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TAKE PART IN THE SURVEY AND PROVIDE YOUR CONTRIBUTION FOR FUTURE IMPROVEMENTS OF CBC PROGRAMMES

This survey is carried out as part of the Mid-term Evaluation of Cross-Border Cooperation Programmes between IPA II Beneficiaries, commissioned by the European Commission DG NEAR and implemented by a consortium involving Particip, ECORYS, ecdpm, FISCUS, itad and Oxford Policy Management.

The objectives of the evaluation are:

  • to make an assessment of the implementation of the CBC programmes between 2014 and 2019;
  • to provide recommendations for the improvement of performance and
  • to support the preparation of future CBC programming for IPA III in the next multiannual financing framework.

Three questionnaires are available:

Survey 1 addressing grant beneficiaries of IPA II CBC programmes;
Survey 2 addressing applicants of IPA II CBC programmes;
Survey 3 addressing local authorities in the eligible areas of IPA II CBC programmes.

Please note that your responses will be completely anonymous. Data provided will be used only for the purposes of the evaluation and will not be shared with third parties.

The survey should only take about 10 minutes and will be available until 14 December 2020.

The questionnaires in English and in local languages are available online (check links below).

English:

Survey 1: https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/IPAIICBCsurvey1
Survey 2: https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/IPAIICBCsurvey2
Survey 3: https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/IPAIICBCsurvey3

Montenegrin:

Survey 1 – https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/IPAIICBCsurvey1Montenegro
Survey 2 – https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/IPAIICBCsurvey2Montenegro
Survey 3 – https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/IPAIICBCsurvey3Montenegro

Albanian:

Survey 1 – https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/IPAIICBCsurvey1Albanian
Survey 2 – https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/IPAIICBCsurvey2Albanian
Survey 3 – https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/IPAIICBCsurvey3Albanian

EUROPEAN INTEGRATION OFFICE

Montenegro is reliable partner in implementing objectives of EUSDR

Regions in Europe share not only challenges, but also potentials and chances for progress, which is why joint work is needed in achieving the goals of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), said Chief Negotiator Aleksandar Drljević.

Today, he represented Montenegro at the meeting of ministers within the IX Forum of the EUSDR, which ended the successful presidency of Croatia over this strategy. The meeting, which was organized today via a video link, was opened by Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, Gordan Grlić Radman.

The EUSDR is a macro-regional strategy aimed at creating synergies and coordination between existing policies and initiatives in the Danube region. In implementation of this strategy, 14 Danube River Basin countries are participating, of which nine are EU members (Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Slovakia and Germany), while the other five are non-EU countries (Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine).

The meeting adopted a Ministerial Declaration in which the emphasis was placed on the unfavourable events that marked Croatia’s presidency – specifically the COVID-19 crisis, as well as a strong earthquake that had a devastating impact on Zagreb as Croatia’s trade, economic, cultural and development centre. Also, the Declaration highlighted the programme documents that were finalized, adopted and published in the past period, as well as the European Green Agreement, which represents a roadmap for the sustainability of the EU economy by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities in all policy areas and transition making it righteous and inclusive for all. This year represents a decade of the strategy’s existence, so the Declaration refers to the activities that have been implemented in the past period, but also to the plans for the next 10 years.

Drljević emphasized the leading role that the EU has in the process of implementing the strategy and coordination of its priorities, as well as the importance of including macro-regional priorities in the program documents for the next financial perspective. “Regions in the Europe share not only common challenges, but also common potentials and chances for progress. Therefore, while achieving the main goals of the EUSDR, we are contributing to the entire Danube region, which is historically, socially, politically and economically one of the most important regions of the EU and the whole of Europe. “Given that we all share and promote European values, there is great potential to be more united and persistent than ever before,” the Chief Negotiator pointed out.

He congratulated Croatia on a successful one-year presidency of the Strategy, and colleagues from Slovakia on taking over the presidency, and wished them much success in implementing significant activities in the context of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.

“Montenegro will be a reliable partner for everyone in the future activities of the EUSDR, with the goal of its further development, with continuous commitment that is crucial for the successful implementation of the strategy,” Drljević concluded.

GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTENEGRO
SECTOR FOR INFORMING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE EU AND THE EU ACCESSION PROCESS

Subcommittee Meeting on Economic and Financial Issues and Statistics: Pandemic also struck Montenegrin economy, but Government reacted in a timely manner

The Montenegrin Government took timely measures to mitigate the consequences of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, along with the support of the European Union, it was assessed at today’s Subcommittee Meeting on Economic and Financial Issues and Statistics.

