URA is a new, pro-European green political party that emerged in 2015 as a response from free individuals to the difficult political and economic situation in Montenegro, desiring to finally see democratic change and Montenegro standing among modern European countries with high standards of living.
We want a civic, European, Euro-Atlantic, anti-fascist, enlightened, and modern Montenegrin state established upon the universal civilizing values of contemporary society.
Civic Movement United Reform Action (GP URA) is a political party in Montenegro founded on 14 March 2015 which won the parliamentary status in the 2016 elections. GP URA describes itself as a reformist civic movement of the center left, driven by a social liberal political ideology.
URA’s first president was Žarko Rakčević, who led the party since its founding. At the party’s second congress of April 9, 2017, Dritan Abazovic, a member of a minority group, was elected president – the first case of a minority being elected leader of a party with a civic profile in Montenegrin history.
Our mission is to implement the reforms necessary in Montenegro to build a modern and prosperous society, and a state based on social justice. We adhere firmly to the concepts of a constitutional state, the secular community, rule of law, civil society, and a creative and market economy. We are committed to the idea that state progress is based on the principles of sustainable development, environmental protection, and a green economy.
Montenegro is the only country that is declared as constitutional state as ecological, unfortunately, the behavior of the previous government in the past 30 years was irresponsible which led to the creation of numerous black eco spots around the country. The citizens recognized URA as an only political actor who is ready to protect, not just their interests but also the environment. Due to active participation in solving numerous environmental and other problems, that are closely related to Green politics, European greens have gained great credibility but also popularity precisely because of close cooperation with civil movement URA.
This cooperation gave URA, and our citizens, the necessary strength to be able to solve specific problems.
One of the best examples of this joint struggle are problems that appeared in the construction of the highway Bar-Boljari. Works during this construction led to the relocation of Tara’s riverbed, which is one of the great natural resources not only in Montenegro but in Europe. This relocation of the riverbed disrupted the biodiversity of the area and changed its flora and fauna. Due to this alarming situation, we informed European Greens who visited Montenegro on this occasion, to be assured of this situation. After their visit, the evaluation was done.
The problem of the river Tara was placed on the agenda of the European parliament and was discussed in that institution.
When this problem was raised to the European level, the government inspected the works which led to the return of the riverbed to its original course. Unfortunately, the inflicted consequences could not be remedied but further devastation was prevented.
The problem of the saline arose which occupied Montenegrin public and region because it represents a wetland of international importance and is considered a nature park in Montenegro. The saline has a great fortune in biodiversity and represents a significant point in the process of bird migrating south and a feeding ground for flamingos, which, according to certain data, come even from the coast of Egypt. The previous government had a plan to build a hotel-tourist complex in this area. By local movement, petitions, organization of protest walks, with the cooperation of the local population but also by opening this issue in the local parliament through our committee club, we managed to put pressure on the former government, and construction was delayed. Later, on our initiative, the saline was declared a protected area, which means that it cannot be built there in the future. This was our final victory.
Another example of the environmental challenge that existed in Montenegro was the construction of bungalows within the National park Durmitor, on the shores of Black lake. The local population through the citizens’ association fought against the mentioned construction. NGOs gave strong support to the population, and eventually, the civic movement URA gave their political support to this struggle. It is shown here that combined forces of civic NGOs and political parties can stop the wrong decisions of the previous government. The ultimate goal was to stop the construction of bungalows on the shores of Black lake, which they eventually achieved.
In Montenegro as in the countries of the region, perhaps the biggest challenge in environmental protection are mini-hydropower plants. The largest number of concessions for the construction of mini-hydropower plants was given to the company of the current president Milo Djukanovic, or to actors close to him. What strikes me the most is the fact that when the concessions were given, Mr. Djukanovic was the head of the government, which essentially means that the father gave his son state natural resources.
The water potential of Montenegro is enormous, which makes our country the second in Europe. This is why building mini-hydropower plants is a profitable plan. The negative consequences are the permanent devastation of rivers and extraction of profit, which for the most part goes into the pockets of concessionaries. As a party of green profiling, we oblige for abolishing the given and stopping future concessions. As one of the key messages during the election campaign, we placed a declaration on the prohibition of the construction of mini-hydropower plants. As a green party and government member, on our initiative, the Prime Minister in his exposition, as the third pillar of Montenegro's development, has stated ecology, which means that environmental protection was officially introduced as a program goal for the first time in Montenegro.
Perhaps the biggest challenge we have faced so far was breaking down prejudices about the concept of functioning of green profiling parties. The entire Balkans, especially the Montenegrin society, are looking at the green parties from the point of view of dealing exclusively with environmental protection and environmental issues.
The problem was to explain even to the other political subjects that the term green politics is significantly wider than it is usually perceived. We have often encountered stigmatization that we as a green party cannot seriously deal with any other social problems. We see our greatest success in the fact that we managed to explain to the ordinary citizen that green politics represent sustainable development, environmental protection, but also the rule of law, the fight for democratic development, full implementation of human rights, as well as preserving the basic postulates of equality.
We have reached the level that citizens perceive us as the most invited when it comes to environmental issues, as evidenced by numerous calls, addresses, and appeals to the Civic Movement URA by the local population, numerous associations of citizens, and the non-governmental sector. They see in us political strength and support in solving environmental challenges. On the other side, in our country is now, more or less, clear to everyone that dealing with green policies does not exclude working on solving other life or social problems. Citizens are increasingly realizing that the struggle for the rule of law and the development of democracy also implies a struggle for issues in the field of ecology. That is exactly what we consider to be our greatest contribution to the development of Montenegrin society so far.
On parliamentary elections held in August of 2020, we joined as a part of a platform called ‘Crno na bijelo’ (Black on white), which was initially started by Civic Movement URA, Party of Justice and Reconciliation, The alliance of citizens CIVIS, independent intellectuals and all other free citizens of Montenegro that were looking forward to a better future for our country and its citizens. URA was the main subject that formed this coalition and platform.
All citizens that gave their signatures for this platform, which included the biggest experts in their respected fields in Montenegro, share a common value, they were led by the idea of solidarity. The program of this platform was led by five key points: reform of justice system and rule of law, reform of the economy system, healthcare reform, education reform, and sustainable development that’s dependent on green politics.
Among us are the people that were fighting for freedom and democratic society, these are the people that held the torch of freedom in every moment of their political engagement, without these citizens Montenegro would have fallen into a complete media darkness and unanimity. These are citizens that are saving lives every single day, those that are in classrooms expanding the knowledge of their students but at the showing core human values and principles of patriotism, they are engraving new generations at the same time the importance of truth and justice for everyone. And most importantly we have the support of ordinary citizens that you meet every day, without them, without their support and strength this story wouldn’t have any meaning.
We had given you our hand and we gave you the model of successful Montenegro- ‘Crno na bijelo’. Key messages of the campaign were that only united we could win and show that our country is not a personal playing field of one family, that we want a green and not the grey economy, that we value diplomas and not the protection of cousins or other blood relatives, that we value ability and knowledge but not yes-man behavior, and that we want a country with sustainable development and not sustainable criminal enterprise.
In these elections, we have won four MPs who were determined to overthrow the regime that lasted for thirty years. These mandates were necessary for the creation of a new parliamentary majority and government.
Civic movement URA is a part of the new government of Montenegro, with the position of vice prime minister held by the president of our movement Dr. Dritan Abazović.
URA remains dedicated to the work of implementing essential reforms in order that Montenegrin society may become developed and prosperous, and citizens may live a life worthy of man.