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Božović: We will intensify our work on fulfilling obligations from the European agenda

“The Government of Montenegro continues to work even more intensively with the aim of fulfilling all the obligations defined by the European agenda. We have completed a large part of the most demanding obligations from Chapters 23 and 24, which, I am convinced, will significantly contribute to the fulfillment of the final benchmarks in other negotiation chapters and speed up the path to their temporary closure,” said State Secretary at the Ministry of European Affairs Bojan Božović.

Today, he opened the 17th meeting of the Subcommittee for Trade, Industry, Customs and Taxes between the EU and Montenegro.

Božović thanked the European Commission for its continuous commitment, which significantly contributes to Montenegro becoming the next member of the European Union.

Speaking about the areas that are part of this Subcommittee, which refer to chapters 1. Freedom of movement of goods, 16. Taxes, 20. Entrepreneurship and industrial policy, 29. Customs union and 30. External relations, Božović said that the activities are taking place accelerated dynamics and that Montenegro works dedicatedly on further harmonization and application of the adopted regulations.

He emphasized the belief that, apart from chapter 30. External relations, which is temporarily closed, Montenegro notes a good internal willingness to soon temporarily close chapters 1. Free movement of goods and 20. Entrepreneurial and industrial policy.

Acting Director General of the Directorate for International Cooperation, European Integration and Implementation of EU Funds in the Ministry of Economic Development, Ivona Savićević, said that the results achieved in the period between the two Subcommittee meetings are an indication that we are consistently following the European path with a clear vision, commitment and persistence.

“Our goal is to coordinate the engagement of all institutions and work daily on harmonizing domestic legislation with European regulations, their adequate application, building new institutions, strengthening existing capacities, as well as improving the necessary knowledge and skills and fulfilling the prerequisites for future entry into the EU,” Ms Savićević said. She also pointed out that we are determined to align legal framework with the EU standards, embracing the shared EU values.

Deputy Head of the Unit for Montenegro and Serbia in the General Directorate  for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Policy Cindy van den Boogert welcomed Montenegro’s strong focus in the past six months on delivering the reforms towards receiving Interim Benchmark Assessment Reports (IBAR) on the rule of law chapters 23 and 24.  This milestone opens the way for provisionally closing other accession negotiation chapters.

“Therefore the focus  on enterprise and industrial policy will need to be intensified to reach the stage that the chapter could be provisionally closed”, Ms van den Boogert stated.  On trade, the EU side welcomed Montenegro’s continuous alignment with the EU trade rules and trade positions. In the areas of customs and taxation, ways to ensure Montenegro’s interconnection to the IT systems of the EU was discussed.  The EU side stressed the opportunities under the New Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, including the Reform Agenda, to support Montenegro’s reforms and the accession process.

Representatives of the European Commission and Montenegrin institutions jointly assessed that in the period between the two meetings of the Subcommittees, Montenegro advanced in the field of trade, industry, customs and taxes, both in the area of harmonizing national legislation with the acquis of the EU, and in the area of strengthening administrative capacity. The participants of the meeting exchanged opinions regarding further plans and activities leading to the fulfillment of the conditions for the temporary closure of all chapters that are part of this Subcommittee.

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