Montenegro - come if you're rich

Eager to join the European Union, Montenegro is cleaning up its image of corruption and pulling out all the stops to attract foreign capital.

Published on 26 August 2010 at 13:43
Alex FotoMoto/Flickr/CC |  If you don't have one of these, don't bother. Yachts in the port of Tivat, Montenegro.

“This is better than St. Tropez,” Milo Djukanovic, the prime minister of Montenegro, exclaimed as he took in a display of yachts berthed in this mountain-shrouded bay on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea.

Hardly. But if Mr. Djukanovic and a group of foreign businessmen supporting him have their way, the port of Tivat, now just 20 percent complete, could become a new playground for the super-rich and the centerpiece of tiny Montenegro’s audacious effort to clean up its image of corruption and gain entry to the European Union.

As part of the plan to lure investors from around the globe, Mr. Djukanovic, who is also chairman of Montenegro’s investment promotion agency, said last week that any person willing to invest 500,000 euros or more could become a citizen of Montenegro.

In 2009, the prime minister invited Thaksin Shinawatra, the deposed former prime minister of Thailand who faces jail for his conviction on corruption charges in his native country, to make his home here.

Meanwhile, the billionaire who dreamed up the idea of transforming this former Yugoslav navy base into the new Monaco could not be happier. Seated behind Mr. Djukanovic (pronounced ju-KAHN-oh-vitch) as he sped through the marina in a golf cart was Peter Munk, the 82-year-old Canadian gold magnate who is the lead investor in the 200-million-euro ($256 million) Porto Montenegro project. Read full article in the New York Times...

Albania

Nationalist violence upsets Athens

A couple of days ago, a Greek was murdered in the Albanian town of Heimaras. “Some websites have already proclaimed his murderer a hero,” reports Giorgos Delastik in the Greek daily To Ethnos, denouncing the “heavily Hellenophobic animus” in Albania’s media and its prime minister Sali Berisha’s “hotblooded stance” on certain issues. According to Delastik, Albanian nationalist sentiment was recently bolstered by theInternational Court of Justice decision to recognise the legality of Kosovo’s independence, despite the use of arms to achieve it. He is also worried that the racist hatred is compounded by economic designs Albanians may have on Greek property. He points out, moreover, that countless stories of mistreated Albanians in Greece are adding fuel to the fire.

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