“The political situation in Montenegro reflects all the complexities that most Western democracies face at the moment,“ says Vladimir Radonjic, Managing Partner of Radonjic & Associates in Podgorica. “It feels like, in the past few months, since we began battling the crisis, politics has really taken a back seat.“ He says that this may change, though, as the pandemic weakens and a new normal emerges on the horizon.
More specifically, Radonjic says that Montenegro’s recent Freedom of Religion Act of 2019 has “particularly shaken up the political landscape of Montenegro and pushed other important issues, such as reforming election laws and improving the economy, to the background.“ He says that all of this disincentivizes foreign investment, “which should cause concern, given that FDI is one of the pillars of our economy.“
“Montenegro has spent the better part of recent years harmonizing with the EU legislative framework," Radonjic reports, noting that "with respect to this, a whole plethora of new legislation occurred – a new PPP Act, a new Companies Act is in the process of adoption, and the like.“ Radonjic says that these new laws should serve to imbue foreign investors with “a sense of security and predictability.“
While these are positive steps forward, he says, the “entire Montenegrin business atmosphere must be free from political tensions and conflicts as well.“
As Montenegro generates about 25% of its GDP from tourism, the effects on that industry are of real significance to the country’s economic health. “I think it safe to assume that the economy will take a big hit in 2020, but it is still difficult to predict as to how big, at this point,“ Radonjic says. “Big hotels on the seaside have been forced to delay their decisions about whether or not to open the season to the back half of June. So, even if the season does open, it will be rather short, in comparison to previous ones.“
Overall, though, Radonjic reports that the government has announced “three sets of measures to combat the economic downturn, two of which are currently being implemented, with the third on its way.“ He says that he feels these measures should “prove to be an adequate reflection of the current status of the Montenegrin economy.“
Finally, Radonjic reports that lawyers “have adjusted to the crisis in a relatively quick fashion," and "firms are keeping up their workloads and have made the transition to remote work quite successfully.“ He says that this more flexible method of doing legal work, will “definitely mark the decade ahead.“