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Response to the allegations made by the German Ambassador on the show Nacisto on TV Vijesti

Published date: 09.06.2016 16:00 | Author: Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism

Ispis Print

Despite our conviction that the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Montenegro, H. E. Gudrun Elisabeth Steinacker, has the best intentions towards Montenegro, we want to point out that the comments she made on the show Nacisto on TV Vijesti, on the topic of protection of the Saline area and Montenegro’s participation in the Venice Architecture Biennale, were obviously based on wrong premises and information.

It is absolutely incorrect that it is necessary to allocate €60-70,000 for protection of the Saline, as stated by the Ambassador Steinacker. If that were the case, it would be easy to solve this issue. Protection and preservation of the Saline is a serious project, which requires much more substantial initial costs and which imposes the need to ensure sustained attention and investments into protection of the natural values of this area. In addition to that, one should know that the present-day extraordinary values of the Saline have arisen from economic activities of people, i.e. from production of salt, and that the mere revival of that industry can guarantee longevity of the Saline and preservation of its biodiversity.

Through simplified explanations of problems, one of which is the mentioned TV appearance of the Ambassador Steinacker, the Montenegrin and the international public are, consciously or unconsciously, being misled, which can certainly not represent a constructive contribution to solving the issue of the Saline. However, we are not going to delve into the motives of such a trivialised attitude towards a rather complex issue. We are only going to remind you that, on several occasions, the Ministry provided the diplomatic representatives of EU member states, including the Ambassador Steinacker, with very detailed information on the activities undertaken and planned in terms of the Saline’s rehabilitation and ensuring its permanent sustainability. The Ministry’s engagement on this matter also encompasses operative investments, and a (temporary) modality change in managing the Saline area, as well as taking action on establishing national and international protection of the area in question. Apart from this, we have also asked the EU Delegation in Podgorica for support and assistance regarding the finalisation of the Protection Study, and we asked the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development for financial support, for the purpose of solving the Saline issue, on which we did not get any feedback.

The seriousness of approach to the problem is also demonstrated by the fact that the Saline was in the focus of Montenegro’s appearance at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, which, inter alia, contributes to the increase of interest and support of the international expert public regarding this issue. Four visionary projects for the future of this area have been presented. The starting point of each of them is the general civilisation need to preserve the environment and to permanently protect its specific values. As for the effects, let us only mention the fact that one of the world’s most renowned architecture magazines, Dezeen, has ranked this year’s Montenegro Pavilion among the ten best at the Venice Architecture Exhibition. Hence, talking about the irresponsibility of the Government and the Ministry, which, instead of ”solving“ the Saline issue through a simple one-off €60,000 investment, are “spending those funds on the promotion in Venice“, is, in the least, inappropriate.

With astonishing superficiality in relation to the facts, the Ambassador puts the charter flight to Venice into the same negative context, even though the Ministry highlighted at the press conference held on 16 May that this flight was exclusively funded through sponsorship donations. That flight was intended for the participants of the competition (60 participants from 17 teams), representatives of institutions relevant for the Saline issues, representatives of all the interested media outlets in Montenegro, as well as for the representatives of flight sponsors. The use of this sponsored transportation was also offered to the representatives of NGOs working on this matter.

A curiosity from the Architecture Biennale which will, possibly, be interesting for Ambassador Steinacker should also be mentioned. Namely, German participation in this significant show is dedicated to solving migrant issues. Such form of Germany’s performance, by all means, required substantial funds. In this way as well, Germany demonstrated the importance it attaches to this crucial problem of the international community. In that context, no one posed the question whether it might have been smarter if the funds invested by Germany into this form of explaining the migrant problem had been invested into resolving that issue directly. 

We deem such question inappropriate. If for no other reason then because of the understanding that that question is a matter of internal assessment of the competent bodies of our friendly country Germany. We believe that the Ambassador Steinacker also agrees with this statement.