“It is not enough to change the government after 30 years, but we need to change bad behavior and habits. We need young 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 in a lecture hosted 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 mediating between the Ottoman Empire and the Balkan states.
Abazović noted that the main task of Montenegro in the coming period is to build the rule of law and that corruption and organized crime are behind any nationalism.
This is not the case only in Montenegro, but in almost all Balkan countries. Whenever you see politicians who base their narrative only on ethnic and national divisions, know that behind it there is always corruption, misuse of state funds and criminal groups. That is why we need new people, new generations of modern political elites who will draw the region towards European values, Abazović stressed.
He stressed that “we need to erase the borders in our heads, but also the physical borders between states”, in order to improve the mobility and cooperation of people.
The EU did this a long time ago and it is time for the Western Balkan countries to follow that path. We need to strengthen cooperation and mobility in order to create preconditions for reconciliation and economic strengthening of our countries, Abazović noted.
He noted that society needs to shift its focus from nationalism and negative topics that poison our society to topics related to peace, infrastructure development, investment, new jobs, cooperation and good neighborly 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 Western Balkan countries.
“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 to 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, Northern Macedonia and Albania.
Former German Ambassador to Montenegro Gudrun Steinacker also attended the lecture.