25 October 2019 - Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and the newly appointed Western Balkans Representative for the United States State Department, Matthew Palmer, recently stated that Montenegro is a leader in the region when it comes to EU accession, reports CdM. However, he also pointed out that Montenegro must remain very focused on the forthcoming period and try to accelerate activities to implement all the required reforms related to strengthening the rule of law and freedom of the media, and the fight against organized crime and corruption.
At the Senate hearing of the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, Mr Palmer pointed out that the Western Balkans region needed the more active presence of the EU.
Speaking about Montenegro, Palmer said that the country is a regional leader, thanks to its peaceful, multi-ethnic society and rapidly growing economy.
“NATO accession in 2017 was a very important step forward for Montenegro”, Palmer concluded.
He also considered political circumstances in the region.
“While the USA supports desire of the nations and governments of the Western Balkans for safer, more prosperous and more democratic future, I can’t tell the same for all foreign actors acting in the region”, said Palmer and added that Russia’s intention “is to encourage divisions and prevent Euro-Atlantic integration of the region”.
Therefore, he says, the USA must increase their own engagement in the WB region. “Just sending messages isn’t enough. We must be more present and invest in the region,” said Palmer.
Serbia’s failure to recognize Kosovo is Moscow’s greatest trump card, thinks Mr Palmer. He sees Turkey as an important player in the Balkans, as Turkey regards the region as “its own yard”.