At the 13th meeting of this Subcommittee meeting between Montenegro and the European Union, which was held online and covers economic, fiscal and financial developments and challenges as well as policy areas under Negotiation Chapters 17, 18, 32 and 33, the representatives of the Montenegrin competent institutions informed the EC representatives about the activities carried out in the previous period in these areas.

Deputy Chief Negotiator Marko Mrdak pointed out that, in addition to the annual report of the European Commission, the Economic and Investment Plan is very encouraging in terms of socio-economic recovery from the pandemic.

“We interpret this as a sincere commitment to the Western Balkans, which was clearly announced at the beginning of the current EC mandate. “We firmly believe that this plan will encourage recovery and economic growth and that it will support reforms in the continuation of our path towards the EU,” he stated. Mrdak thanked the EU for the 30 million euro macro-financial assistance, noting that the Montenegrin side is aware of the remaining conditions that need to be met to ensure payment of the second tranche in the same amount.

He informed his interlocutors with the activities in the chapters covered by the Subcommittee, including the Economic Reform Program 2020-2022, the Annual Plan of Official Statistics for 2020, the Consolidated Report on Governance and Internal Controls in the Public Sector for 2019, as well as the 2020 Montenegro Budget Law.

The Head of the Unit in the Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs, Uwe Stamm, commended the Montenegrin Government for the rapid adoption of measures to mitigate the impact of the crisis, and assessed that the COVID-19 pandemic had struck hard the Montenegrin economy. He stressed that as the crisis develops, the policy response and its adequacy needs to be properly assessed and adjusted if needed, to ensure that the support provided to businesses and citizens is well targeted and effective. “The crisis has taken a heavy toll in the area of public finances as well – falling revenues and higher spending have led to larger deficits. This is an inevitable side effect of saving jobs, turnover and income. At the same time, a return to prudent fiscal governance once the economy recovers is essential to preserve fiscal sustainability, ”he stated.

Deputy Head of the Montenegro Unit at DG NEAR, Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission, Barbara Jesus-Gimeno, encouraged Montenegro to use the coming months to accelerate reforms, so that the country can continue to progress on the path to EU membership. “Addressing these priorities will require close inter-institutional coordination, functional public administration and building on the results achieved over the past years,” she added.

GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTENEGRO
SECTOR FOR INFORMING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE EU AND THE EU ACCESSION PROCESS

Social policy, education and information society important areas for citizens

Areas covered by the Subcommittee on Innovation, Human Resources, Information Society and Social Policy are of the key importance for Montenegrin citizens, therefore Montenegro will continue to strive towards the European standards in these fields.

On the 10thSubcommittee meeting on innovation, human resources, information society and social policy, which was held through an online platform, covering chapters 2 Freedom of movement for workers, 10 Information Society and Media, 19 – Social policy and Employment, 25 Science and Research and 26 Education and Culture, the representatives of the Montenegrin institutions presented key results achieved in these negotiating chapters.

The Subcommittee represents an official meeting between the EU and Montenegro, held once a year, aimed to discuss development of these areas in the framework of the Stabilization and Accession Agreement between the EU and Montenegro.

Deputy Chief Negotiator Marko Mrdak pointed out that, in the area of education, reform of the higher education in Montenegro through the implementation of the 3+2+3 cycle together with the implementation of the new Law on Academic Integrity are two important steps forward in meeting the EU standards. He underlined the success of the new concept of distance learning, the #LearnAtHome Project, which was launched due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

With regard to the area of science and research, he pointed out that Montenegro was the first candidate country that adopted S3 strategy.

In the field of social policy and employment, the process is at a steady pace, taking into consideration the implementation of the key law in this area, the Labour Law, which was adopted in December 2019, as a result of hard work of the Montenegrin administration and with the expert assistance of the European Commission.

He reminded that, by passing the Law on Same Sex Life Partnerships, Montenegro became the first candidate country which regulated this issue, that has a direct impact on the lives of LGBTI persons in our society.

According to Mrdak, in the field of information society and media, period between two subcommittees was very significant. “After consultations and expert consideration of media laws, two of them: the Media Law and the Law on National Public Broadcaster known as the RTCG Law were adopted in July 2020. Montenegro continues its efforts to improve media sector, especially electronic media. I believe that Montenegro will establish a modern and legislatively regulated environment for media with the highest international standards” he stressed.

He also reflected on the European Commission’s Report on Montenegro, released during this week, which gives an overall assessment of the progress achieved in the reform process and notes certain challenges which Montenegro has to meet in several areas which will remain the question of the utmost significance in our further work.

