29 May 2019 - Montenegro continues to be a leader in the process of joining the European Union, and therefore retains the position of a stable and honest partner of the European Union in the Balkans, Deputy Prime Minister Zoran Pažin told the press following his meeting with the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro Aivo Orav, who handed over to the Deputy Prime Minister the annual report on Montenegro's progress in the process of the EU accession.
"Montenegro does not expect and does not want the EU to turn a blind eye to it or to be admitted to the European Union before it fully meets all the necessary conditions for full membership. We responsibly accept the work that is ahead of us and we also expect that our efforts and results will be recognised and confirmed promptly. Montenegro's membership in the European Union is possible only if we are equally interested in it, both our European partners and us," said the Deputy Prime Minister.
He noted that the leading position of Montenegro in the current policy of enlargement of the European Union is not only an epithet, but also an obligation. "Montenegro, as a country where a clear institutional and legal framework has been established, today also shows that institutions are ready to implement laws, without exception and with a clear goal - to strengthen the country in which every citizen feels safe and lives a dignified life from their work, where institutions function as citizens' service. Of course, there is still more work to be done before we can start the final phase of the accession process that is waiting for us, as we hope for, from the end of this year. "
The Deputy Prime Minister expressed confidence that the Report will be a clear indication to all member states that Montenegro has achieved notable progress in the area of the rule of law and that it is willing to open negotiations by the end of the year in the remaining Chapter 8, but also to get the closure criteria for negotiations in chapters 23 and 24 .
He announced that the Government would pay special attention this year to fulfiling certain recommendations he believes can contribute to further strengthening of credibility and trust in the institutions of the system. "In particular, I would like to emphasise certain activities that will be undertaken towards the strengthening of institutions dealing with the prevention of corruption, as well as further improvement of the environment for the professional work of the media."
He expressed satisfaction that the European Commission also showed that the enlargement policy is alive, stating that Montenegro, with 32 open and three temporarily closed chapters, is proud to retain the position of a leader in the enlargement policy, in which the first next candidate achieved only half such success.
"I would like to congratulate our friends from North Macedonia and Albania on the achieved success - getting the recommendation for opening of the EU accession negotiations, because their success is the success of the entire region, and when we have countries in the region that are on a clear path of adopting Western values, it is easier for Montenegro to persist and succeed on that path," the Deputy Prime Minister concluded.