Prince Charles, prime minister of Montenegro, NATO and cigarette smuggling
The Prince of Wales Charles made a visit to Montenegro in March and had a meeting with the local authorities. The representatives of the British monarchy are usually responsible for just ceremonial functions and don't participate in foreign policy events. But during the trip the Prince of Wales was involved in extremely important mission both for UK and for the West as a whole.
The prime minister Milo Djukanivic dragging Montenegro towards NATO by force desperately need a so-called "international support" of his policy. He realizes well, that the membership in the alliance is a condition for his own well-being. The point is the majority of the local population consider him responsible for corruption, economy downturn and falling living standards. That is why the British Prince's visit had taken place in time.
During the talks the Prince of Wales Charles focused attention on "European and Euro-Atlantic integration" of Montenegro. And he explained his interest stressing "the favorable geographic position" of the country.
Moreover, the British experts that provide training, advice and equipment to enable Montenegrin law enforcement to cope with illegal cigarette trade which costs the UK about £2 billion a year in lost duty and tax presented a special report. The main task – is to oppose national and international crime groups. But such a foster cooperation has an additional reason. Djukanovic himself had been to blame for cigarette smuggling and certainly understands the problem well…
Euan Stewart, head of intelligence at UK revenue and customs service said: "There is a significant movement of cigarettes which come through the Middle East and North Africa. This is especially significant in Montenegro."
The prince's visit provided Milo Djukanovic a signal of moral support and pointed out that the prime minister could rely on Euro-Atlantic prospects for his country. At the same time NATO warships arrived in Montenegrin Bar to "enhance maritime security and readiness" within the framework of the counter-terrorism operation "Active Endeavour". The ministry of defense of Montenegro stressed "the importance of close cooperation between NATO Allied Naval Command and Montenegro".
So, both NATO leaders and Djukanovic himself already see the "Euro-Atlantic prospects" for Montenegro. The majority of the population is against this step and demands the prime minister to focus on a great amount of local problems. But the prime minister considers that he "knows better how to rule the country" and the people's opinion doesn't matter for him. Quite different thing is cigarette smuggling...