Deputy Head of the Montenegro Unit at DG NEAR, Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission, Barbara Jesus-Gimeno, stressed out that the Subcommittee is an opportunity for discussion on the progress of Montenegro when it comes to freedom of movement for workers (chapter 2), information society and media (chapter 10), social policy and employment (chapter 19), science and research (chapter 25) and education and culure (chapter 26) in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic, underling the importance of these areas for the Montenegrin citizens.

She said that the Report of the European Commission on Montenegro, released this week together with the Enlargement Package, provides a detailed overview of the status and a clear roadmap for the progress of Montenegro to the EU, with the fulfilling of the interim benchmarks in the chapters 23 and 24 as a next tipping point.

She reiterated the strong commitment of the European Commission to the Western Balkans and Montenegro, adding that the first tranche of 60 million euros of macro financial support of Montenegro, the foreseen IPA Budget Support and adoption of the Economic and Investment Plan for Western Balkans demonstrates support of the EU to the social and economic recovery of the region. She also stressed that the solution of these issues will require a functional public administration, close cross-sectoral coordination and cooperation of the all stakeholders, as well as building on achievements from previous years.

GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTENEGRO
SECTOR FOR INFORMING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE EU AND THE EU ACCESSION PROCESS

Montenegro makes progress towards EU in areas of trade, customs, industry, taxation

Further progress of Montenegro in the areas of trade, customs, industry and taxes is a pathway to economic strengthening and full membership in the European Union. This was stated at today’s meeting of the Subcommittee on Trade, Industry, Customs and Taxes. The subcommittee is the annual official meeting between the EU and Montenegro to exchange on the development of the sectors discussed in the frame of the Stabilisation and association agreement between the EU and Montenegro.

At the 13th meeting of this Subcommittee between Montenegro and the European Union, which was held online, and which covered chapters 1, 16, 20, 29 and 30, the representatives of the Montenegrin institutions presented the key achievements in these respectful negotiation chapters.

Deputy Chief Negotiator Marko Mrdak underscored that Montenegro remains committed to fulfilling the European Commission’s recommendations, with a view to achieving the EU standards in these areas.

Regarding Chapter 1 – Freedom of Movement of Goods, Mr Mrdak stated that Montenegro adopted the Law on Medicines which represents a basis for further alignment with the EU acquis in this area. “When it comes to the administrative capacities, as part of the fourth closing benchmark, all institutions make strong efforts in order to upgrade their professionalism and capacities”, he added.

Within Chapter 16 – Taxation, the Parliament adopted the amendments to the Law on Personal Income Tax, Law on Fiscalisation for Transactions in Goods and Services, Law on Value Added Tax and Law on Excises, as well as numerous decisions and decrees aimed at protecting national fiscal policy, in order to tackle economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

With regard to Chapter 20 – Enterprise and Industrial Policy, Montenegro intensified efforts in order to mitigate the negative consequences caused by Covid-19. In that regard, the Government adopted a Programme of support to the economy and employees, in order to mitigate the negative impact of the epidemic of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Under Chapter 29 – Customs union, the Government adopted the Decree on the Customs Tariff for 2020, while under Chapter 30 – External Relations, further harmonisation of national legislation with the EU acquis has been continued.

Deputy Head of Unit for Montenegro at the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Barbara Jesus-Gimeno referred to, as she said, two key priorities for Montenegro: overcoming the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing progress on the path to EU accession.

“Montenegro`s progress in chapters 1, 16, 20, 29 and 30, which were discussed at today`s meeting, is a pathway to recovery and EU membership. Addressing these priorities will also require a functioning public administration and building on the achievements made over the past years”, she pointed out.

Ms Jesus-Gimeno emphasised the European Commission`s strong commitment to the Western Balkans and Montenegro, adding that the release of the first tranche of EUR 30 million in macro-financial assistance to Montenegro and the adoption of the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans demonstrate EU support for the region`s socioeconomic recovery. She said that the annual report on Montenegro, presented on Tuesday along with the enlargement package, provided clear guidelines for further progress in the negotiations.

GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTENEGRO
SECTOR FOR INFORMING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE EU AND THE EU ACCESSION PROCESS

Functional administration and commitment to agricultural production are key to overcoming challenges

The coronavirus pandemic has severely affected the agriculture and fisheries sector, and addressing these challenges ahead requires a functioning public administration and continuity in the progress which was made in previous years, it was stated during the 13th meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Subcommittee between Montenegro and the European Commission.

At the13th annual meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Subcommittee between Montenegro and the European Commission, representatives of Montenegrin institutions presented the progress made in the process of reform in area of negotiation chapters 11 – Agriculture and rural development, 12 – Food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy and 13 – Fisheries, with special emphasis on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on this sector. The subcommittee is the annual official meeting between the EU and Montenegro to exchange on the development of the sectors discussed in the frame of the Stabilisation and association agreement between the EU and Montenegro.

