Balkan Networking Initiative Starts in Budva

The Balkan Networking Initiative will have an official inaugural conference in Budva on 22 May.

The Balkan Networking Initiative is a project of the government of Montenegro and the Atlas Group. The goal of the conference is to establish a public-private network to create sustainable social empowerment through cross-border networking.

Speakers at the event include Prime Minister Igor Lukšić, Atlas Group President Duško Knežević, and retired U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Most of the conference is closed to the media — which is not considered a good practice in this era of government transparency. Transparency is the best protection against corruption. As the saying goes, “light kills germs.” This is particularly important in joint public-private initiatives, which are often simply methods for politicians to funnel taxpayer money to their friends in business. Public-private initiatives must be monitored closely and publicly to ensure that they are in the public interest — this is a valuable function of the free press.

The press will be allowed into the main speeches and there will be opportunities for approved members of the press to interview conference participants. This would be an excellent time to press the project sponsors regarding the need for transparency.

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