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Nine decades of the Chamber


Ceremony on the occasion of a great jubilee of the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro - 90 years of existence, took place at the Montenegrin National Theatre on 20th April 2018.

The President of the Montenegrin Chamber Vlastimir Golubović presented the jubilee awards to the individuals, who provided a valuable contribution to the successful operation of this business association, on the ceremony attended by distinguished guests – high-level state officials, heads of the EUROCHAMBRES, the regional chambers of commerce, representatives of numerous companies, local governments, the diplomatic corps, academia.

Laureates are the President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović, President of EUROCHAMBRES and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber Christoph Leitl, former president of the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro Velimir Mijušković and posthumously Mićo Stijović, founder and first president of the Chamber of Trade-industry and Crafts of Montenegro, whose award was presented to his grandson, doc Vojo Mandić.

It was explained that the President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović followed closely the activities carried out by the Montenegrin Chamber and expressed appreciation for the manner this association created and conducted these activities and for the successes achieved. During his meetings with state officials he promoted the activities of the Chamber and emphasized its role as a holder of economic cooperation activities. Whenever there was an opportunity, representatives of the Chamber were part of the official state delegation led by President Vujanović.  

Christoph Leitl, President of the Association of the European Chambers of Commerce EUROCHAMBRES, the Global Chamber Platform and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, the most organized and most modern one in Europe, always unselfishly supported and helped the Montenegrin Chamber in its efforts to improve the work, the legal framework, and connect business communities of two countries. He is a great advocate of a united Europe, a respectable and successful businessman, who understands the needs of chambers and companies, so his re-election was unanimously supported by the representatives of the EUROCHAMBRES.

Velimir Mijušković successfully chaired the Montenegrin Chamber from 2008 to the end of 2017. He expanded the range of services, which the Chamber provides to the business community and modernized its operations. The regional chambers recognize the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro as the most organized in this region, for which, without doubt, the credits go to Mijušković. His great merits in strengthening the position of the Chamber in the regional associations and in Europe, as well as partnerships with the President, the Government and the Parliament of Montenegro were highlighted.

Mićo Stijović, an industrialist from Podgorica, was one of the founders of the Chamber of Trade-industry and Crafts of Montenegro and its first president. He donated the land, where the Chamber building was constructed, based on the project of the civil engineer Veliša Popović, the building on the corner of Novaka Miloševa and Marka Miljanova streets, where the CEM headquarters are located today. During his two-year term of office, the Chamber was very active and presented numerous applications to the authorities, asking for facilitation of the then very complex economic conditions. He was known as a businessman and a man, who insisted on professionalism and business ethics.

The address by the Chamber President

President of the Chamber Vlastimir Golubović has said that the establishment of the Chamber of Trade-industry and Crafts of Montenegro on 21st April 1928 showed maturity and commitment of the then business community to promote the national economy and achieve the set goals in an organized manner.  

- From the creative endeavors to the modern entrepreneurial spirit the Chamber represents the story of our origins and a reminder to the people, who have developed the Montenegrin economy. This event represents an opportunity to remember and show our deepest respect to the eminent group of businessmen who managed this institution. I am pleased that some of them are with us this evening - said Golubović.

He has added that by establishing its Chambers, the then small and undeveloped business community showed a willingness nine decades ago to adopt modern concepts and follow the progressive trends in an effort to not accept the status and find worthy place in the family of European states.

The Montenegrin Chamber shared the temptation of times when it operated and carried the burden of political and structural changes through creating organizational model sufficiently flexible to move from state interventionism to the open market economy.

- After the restoration of state independence, the Chamber as the sole legitimate representative of the overall economy, together with the Government, continuously participates in the creation of the development agenda tailored to national interests and objectives. The certainty for the business community has been further strengthened with joining NATO and the certain prospect of joining the European Union - said Golubović.