Deputy Chief Negotiator Marko Mrdak pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic may plunge Montenegrin and European economies into recession, which is why countries should take urgent measures to mitigate the long-term impact on the food sector.

“Covid situation has showed us that Montenegro should be more devoted to agricultural production in order to make significantly higher share in gross domestic production and reduce our dependence on imports”, Mrdak said.

He said that within the framework of Chapter 11, the activities defined by the Action plan were carried out properly, but that the implementation of certain ones has been delayed due to the pandemic situation and that their realization is expected in the following period.

He pointed out that the Government of Montenegro had adopted a Special Assistance Programme for Agriculture and Fisheries and that all measures defined by Agrobudget whose implementation were planned during the measures which were adopted as a response to the outbreak of Covid 19 virus have been implemented, what is of great importance for preserving the stability of the agricultural sector. Regarding Chapter 12, he informed that the implementation of the Strategy with the action plans adopted in 2015, and updated in 2019 is being continuously implemented. He reminded on the continuously implementation of the National Program for Improvement of the Raw Milk Quality as well as the National Program for Improvement of Facilities for Products of Animal Origin and Facilities for By-Products of Animal Origin as obligations arising from the closing benchmarks. In the area covered by Chapter 13, he pointed out that the ability to implement laws related to market development, structural measures and state aid and aquaculture is essential for the overall success in reaching EU standards. In the end, he emphasized the importance of strengthening administrative capacities and stressed that Montenegro continues to make efforts to strengthen them.

Barbara Hesus-Jimeno, Deputy Head of the Montenegro Unit at DG NEAR, Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, pointed out that the Subcommittee is an important opportunity to review Montenegro’s progress on EU accession negotiations in agriculture and rural development (chapter 11), Food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy (chapter 12) and fisheries (chapter 13), in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely affected the sector.

“Addressing these challenges requires a functioning public administration and building on the progress that has been achieved over the past years”, Jesus-Jimeno said, referring to the key role of Montenegro’s administration at operational level to allow the future Government to hit the ground running and progress on the EU-accession path, on which Montenegro is well advanced.

Co-chair of the Subcommittee, Director General at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Darko Konjević, stressed that the Montenegrin administration has worked diligently during the pandemic, expressing his hope that this would be also confirmed by the Montenegro Report of the European Commission, which is about to be presented during the day.

GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTENEGRO
SECTOR FOR INFORMING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE EU AND THE EU ACCESSION PROCESS

European Commission presented the 2020 Report on Montenegro

The European Commission published the Report for Montenegro within the enlargement package, as well as the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans.
European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi presented in Brussels the Report of the European Commission for 2020 and Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, while the broadcast of the press conference was followed by media representatives, the Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Ambassador Oana Cristina Popa and Chief Negotiator Aleksandar Drljević.
Shortly after the press conference of Commissioner Várhelyi, Head of the EU Delegation Ambassador Popa delivered to the Chief Negotiator the European Commission Report on Montenegro for 2020.

Várhelyi clarified at the press conference that the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans worth EUR nine billion should accelerate the economic recovery of the region after the epidemic, as well as the convergence with the Europe. “The Plan should bring great changes to the Western Balkans not only in the economy, but also for all the inhabitants of this region in the following four to five years,” he added.

Várhelyi also announced the support of EUR 20 billion in public and private investments over the next ten years through the new grant fund for the Western Balkans.

“In total it should bring up to EUR 28 billion in investments to this region. It is nearly 30% of the GDP of the entire region that should improve its investment opportunities. We expect a significant impact of this plan – at least the economy growth to the average 3,6 %,” he explained.

He emphasised that he expects effects on infrastructure of the Western Balkans, which still lacks and which should much better connect the region within, but also with the European Union.

Chief Negotiator with the EU Aleksandar Drljević said that we have received the new European Commission Report on Montenegro in a special political moment, bearing in mind the recently held parliamentary elections in Montenegro. Despite of the critics stated in the Report, Drljević believes that Montenegro can be the EU member state until 2025.

“We got firm assurances that the door of the EU are open for countries of the Balkan and I think that this goal can be achieved. A lot has been done and our citizens expect it from us,” said Drljević on presenting the Report.

Now, as he said, we were awaiting the formation of the new government which would, as Drljević is convinced of, continue the pro – European course with striving to make Montenegro the first next member of the EU, guiding in the first place with the best interest of citizens. He stressed that the Report stated inability of appointing the key functions in judiciary during the 2019, which as he said, resulted in functions filled on an acting basis.

