Montenegro Group Seeks Documents on Energy Cable

20 June 2011

A nongovernmental organization in Montenegro is asking the government to comply with an Administrative Court ruling and release an agreement dealing with a planned undersea energy cable linking Montenegro to Italy.

The Network for Affirmation of NGC Sector (MANS) is seeking an agreement that was signed in November 2010 by representatives of Montenegro’s Prenos (CGEPS), Italy’s Terna and then-serving Minister of the Economy Branko Vujovic.

The group wants to see the details “so that Montenegro’s taxpayers can know if domestic resources are being spent to benefit the citizenry, say through access to cheaper electricity, or if we’re simply becoming a resource base for Italian companies that plan to extract and export our energy resources for the benefit of Italian consumers.”

In early 2011, MANS submitted a complaint against the Ministry of Economy for refusing release the text of the agreement. On May 10, 2011, the Administrative Court ordered the ministry to comply with the request within eight days. The ruling was submitted to MANS on May 25.

“We repeat that government functionaries are required to respect the laws of the state they serve and for this reason we expect that the new Minister of Economy, Vladimir Kavaric, will act in accordance with the court’s ruling and immediately post the agreement on the undersea cable to the Ministry’s website,” according to a MANS press release.

“Likewise, it is important to recall the recent Resolution of the European Parliament concerning Montenegro, where the government is called upon to make transparent the process relating to energy projects undertaken between Montenegro and Italy (of which the undersea cable forms a crucial component),” the group continued. The release explained further:

Considering that the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism plans on organizing public hearings in June on the draft Detailed Spatial Plan (DPP) for the Undersea Cable and Aqueduct – the later running from the Montenegrin coast to Plevlja in the north – it would be useful for the public to have information about what the actual agreement with the Italian partner contains.

Citizens must know what the conditions are for the development of the project, what its benefits will be to the state, as well as the obligations that the state promises to undertake, since it is already being stated that its investment in the building of the aqueduct to Plevlja will be close to 100-million euros.

From the draft DPP for the Undersea Cable and Aqueduct it is clear that the project will have a considerable environmental impact, given that it includes the building of a giant conversion plant in Lastva Grbaljska, covering a surface area of 160,000 m2, while the aqueduct to Plevlja will cross eight municipalities, including two national parks.

Given that in subsequent phases the construction of at least an additional aqueduct is planned, either towards Serbia or Bosnia, the citizens should know if they will be financing the project through their own pockets and why exactly they would do so. That is: what exactly is the benefit to the country’s citizens from this project, if any, and will it only bring profits to the future investor?

It is for this reason that MANS calls on the Ministry of Economy to actually release the agreement so that Montenegro’s taxpayers can know if domestic resources are being spent to benefit the citizenry, say through access to cheaper electricity, or if we’re simply becoming a resource base for Italian companies that plan to extract and export our energy resources for the benefit of Italian consumers.

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under: What's New