He stresses that the name of the Montenegrin Chamber has been mentioned with respect in the country and abroad, because it means and is associated with the persistence and stability of the organization, which has been confirmed as an indispensable support to the business community. The Chamber is a member of numerous international chamber organizations, which play an important role in creating the business environment and linking national economies. It is the most trusted institution of the business community in Montenegro.

- Representation of the economy, its promotion in target markets, the introduction of European standards in business and establishment of dual education are just some of the activities through which we want to achieve our main goal - to be efficient and modern service of business community and the economy as a whole. Together with economic policy makers, the Chamber has always contributed to finding a sustainable model of economic growth - said Golubović.

President of the Chamber emphasizes that this association, in cooperation with the Government, should play a leading role in the process of industrialization and directing the economy towards sectors with the greatest prospects.

- The latest Government policy documents clearly define the priority sectors and incentives represent encouragement and provide a clear message that entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship gain their rightful place in official policies. The achieved level of macroeconomic stability allows us to focus on investors, who raise the technological level of our economy and provide an opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises to integrate into their business activities - said Golubović.

He is satisfied that the ceremony was attended by Ph.D. Christoph Leitl, who always generously supported and helped the Montenegrin Chamber improve its work and cooperation with chambers of other countries, as well as by the presidents of the regional chambers, who in this way confirm importance of cooperation and respect among chambers.

He recalled that the chambers had the courage to launch initiatives on regional cooperation, despite the unfortunate events that occurred in the recent past. They concluded agreements on cooperation, worked on removing trade barriers and harmonizing regulations, created CEFTA as a lobby of the European market, being aware that individually they may not be sufficiently competitive to other markets.

- Today we work in the same way when it comes to European integration and better positioning of the region at the European Union, thanks to which united in the Western Balkans Chamber Investment Forum we have become a part of the Berlin process. I am convinced that there are many important joint projects ahead of us - said the President of the Chamber.

According to him, jubilee is an opportunity to express respect to those who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of this institution - Montenegrin President Filip Vujanović, President of the EUROCHAMBRES and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber Christoph Leitl, former President of the Montenegrin Chamber Velimir Mijušković and, posthumously, one of the founders and first president of the Chamber Mićo Stijović.

- The Chamber will be a sincere partner to those committed to the development of Montenegro. We will carry out the activities in the interest of the economy, so the success of the Chamber will be considered only in relation to the ability to respond to the demands of our members. I believe that each subsequent jubilee will be celebrated with better results. Once again allow me to express my gratitude for your presence on the occasion of marking the 90th anniversary of the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro - said the President of the Chamber Vlastimir Golubović.

Prime Minister’s address

Montenegrin Prime Minister Duško Marković says that the Chamber jubilee testifies to the dynamic history of economic and social development of our country.

He adds that our country has gone through the extremely difficult path from the least developed country of the former Yugoslavia to the leading economy in the Western Balkans. This demanding path was marked by wise and bold decisions, by which Montenegro showed that it should be positioned in the modern world, and it shares the values of the Western civilization, and there is no doubt that in the next few years this will be confirmed with membership in the great European family.

The fact that Montenegro became the 29th NATO member last year proves the success of such a commitment, says the Prime Minister.

- Therefore, I take the opportunity to express gratitude towards the Chamber for the contribution made in promotion of our membership, especially in the affirmation of NATO code, possessed by a large number of the Montenegrin companies. This is a clear confirmation of the economic aspects and benefits of membership in the Alliance for the economy and the business community - said the Prime Minister.

Marković has stressed that Montenegro is currently one of the fastest growing European economies, which is stated in the European Commission report and also noticed by our international partners, who are especially appreciating the Government's economic policy as well as our neighborhood policy and progress in the rule of law.

- I want to emphasize that on this occasion we received recognition for responsible and consistent foreign policy, by which stability and security have been guaranteed to our citizens, business community and investors - said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister has said that our country promotes the Berlin process, particularly the importance of transport and energy connectivity of Montenegro with its neighbors and that he counts on the continuation of the significant financial and technical support to the capital infrastructure.

- It stems from the common interest of the EU and the Western Balkans. The status of the Adriatic-Ionian fast road will represent an activity, which will show the justification of our expectations. The beginning of its implementation would complete the picture of the new Montenegrin road network with the highway Bar-Boljare and Montenegro would be found in another strategically important road route - said Marković.

He repeated the successful economic results of our country during the last year - economic growth of 4.4%, employment growth, continued growth of the country’s credit rating and the successful issue of Eurobonds.

– The Chamber has always been a reliable partner to the Government in creating more developed and richer Montenegro, the country of a better life for all its citizens. I believe that in the next decade, when we celebrate the century of the Chamber, we will witness even better business environment, the highest level of employment and the European quality of life of every individual and every family in Montenegro. Allow me to send a message to our guests - the doors of Montenegro are always open to them and their investment and business initiatives - concluded the Prime Minister Duško Marković.

EU challenges 

President of EUROCHAMBRES and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber Ph.D. Christoph Leitl congratulated the jubilee of the Chamber, saying that the nine decades of operation represents a significant achievement. He has also noted the important contribution of this association to the economic development of our country in this period. He conveyed the congratulations of the institution he represents, especially of the Vice President of the EUROCHAMBRES Wolfgang Grenke. He also expressed congratulations on behalf of the European Commissioner Johannes Hahn, but also passed on a message to the regional chambers of commerce - to increase trade between their countries, because it is an essential factor in the common path towards the European Union.

According to him, the Region should understand the announced date of joining the European family in 2025 as a challenge. He also thinks that the EU is facing challenges and one of them is the tendency of China to become most powerful economic nation in all aspects by 2049.

- Congratulations to the Chamber, because all results would not be achieved in Montenegro so far without its significant contribution. It is very important that a strong chamber supports the goals of the state by educating people, creating jobs, fostering foreign trade and cooperating with partners from Europe and beyond. As business people who see opportunities everywhere we want to ensure prospects for young people and tell them that there are plenty of opportunities in the world which should be taken - said Leitl.

He looks forward to integrating the region into the European Union, because hands need to be joined in Europe in order to develop a vision, mission, goals, prospects and optimism and this should be the message of today's celebration.

Laureates’ address  

Montenegrin President Filip Vujanović expressed his gratitude for the Chamber award, which he characterizes as a special value which is to be remembered.

- The Chamber has an important place and value, exceptionally appreciated by the state. The recent adoption of the Chamber’s Law has provided this association with a special place and the opportunity to give its opinion on important legislation in the field of economy - said Vujanović.

He emphasized the good cooperation between the Montenegrin President and the Chamber.

- I've always considered the Chamber an important strength of our economy, which significantly promotes the economic resources and important contact with the international economic association. I want to express my special appreciation for the participation of the Chamber in president’s international activities, which contributed to the high-quality presentation of our economy at business forums - said President Vujanović, emphasizing the Chamber's strong contribution to the Montenegrin independence and the realization of Euro-Atlantic integration goals.

Former President of this Association Velimir Mijušković expressed gratitude for the recognition, which he evaluates as a confirmation of his successful economic and business engagement in the Chamber.

- I am very satisfied with a contribution provided to the development of the Chamber, an institution which has been successfully operating for 90 years - said Mijušković.

He reminded of the successful cooperation with the presidents Vujanović and Leitl, which resulted in improving the relations of the economy with decision-makers and the international business community.

- Allow me to extend my congratulations for great jubilee of the Chamber to President Golubović and representatives of the business community - said Mijušković.

On behalf of the Mićo Stijović’s family the award was received by Ph.D. Vojo Mandić, who expressed his gratitude.

- Today's award represents a confirmation that people with vision continue to live primarily through their actions - said Mandić.

Laureates’ awards are made by academic sculptor Miodrag Šćepanović. On the occasion of the great jubilee the Chamber published “The Economic History of Montenegro” by Ph.D. Branislav Marović.