PERFORMANCE REPORT HIGHLIGHTS: MONTENEGRO
FY 2008 Foreign Assistance Goals
The United States and Montenegro have a common goal of overcoming the legacy of wars in the former Yugoslavia and achieving long-term stability in the region. Montenegro’s foremost foreign policy objective is eventual membership in NATO and the European Union. Montenegro is already in the Partnership for Peace, has a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union (EU), and is close to joining the World Trade Organization (WTO). It has also concluded bilateral agreements with the United States Government (USG), notably Status of Forces and Article 98 agreements. USG military and security assistance programs focus on modernizing Montenegro's defense and enabling the country to fulfill responsibilities to NATO and, in the civilian area, to the EU. In the area of governance, USG assistance aims to develop the capacity of the parliament and help strengthen Montenegro’s democratic institutions. An economic development program targeting northern Montenegro began at the end of the fiscal year, designed to narrow the development gap between north and south by spurring private business growth in promising sectors. Public diplomacy is working to build Montenegrins’ confidence in the U.S. and in the process of Euro-Atlantic integration.
Total FY 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $9.13m*
|FY 2008 Areas of Focus|
P&S: Peace and Security
GJD: Governing Justly and Democratically
IIP: Investing in People
EG: Economic Growth
XCPS: Cross-Cutting Program Support
(*Foreign Operations appropriated assistance, excluding centrally managed Foreign Operations funds that are not budgeted for specific countries.)
Highlights of FY 2008 Performance by Area of Focus
Peace and Security
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
Governing Justly and Democratically
- Encouraged a high level of cooperation from the Government of Montenegro (GOM) in dealing with border security issues and those involving WMD and anti-terrorist activity in particular. USG programs fostered awareness and built capacity in Montenegrin agencies in reacting properly to potentially dangerous WMD related situations.
- Supported the GOM’s expressed desire to deploy peacekeepers to international operations during 2009, helped to build the Army of Montenegro’s English Language Program, and sent Montenegrin officers and non-commissioned officers to military schooling in the U.S.
- Helped ensure that all Montenegrin police officials are prepared to face the challenges they encounter in carrying out the full spectrum of their duties. USG support resulted in creation of an Undercover Operations Unit within Police Directorate and will lead to the establishment of an Art/Antiquities Crime Task Force, as well as a Balkans Regional Center for Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage. As the looting and trafficking of art and antiquities is directly related to the organized crime plaguing Montenegro, the establishment of this task force, as well as the Undercover Operations Unit, places Montenegro in a better position to address transnational organized crime.
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Reformed law enforcement agencies by helping the Police Directorate train and establish an Undercover Operations Unit and recommended changes and amendments to the Criminal Procedural Code. Other law enforcement assistance promoted regional cooperation and improved maritime tactical operations.
- Helped Parliament improve its lawmaking and oversight capacities and provided technical assistance and training to promote more efficient legislative operations. Parliament now functions with a new administrative structure and operates with improved rules of procedure. The political opposition now has greater responsibility within Parliament in the form of committee chairmanships and co-chairmanships.
- Stimulated strong public interest in local anti-corruption NGOs and strengthened their capacities to engage in anti-corruption work. Five regional outposts for anti-corruption operations were established and staff trained. Local NGOs used the information provided to these offices to put together 56 corruption cases of which 39 have been reviewed by the relevant authorities (70 percent processing rate). Of the completed cases, 23 (or 59 percent) were resolved successfully.
- Familiarized Montenegrin youth with the U.S. and Western European way of life, countering the isolating effects of years of war, poverty, and propaganda, as well as of sanctions brought on by the Milosevic regime. Activities including democracy commission grants and a variety of short and long-term student, youth, and professional exchanges reinforced democratic values and support for Euro-Atlantic integration, while building professional skills and greater public understanding of U.S. foreign policy.
- Through public diplomacy programs, promoted public debate on key issues, both indirectly by providing media training on how to report on issues of corruption, and directly by sponsoring fora designed to spark a broad national debate on Montenegro’s potential membership in NATO.
- Contributed to the expansion of the Regional Witness Protection Cooperation Agreement to include Bulgaria and Macedonia (originally signed between Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro), thereby enhancing Montenegro's capacity to relocate abroad witnesses from the organized crime cases. The USG also supported Montenegro Chief Prosecutor's participation at the Regional Prosecutorial War Crimes Meeting, which resulted in an agreement of the participants to adopt a joint case inventory template that will enable easier exchange of information on war crimes cases and prevent overlap of prosecutions.
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Addressed the gap in development between the demographically and politically sensitive north and the more prosperous south, complementing investment by the EU in institutional capacity and infrastructure in support of Montenegro’s European integration. The U.S. assistance program begun in FY 2008 focuses on tourism and agriculture, aiming to link northern producers with the growing markets in the south and central parts of the country, and attracting more tourists to the unique natural environment of the north. The USG program has raised awareness within the GOM, which recently initiated its own program benefitting northern communities, and has led to other donors considering investing resources.
- Helped Montenegro successfully complete its last WTO Working Party (WP) meeting. Montenegro prepared and submitted numerous WTO accession documents. As a result, a number of WTO-related laws and regulations were prepared and adopted.
- Supported completion of the legal reform necessary for WTO accession by assisting government ministries in preparing documentation to respond to technical questions submitted by WTO members, as well as in preparing draft laws and implementing regulations.
Ten-Year Economic Program Ends with Many Successes – The USG’s ten-year macroeconomic reform program ended this year with Montenegro ranked above most of its neighbors on the World Economic Forum Competitiveness Index and ahead of new EU members Romania and Bulgaria. The banking sector has been stable and prospects for continued economic growth are good. USG economic assistance contributed to a foreign investment boom that is the highest per capita in the region. Large privatizations have been completed and the commercial court system is operating more efficiently, thanks in part to USG provided assistance.