EC collaborates with Montenegro to eliminate risks associated with past financial agreements
PODGORICA (Montenegro), April 19 (SeeNews) – The European Commission is working with Montenegro to ensure the sustainability of the country’s public debt and eliminate the risks associated with past arrangements, the neighborhood and enlargement, said Oliver Varhelyi.
“We are exploring options with the government of Montenegro and our partners to find viable solutions for the country’s investment projects, to ensure the sustainability of its public debt, eliminate the risks of past agreements, respecting the policy of the EU and financial rules, ”Varhelyi said in his Twitter profile on Friday. .
Last month, Montenegro’s Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic called on the EU to help his country repay a 1 billion euros ($ 1.2 billion) loan taken out from Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank) with the aim of reducing Chinese influence. “I ask you to help us replace credit with [a loan from] a European bank, ”said Abazovic.
EU spokesman Peter Stano said last week that the bloc would not repay Montenegro’s debts to third parties, but was concerned about the social, economic and financial effects of some of China’s investments.
Brussels’ position has drawn fire from EU rapporteur for Kosovo Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, who has said the decision to deny Montenegro support in debt repayment does not appear to be a smart one. strategic point of view, because the new government of the country must also clean the financial heritage of leaders such as Milo Djukanovic.
In 2014, Montenegro signed an agreement to take out a loan of $ 944 million from China’s Exim Bank at an annual interest rate of 2% and with a six-year grace period for the construction of a motorway connecting the port of Bar to the border. with Serbia. “Credit represents a third of our debt,” Abazovic told the EU Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament in March.
The government of Montenegro plans to repay the first tranche of the loan from its budget in 2021, former finance minister Darko Radunovic said in 2019.
($ = 0.83299 euro)