishment of direct payment transactions between Montenegro and Serbia, that the Committees, in cooperation with the competent banks Central Bank of Montenegro and the National Bank of the Republic of Serbia and the governments of the two states, should initiate activities that would lead to solving current problems in mutual payments, because they affect the increase in prices of goods and services and the decline in competitiveness.

One of the topics of the meeting was the field of energy, supervision in the field of energy policy, and the policy of investment in the energy sector. It was noted that the energy sector represented a great opportunity for development of all countries in the region, especially Serbia and Montenegro - both in terms of valorization of existing and in terms of building new power plants. In this sense, the definition of common energy priorities or coordinated approach toward large investors in this field is the key to the development of this area.

At the meeting, members of the two Committees emphasized the importance of economic connections between the two states and the need for further cooperation through joint projects.

At the end of today's bilateral meeting, it was agreed that the Committees should prepare a proposal of conclusions and recommendations, which would be submitted, after harmonization and in accordance with competence of both Committees, to the governments of Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia.