The Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) held the third in a series of panel discussions in the Municipality of Bar within the project “Education and Dialogue to the EU”, which was financially supported by the Ministry of Public Administration of Montenegro.
This panel discussion continued the implementation of the activity “Dialogue with Citizens: Let’s talk about the facts”, which seeks to contribute to the process of European integration by raising awareness, understanding and knowledge of European integration, future membership and functioning of the EU. As the respective activity was realized in Bar, and taking into account the numerous potentials that the Municipality of Bar, as a port city with significant potentials of the coastal economy, has, the panel discussed the negotiating chapter 29 – Customs Union. The purpose of the panel discussion was to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between the civil sector, state bodies / institutions and citizens, which is one of the goals to be achieved by implementing this project.
By organizing this panel, the positive practice of informing and understanding the Customs Union and its acquis communautaire continues, especially from the aspect of the impact it has on the protection of citizens, but also the overall development of the economy.
Ms. Snezana Vuckovic, Assistant Director of the Customs Administration for Customs and Legal Affairs, emphasized the great importance and complexity of Chapter 29 in the further steps of Montenegro on its European path. On that occasion, she pointed out that the Customs Union can not only be viewed through the prism of Chapter 29, but that it is closely connected with other negotiating chapters, such as: Chapter 1 – Freedom of movement of goods; chapters 7- Intellectual property rights and chapters 16- Taxes. It was also mentioned that the Customs Administration provides efficient monitoring and collection of customs receivables, which in the continuity achieves a good trend of revenue collection. During the presentation, cooperation with the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ), the World Bank and the EU Delegation was also highlighted. It was also mentioned that Montenegro continues to adopt legislation in the remaining areas that require further harmonization, primarily harmonization of its legislation in the areas of customs status and transit, customs risk management and security aspects, including the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program, intellectual property law. and drug precursors.
Mr. Dragan Lučić, Manager of the Bar Customs Office, spoke about the modernization and digitalization of customs procedures, emphasizing that the Customs Administration has been achieving continuous revenue growth in recent years and that no customs receivables have been collected. By using the electronic service for the economy, all participants in the customs procedure have the opportunity to quickly and easily, in real time, monitor claims, payments and deadlines for payment of customs debt. In that way, efficient monitoring and collection of customs receivables is achieved.
Having in mind the importance of the customs system, Mr. Miloš Vujović, contact person of the Working Group for Negotiating Chapter 29 from the Office for European Integration, spoke about the basic tasks of the customs system aimed at fast traffic of legal goods and passengers, protection of customs security with efficient collection of revenues in accordance with regulations, all with the aim of developing the economy of Montenegro. In the context of NCTS phase 5 (New computerized customs system), it was pointed out that Montenegro will be among the first countries to develop this system without implementing the previous phase. The necessary cooperation between the Ministry of Finance and the Customs Administration was also mentioned in order to continuously strengthen and improve administrative capacities in order to reach EU standards, especially in the areas of development and implementation of interconnected customs systems.
Mr. Vojo Banović, Executive Director of the International Maritime and Transport Agency Jadroagent from Bar, spoke about the impact on the company’s business from the beginning of negotiations until today, emphasizing the importance of Montenegro’s European path and the possibility of opening borders.
After the introductory speeches, there was a space for discussion marked by issues related to the challenges that representatives of the Customs Administration face when synchronizing our legislation with the EU, and what are the benefits that citizens can have from this negotiating chapter. The attendees were also interested in the range of activities that include the business of Jadroagent Bar.
The panel discussion in Bar rounded off the activity “Dialogue with Citizens: Let’s Talk About Facts”, which, in addition to this Municipality, also included discussions in the Municipalities of Mojkovac and Nikšić.