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PM Marković: Montenegro advances well in EU negotiation process, changes to negotiation rules should not be applied retroactively

PM Marković: Montenegro advances well in EU negotiation process, changes to negotiation rules should not be applied retroactively
Published date: 15.01.2020 13:10 | Author: PR Service

Ispis Print

Podgorica, Montenegro (15 January 2020) -- Our country understands the situation of the European Union, it is already negotiating on the most stringent criteria so far, as a leader of integration it cannot be compared with the countries that are just beginning negotiations and the process changes should not be applied retroactively, Prime Minister Duško Marković stated earlier today. 

"Although we are not advocates of 'changing the rules in the middle of the game', to some extent we agree that the negotiation process should be made more concrete and measurable and its results clearer and more visible to both, the actors in the accession process and all citizens in Montenegro. Montenegro is not in the same position as the other region countries that have yet to start negotiations, which is why we believe, the process changes should not be applied retroactively. We remain open for discussion and cooperation, with the highlighted need to provide an adequate evaluation of the results we have achieved so far, which is important for maintaining the credibility of the enlargement process," the Prime Minister noted earlier today at the presentation of the priorities of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which was organised by the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia, in Podgorica. 

Our country negotiates on the most stringent criteria that the European Union has ever had within the enlargement policy and in such conditions, with a relatively young administration, we are at the forefront of the European integration, the Prime Minister stated, addressing the ambassadors of the EU member states. 

"In the eighth year of the negotiation experience, we are firmly committed to the EU accession as the only option for Montenegrin society, although we finished last year, for the first time, without opening the last remaining negotiating chapter - Chapter 8," the Prime Minister pointed out. He added that Montenegro is ready to share its experiences with other countries of the Western Balkans region.

"We will continue to support our neighbours in the integration process and share experiences from that process. In this context, we expect Northern Macedonia and Albania will receive the long-awaited date of opening negotiations with the EU, during the Croatian Presidency, thus moving the region more dynamically towards fulfilling its European obligations," the Prime Minister stressed.

We expect the opening of the last chapter 

The Prime Minister said that Montenegro will continue to fulfil its obligations from the integration process with dedication.
"We expect intensification of activities towards the opening of the last Chapter 8 - Competition, as well as the closure of those negotiation chapters that can be ready in the relatively short term. For example: Chapter 3 - Right of establishment and freedom to provide services, Chapter 6 - Company law, Chapter 7 - Intellectual property law, Chapter 10 - Information society and media, Chapter 20 - Enterprise and industrial policy, Chapter 21 - Trans - European networks, Chapter 28 - Consumer and health protection and Chapter 31 - Foreign, Security and Defence Policy. Our goal is to obtain a Report on meeting the provisional benchmarks for Chapters 23 and 24. This would give Montenegro the final tasks to boost the rule of law system and thus enter a more advanced phase of the negotiation process, which also implies the temporary closure of chapters. This year, the Government's focus is on further strengthening of institutions, maintaining of dynamic economic development, reducing of unemployment and continuation of public finances stabilisation," Prime Minister Duško Marković noted.

The Prime Minister emphasised that our country is aware of the complexity the Croatian Presidency carries, in relation to the challenges, first of all the Brexit, the issue of the multi-annual EU budget, the begin of the new Commission work, but also added that Montenegro especially appreciates that the enlargement issue is one of the key aspects, within the fourth priority – the Influential Europe.

"Following the current exchange of views on the European scene and an initiative on the new methodology of the enlargement process, at the same time, we focus our efforts and capacities on the consistent fulfilment of the obligations from the accession process, without shrinking from challenges. From the point of view of establishing "control mechanisms" in the form of benchmarks, which are very effective and meaningful, the experience of Croatia’s accession to the European Union is of great significance to us. … In addition to the symbolic importance of hosting the WB-EU Summit in May this year, twenty years after the Summit in Zagreb, we believe that this parallel can also play an essential role towards the efforts to determine more closely and precisely the future of the EU enlargement policy and the negotiation process as a whole," the Prime Minister noted.

NATO membership is already delivering results

Effects of NATO membership to the economic plan are already visible in the progress of Montenegro in all areas, the Prime Minister highlighted. 

"Today, Montenegro is one of the fastest growing economies in the Europe. High rates of economic growth and a significant domestic and foreign investment activity, have led to an increase in the number of employees and a decrease in the number of unemployed in Montenegro," said the Prime Minister.

At the meeting with ambassadors, Prime Minister Duško Marković recalled that Montenegro is one of Europe's fastest growing economies, noting that high rates of economic growth and significant domestic and foreign investment activity have led to an increase in the number of employees and a decrease in the number of unemployed in Montenegro.

Montenegro is the subject of a hybrid warfare

"In addition to the recording of the positive economic trends, Montenegro is continually confirming itself as a politically and democratically stable environment for all its citizens. As we have witnessed over the past couple of weeks, we have been able to preserve the safety and basic values that our society heritage, despite the many subversive activities we have been exposed to," the Prime Minister stated.

He added that our country, in an exemplary and responsible way, as it suits NATO member state and countries that are deeply in the process of the European integration, has resisted inappropriate and aggressive media campaigns with a lot of disinformation and fake news aimed at disturbing the public and citizens and inciting riots and instability.

"As you know, from the preparation of the draft Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Legal Status of Religious Communities in 2015 to its adoption, extensive and detailed consultations have been held with all religious communities and other interested entities in Montenegro. After we accepted all the proposals of religious communities that were in line with international legal standards and the public interest, the opinion of the Venice Commission, whose recommendations were included in the text of the Law, was requested. It implements the basic constitutional principles on freedom of religion and equality of all before the law and affirms the secular character of Montenegrin society and the state, as well as the equality of all religious communities. We remain open to inclusive dialogue and law enforcement support to all religious communities and to discuss the conditions for concluding a basic agreement with the Mitropolinate of Montenegro and Littoral, when they express its readiness," Prime Minister Duško Marković stated earlier today, at a meeting with ambassadors of the EU Member States, organised by the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia to present the priorities of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.