Seven Years of Montenegro’s Negotiations With EU Marked on June 28

By , 29 Jun 2019, 01:10 AM Politics
Seven Years of Montenegro’s Negotiations With EU Marked on June 28 Copyrights: European Council

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28 June 2019 - During the conference Seven Years of Montenegro's negotiations with the EU, Prime Minister Duško Marković noted that Montenegro’s goals coincide with the goals of the enlargement process, that Montenegro has progressed confidently towards the EU although it is the first time that a new, more demanding negotiating model is being implemented, that it had been  implementing some policies as if it was already an EU member state and that the Government will organise meetings with relevant non-governmental organisations in order to provide the synergy of the accession process.

"The most important political priorities of Montenegro are compatible with the goals of the enlargement process. Regional cooperation, reaching European standards and promoting of democratic values and the rule of law, together with economic development are within its core. It is what drives us and what we consider as the highest value for Montenegro, the Western Balkan region but also for the EU. Montenegro has progressed confidently towards membership in the EU. We have started negotiations based on a new model which is being implementing for the first time, negotiations based on the new and demanding principles. Montenegro is the first country with this level of involvement of civil society, faced with different challenges. A special Montenegro’s feature is that in this period we have carried out a parallel NATO integration process and two years ago we became the 29th NATO member. We have to agree that this was a special endeavour of a whole administration. We strongly promote European values trough the fulfilment of the obligations on the path to the EU and it is our most important foreign policy goal. Today, Montenegro’s accession to the EU is supported by two - third of citizens, according to the latest research," Prime Minister Duško Marković stated at the opening of the conference Seven years of Montenegro’s negotiations with the EU, which was sponsored by NGO Centre for Civic Education in Podgorica.

According to the report by the Government of Montenegro, speaking about Montenegro’s achievements, the Prime Minister stated that Montenegro has opened 32 out of 33 negotiating chapters and that Montenegro has support of 22 EU member states for the opening of the remaining chapter.

"However, the work on Chapter 23 – Judiciary and Fundamental Rights and 24 – Justice, Freedom and Security marked the previous period. Most of the temporary benchmarks have been fulfilled (83).  Implementing or amending over 70 laws in chapters 23 and 24 significantly improved the legislative framework in key areas which speaks volumes about the scope and complexity of the reform process in the rule of law area. I want to highlight that institutional framework for law implementation is significantly strengthen by strengthening the administrative capacity of the existing one, but also by establishing new institutions such as Anti-Corruption Agency, Special State Prosecutor’s Office, Sector for seized property, Centre for training of the judiciary and the State Prosecutor’s Office, Centre for asylum seekers and the Reception center for foreigners. I want to point to the concrete results which have been recognised in the last European Commission's report for Montenegro. In addition to the continuous progress in the legislative field and in the area of institution building, the European Commission notes the initial balance of the results achieved in the fight against high-level corruption and in the certain areas of organised crime, such as money laundering, financial investigations, temporary seizure of the property acquired through criminal activity. It was noted, as well, that the progress achieved in judicial cooperation, as well as boosted international police cooperation, yield concrete results," the Prime Minister pointed out.

When referring to the achievements of the negotiation process, the Prime Minister said that around 800 students and teachers attended one of the European universities, that Montenegro has achieved a national target of 33% of renewable energy sources in total final consumption and that the country has been successfully planned over EUR 260 million of non-refundable support from the European Union and achieved significant success in their use.

"Since 2014, within the framework of the Berlin Process, through the Western Balkan Investment Framework, Montenegro has received 120 million euros of EU support for seven infrastructure projects, with additional funds for project preparation. Finally, with regard to investment in infrastructure financed or co-financed by EU funds, during the first seven years of negotiations, funds of approximately EUR 167 million have been approved for infrastructure projects in various fields and for various purposes. When dealing with this topic, I want to look at an important fact that is being ignored when it comes to not only the presence but also the commitment of the EU to the Western Balkans. Many analyzes show that over the past 10 years, the European Union has invested over 8 billion euros in the region. Are our citizens familiar with the fact? Such data are often in the shadow of other, more bureaucratic messages, which, although they are also important, do not indicate the true extent of the Union's commitment to the Western Balkans and Montenegro. Such messages must come from high addresses of the Union, as well as from us who implement and promote the European Union's policy and its values. The perception must not be determined only by dry data, but by the overall picture of why the accession process is important and how important it is to both sides. Especially because the Union we are aiming for is undeniably more present than other actors in the region," Prime Minister Duško Marković pointed out.

The Prime Minister concluded by announcing new meetings with the non-governmental sector in order to re-ensure the synergy of the negotiation process.

"Cooperation with the civil sector and non-governmental organisations is an important part of the process. As we know, since the beginning of the negotiation process, we have been open to their contribution, and it has been very important in these seven years, both from the aspect of independent monitoring, but also in terms of providing knowledge the administration lacks. Lately, the Government has suffered constant criticism that we have abated our desire for such cooperation. In the context of the new approach, we will put this issue on the agenda by organising a meeting with all NGOs which take part in working groups and other relevant NGOs to restore confidence and synergy in this key process for us. The Government is, if it is wrong, ready to confess its mistake as it is ready for cooperation," Prime Minister Duško Marković stressed.

CEO of the Regional Office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation Max Brandle, the Executive Director of Centre for Civic Education Daliborka Uljarević, Chief Negotiator Aleksandar Drljević and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, Ambassador Aivo Orav, also spoke at the conference.

Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

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