- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- All Balkan Countries
Pier Luigi Bersani, who signed the first agreement with Montenegro in 2007 for the undersea cable, was then economy minister in Romano Prodi's government. His partner, Branimir Gvozdenovic, then also economy minister, is now political director of Montenegro's ruling party.
Born in 1951, Bersani signed the first official agreement about laying the Pescara–Tivat cable in December 2007 with the then Montenegrin economy minister, Branimir Gvozdenovic.
The agreement prescribed the creation of a working group to examine the possibilities of laying the underwater cable between the two countries.
At the time, Bersani was minister of economic development in the second government of Romano Prodi, a post he held from May 2006 to May 2008.
Previously, from 1996 to 1999, he was minister of industry, commerce, artisanry, and tourism, and then as transport and navigation minister from 1999 to 2001. In 2004, he was elected to the European Parliament.
Bersani is currently general secretary of the Democratic Party, [Partito Democratico], PD.
Supporters of Silvio Berlusconi rebuff allegations of corruption in the energy deals with Montenegro by pointing out that the cable project with Montenegro was started while the opposition was in power.
Opponents of the cable dismiss this claim, saying the initial course of the cable was changed after Berlusconi came in power.
When Bersani signed the deal, they note, the cable was supposed to run to Foggia, while the Berlusconi government decided to make it run to Pescara, which is more than 100km further from Tivat in Montenegro than is Foggia. (link for Pescara cable here).
Born in Bar in 1961, Gvozdenovic was minister for economic development in Milo Djukanovic’s government in the initial phase of the Italy–Montenegro energy deals from 2007 to 2009.
As such, he signed the agreement establishing a joint working group to examine the possibilities of laying the submarine cable. Elektroprivreda Crne Gore, EPCG, and Italy’s partly state-owned grid operator, Terna, were members of the working group.
Gvozdenovic signed the agreement with Italy’s then economy minister, Pier Luigi Bersani, in December 2007.
Gvozdenovic has held numerous public posts since the late 1980s, drawing complaints from civil society groups of conflicts of interest for holding several posts contemporarily.
In 2005, for example, Gvozdenovic headed the then fully state owned Elektroprivreda, EPCG, was deputy prime minister in charge of the economy and was also head of the tender commission for the privatization of biggest energy consumer in Montenegro, Aluminjumski Kombinat, KAP.
Civil sector groups said that as head of the KAP tender, Gvozdenovic had an interest in making the proposal more interesting to investors by offering a lower price for electricity, which was not in the best interests of EPCG.
On the other hand, as head of EPCG, he was in a position to suggest changes in electricity prices to the economy minister, who was under his direct supervision, as deputy prime minister for economy.
In his political career, Gvozdenovic has held numerous other positions, including deputy minister for tourism and maritime affairs and mayor of Bar. In the Nineties, he directed the post office and was a senior advisor to the Montenegrin Development Bureau.
In February, Gvozdenovic was listed amongst the eight political figures from Montenegro and Italy that the opposition Movement for Changes charged with fraud in relation to the Italy–Montenegro energy deals.
After the 2009 general election, he was appointed minister for urbanism, a post he held until Milo Djukanovic resigned as prime minister in December 2010. The new prime minister, Igor Luksic, then replaced Gvozdenovic, after which he became political director of Djukanovic’s Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS.
In January, NGO Mans filed charges to the state prosecutor against Gvozdenovic, claiming that as urbanism minister he was involved in the Zavala affair. This concerned the issue of controversial construction permits and led to the arrest of Budva mayor Rajko Kuljaca and several collaborators last December.
Milovac complained that the prosecution was over-reluctant to investigate Gvozdenovic’s role in the affair, or the role of other high government officials.
“There was enough evidence in the Zavala case at least for Gvozdenovic to be called for questioning,” he said. In response, Gvozdenovic said the NGO was personally persecuting him.
Born in 1975, the leader in Pescara of the movement against the Tivat-Pescara underwater cable, “Nessuno tocchi il nostro futuro” (“Nobody touch our future”). is a centre-right member of Gianfranco Fini’s party, Futuro e Liberta, FLI.
Before Fini’s scission from Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, Valloreja belonged to a small local party, Semper Fidelius Luci – Innovazione Europea, SFL.
Valloreja founded “Nessuno tocchi il nostro futuro” early in 2010 in order to fight Terna’s marine cable project, claiming it “lacked transparency from the beginning”, and would be “completely useless for local citizens both in Italy and Montenegro”.
Early this year, Valloreja contacted opponents of the project in Montenegro, telling the Montenegrin daily Vijesti that they were negotiating possible “common action”.
Valloreja said his party headquarters had discussed visiting the Montenegrin opposition after hearing that the opposition Montenegrin Movement for Changes, [Pokret Za Promjene], PZP, had pressed charges against Berlusconi for “fraud in energy deals with Montenegro”.
Valloreja’s movement claims the cable is potentially harmful to people’s health, and that “no public, only private, economic interests” stand behind the deal. He also claims that the project is directly connected to the Italian government’s plans to set up new nuclear energy plants in the Abruzzo region, of which Pescara is a part. Terna and Italian government officials deny this.
Valloreja stood (unsuccessfully) as candidate for mayor of Pescara in 2003 and for president of Pescara province in 2004.
Italy’s official motives for the deals with Montenegro may be related to meeting EU ‘green energy’ targets - but suspicions linger that other interests are at work.