In terms of the Chapters 23 and 24, Drljević recalled that the Report noted improved capacities of institutions in the area of combating corruption.

“We consider as very significant that the Report recognises efforts of Montenegrin institutions in fight against organised crime, international cooperation of police and participation in international actions of suppressing the crime which led to the large seizures. In addition, a solid balance is confirmed in results regarding the final court judgement in the areas of fight against human trafficking, money laundering and smuggling of cigarettes,” said Drljević, adding that we are aware of the system weaknesses which should be removed, in order to continue the successful process to the EU.

“Reappointment of individual presidents of courts, the lack of editorial independence of the RTCG, the arrest of portal editor – are just some of the negative qualifications, to which particular attention should be paid and an adequate response should be given,” Drljević concluded.

The Head of the EU Delegation, Ambassador Oana Cristina Popa pointed out that Montenegro must develop in terms of economic criteria the functional market economy and acquire the ability to cope with the competition.

“A certain progress has been achieved in this area. However, outbreak of the Sars – CoV – 2 virus epidemic brought to the serious challenges in economy, thus presenting significant pressure for the public finances. Meanwhile, despite the certain signals towards the improvement of the business environment, measures for fight against grey economy are postponed and a large number of companies whose bank accounts have been frozen are constantly present. Limited progress has been made in the area of measures to activate the labour force and coordination between employment and social services. Very modest investments have been made to the knowledge and human capital, which resulted in a low level of innovation and productivity of domestic companies,” said Ambassador Popa at the press conference in Podgorica.

The European Commission Report on Montenegro for 2020 and Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans in the English language, you can download here.

GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTENEGRO
SECTOR FOR INFORMING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE EU AND THE EU ACCESSION PROCESS

Chief Negotiator Drljević opened the photo exhibition “Discover Romania” at the EU Info Centre

The Embassy of Romania in Montenegro, in cooperation with the EU Info Centre, organised an exhibition of photographs “Discover Romania,” by the famous Romanian photographer Florin Andreescu. The exhibition, which presents the natural beauty of Romania, will be open until the end of June at the EU Info Centre.

The exhibition was opened by the Romanian Ambassador Ferdinand Nagy, the Ambassador of the EU to Montenegro Aivo Orav and Montenegro’s Chief Negotiator with the EU, Aleksandar Drljevic. Ambassador Nagy invited citizens to visit the exhibition, to see Romania and enjoy the photographs, which “symbolically represent a revival of nature, optimism and solidarity.”

Montenegro’s progress is visible in the areas of transport, energy, environment and regional development

Despite the coronavirus epidemic, Montenegro has made progress in several areas, it was assessed at the 13th meeting of the Sub-Committee on transport, energy, environment, climate change and regional policy between Montenegro and the European Commission.

At the Sub-Committee meeting, which was organized online for the first time, representatives of Montenegro and the European Commission discussed the key results achieved in the period from the previous Sub-Committee meeting in the areas covered by Chapters 14, 15, 21, 22 and 27, as well as guidelines for further progress.

A part of EU-donated medical equipment arrives to Montenegro

Montenegro has received a new shipment of medical equipment donated by the EU under the 3 million euro support package, and procured by the UNDP. The shipment consists of 14 medical ventilators and a contingent of personal protective equipment for health professionals (80,000 gloves, 50,560 surgical masks and 10,200 protective goggles).

Following Montenegro’s request sent through the NATO mechanism, the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) in late April, the shipment carrying EU-donated protective medical equipment, along with personal protection gear that Montenegro bought from China, was delivered by a plane leased and paid for by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Press

TAKE PART IN THE SURVEY AND PROVIDE YOUR CONTRIBUTION FOR FUTURE IMPROVEMENTS OF CBC...

0
This survey is carried out as part of the Mid-term Evaluation of Cross-Border Cooperation Programmes between IPA II Beneficiaries, commissioned by the European Commission...

Montenegro is reliable partner in implementing objectives of EUSDR

0
Regions in Europe share not only challenges, but also potentials and chances for progress, which is why joint work is needed in achieving the...

Subcommittee Meeting on Economic and Financial Issues and Statistics: Pandemic also struck Montenegrin economy,...

0
The Montenegrin Government took timely measures to mitigate the consequences of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, along with the support of...

Social policy, education and information society important areas for citizens

0
Areas covered by the Subcommittee on Innovation, Human Resources, Information Society and Social Policy are of the key importance for Montenegrin citizens, therefore Montenegro...

Montenegro makes progress towards EU in areas of trade, customs, industry, taxation

0
Further progress of Montenegro in the areas of trade, customs, industry and taxes is a pathway to economic strengthening and full membership in the...