Montenegro has reached a deadlock in appointing members of the judiciary, with cases being significantly delayed, while the government is on the verge of a vote of no confidence, according to Doklestic Repic & Gajin Attorney-at-Law Danilo Radulovic.
"Montenegro is in a very specific predicament at the moment with regards to the judiciary," Radulovic begins. "Key bodies responsible for appointing new judges are unable to operate since politicians cannot agree on who to nominate for the Judicial Council – the highest institution that selects judges. Despite some members of the old council still being in power, the council is not able to appoint the judges in different instances of the courts, including the Supreme Court."
"Consequently," Radulovic says, "a large number of cases are on hold, with only critical ones being processed. The latter include criminal charges as, unlike the Judicial Council, the Prosecution Council is already formed. Major civil litigations, on the other hand, are significantly delayed. EU officials have recently acknowledged this deadlock and have called for a response to unblock the judicial system."
Shifting gears, Radulovic says that "Montenegro recently completed its first highway project, which was inaugurated around one month ago." The new highway will connect Montenegro from the center to the north, including to Serbia and Romania. "The project was quite controversial initially, as the major source of funding was a Chinese bank and investors, compromising Montenegro’s relations with the EU. Eventually, the EU re-invested in the project to not be fully dependent on Chinese funds," he notes, adding that the new 43-kilometer highway passing through the mountains is very promising for the tourism sector.
"The recent noticeable trend in terms of business activities is that, following the war in Ukraine, a large number of companies are relocating to Montenegro," Radulovic points out. "The majority of these companies operate in the IT sector and employ freelance workers. So far, the trend is particularly noticeable among Russian IT companies, which cannot receive payments due to the sanctions regime."
Other than that, Radulovic notes there is a rather important legislative update on the horizon. "For the first time, Montenegro will adopt regulations requiring specific individuals to justify the source of their funds," he says. "Notably, this update has more focus on anti-bribery and less on anti-money laundering regulations."
"With regards to political life, the opposition recently made the suggestion to initiate a vote of no confidence against the current government," Radulovic says. "Interestingly, if the vote is successful, a new government would have to be elected without new elections, considering that new elections are not in the interest of any of the political parties. At the moment negotiations are ongoing but, despite that, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the upcoming period," he concludes.