A representative of the NGO Mladiinfo Montenegro participated in the conference “Negotiations in competition policy and state aid: Lessons learned and future challenges”, organized by the Montenegrin Pan-European Union (CPEU), with the support of the Balkan Democracy Fund, the German Marshall Fund of the USA and the Embassy of Kingdom of Norway.
The conference included three panels and was attended by representatives of institutions and experts in the field of competition from the countries of the region – Montenegro, Serbia and North Macedonia, who sent their presentations through the Zoom application.
The conference was started by the Minister of Economy, Dragica Sekulic, who said that Chapter 8 was opened on June 30 this year and that it was the most complex chapter in the EU accession process. The Minister stated that the laws and regulations arising from Chapter 8 give clear instructions on how to treat all companies equally in order to protect competition and to implement the permitted state aid in a manner that is acceptable.
“Adapting our legislation and our institutions in the field of competition means that we must forget about interventionism, we must forget about everything that is considered a privileged company in one system, whatever their ownership”, said Minister Dragica Sekulic.
The President of the Montenegrin Pan-European Union (CPEU), Gordana Djurovic, said that the topic of competition policy and state aid is a horizontal topic and it affects all sectors and directly affects everyday life. She stated that two key concepts clash in competition.
“One is that we recognize that there are companies of special national interest in our economies and that on the other hand we must accept the rules of fair competition which imply that our companies, from the small Montenegrin and slightly larger regional market, should at this early stage adjust to member states that are more developed than us and have stronger support from the European structural funds”, Djurovic explained.
At the last, third panel, the dean of the Faculty of Economics in Podgorica, prof. Dr. Nikola Milovic, who said that the competition policy, in relation to what Montenegro created when it started the accession process, had to go through certain phases.
“Those phases are very visible and in those phases we can see the remarkable progress that has been made in that area. It is no coincidence that the EU eventually opened a Chapter concerning competition policy, and it is no coincidence that Chapter 8 is so important for the EU itself”, Milovic believes.
The dean stated that there are no negotiations on competition policy, stating that there are clearly defined rules that must be respected.