Várhelyi: Montenegro’s finances none of EU’s business

European Commissioner in charge of neighborhood and enlargement policy, Hungarian, Oliver Varhelyi during a press conference to present EU enlargement package 2020 in Brussels, Belgium, 06 October 2020. [EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET]

“It’s not up to the EU to consider Montenegro’s financial situation. We’re monitoring the reforms of prosecutorial laws and have already talked about it with Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić,” announced European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Olivér Várhelyi during a working visit to Montenegro.

“We’re doing everything to help Montenegro deal with difficulties regarding the debt owed to [Chinese] Exim bank. It’s not up to us to consider Montenegro’s financial situation. The government asked for our support. It’s not up to us to repay someone else’s debts,” said Várhelyi. 

The budget deficit in the first quarter of this year amounted to €103.5 million or 2.2% of gross domestic product (GDP), which is €93.4 million less than planned, according to data from the finance and social welfare ministry. 

“Compared to the plan, the collection of revenues based on VAT and excise is higher by 1.4 million and 2.9 million, respectively,” the ministry specified. The highest growth compared to the plan and last year was recorded in income tax revenues in the amount of €12.2 million or 65.5%, or 6.6 million or 27.1%. 

Janko Odović, state secretary in the finance and social welfare ministry said Montenegro should this year get a credit guarantee fund in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Odović added that businessmen were mostly interested in the credit guarantee fund. 

“In the dialogue with the banks, they pointed out that the problem is not in the liquidity of banks, but in the need to form that fund, which would reduce the risk to banks and create conditions for easier and larger placement of those funds,” Odović said.

(Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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