„It is not enough to change the government after 30 years, but we have to change behaviour and bad habits. We need new people in politics, who are not contaminated by the politics of division and nationalism. Without that step forward, we will never change Montenegro,“ said Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazović at a lecture organised by the prestigious Vienna School of International Studies on Wednesday.
The Vienna School of International Studies is one of the oldest European diplomatic institutions, founded in 1754 for the purpose of mediation between the Ottoman Empire and the Balkan states.
Abazović pointed out that Montenegro’s key task in the coming period is to build the rule of law, and that corruption and organised crime are behind every nationalism.
This is not only the case in Montenegro but in almost all Balkan countries. Whenever you see politicians basing their narrative solely on ethnic and national divisions, know that there is always corruption, misuse of state funds and criminal groups behind it. That is why we need new people, new generations of modern political elites who will pull the region towards European values, Abazović highlighted.
He emphasised that „we must erase the borders in our heads, but also the physical borders between the states“, in order to improve the mobility and cooperation of people.
The EU did that a long time ago, and it is time for the countries of the Western Balkans to follow that path. We must strengthen cooperation and mobility in order to create preconditions for reconciliation and economic strengthening of our countries, Abazović pointed out.
He pointed out that society must change its focus from nationalism and negative topics that poison our society to topics related to peace, infrastructural development, investments, new jobs, good neighbourly cooperation and understanding.
Abazović stressed that he is a great optimist when it comes to Montenegro’s European path, as well as the overall progress of the countries of the Western Balkans.
„But we need to feel more support from the European Commission, EU members and other Western partners. In my opinion, the countries of the Western Balkans have only one good choice – and that is to become members of the EU and strengthen European values,“ Abazović concluded.
The moderator was Emil Brix, Director of the Vienna School of International Studies. After the introductory speech, the audience also had the opportunity to ask questions to Deputy Prime Minister Abazović.
The lecture of DPM Abazović was attended by ambassadors of a dozen countries in Austria, students, academics, numerous members of the diplomatic corps in Vienna, including representatives of Great Britain, Kuwait, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Benin, North Macedonia and Albania.
Former Ambassador of Germany to Montenegro Gudrun Steinacker also attended the lecture.