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Gorčević at the SAA Committee: the Government’s priority is to speed up reforms and ensure EU membership

“The absolute priority of this Government is to accelerate reforms and guarantee Montenegro’s membership in the EU. This is our strategic obligation because we want the rule of law, long-term economic and political stability as well as freedom of expression to be our livelihood. That’s why our ambition is to finalize the negotiation process by the end of the Government’s mandate”, said Minister of European Affairs Maida Gorčević at the thirteenth meeting of the Stabilization and Association Committee between Montenegro and the European Union.

At today’s meeting of the Stabilization and Association Committee, the activities and results in all areas, which include 7 sectoral subcommittees and the Special Working Group for Public Administration Reform, were discussed.

The meeting was opened by the Minister of European Affairs, Maida Gorčević, and on behalf of the European Commission, the Director for the Western Balkans of the Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Valentina Superti, and co-chaired by Chief negotiator Predrag Zenović and Head of Unit D2 for Montenegro and Serbia in the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Michael Miller .

Minister Gorčević said that, along with the intensified dynamics of activities aspired at fulfilling the remaining temporary benchmarks in chapters 23 and 24 as soon as possible, Montenegro is working on rounding off all obligations from other negotiation chapters, as well as on the fulfillment of other closing benchmarks that will be specified through the creation of a Roadmap for closing all chapters.

She said that in the previous period, the Government worked to improve the living standards of citizens. “Let me remind you that in the short period we adopted the budget amendment for 2023, as well as the budget for 2024, in order to ensure constancy in meeting all the obligations of the state, but also to encourage the development of the living standards of the oldest population. We increased the capital budget by 40 million compared to last year and concentratedon rationalizing unproductive spending and developing the north. We ensured price stability and worked intensively on the legal framework in the direction of accelerated economic growth and development,” said Minister Gorčević. She reminded that Montenegro successfully carried out the population census, as a very complex process, demonstrating institutional and civil maturity and responsibility.

Director for the Western Balkans of the General Directorate for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Valentina Superti, said that EU Enlargement is back high on the agenda, and it is important that Montenegro seizes this opportunity and sustains the momentum.

” I welcome the steps already undertaken in the first months of the new Parliament and Government and wish to stress the need for Montenegro to continue to build consensus on EU-related reforms and take concrete steps to advance them“, said Superti.

She reminded that overall progress in the accession negotiations depends on progress in the area of rule of law, and that no further chapters will be provisionally closed before the interim benchmarks for chapters 23 and 24 are considered to have been fulfilled.

“In that light, Montenegro needs to further intensify its efforts to address outstanding issues in these chapters, including in the critical areas of judicial reform, freedom of expression and media freedom and fight against corruption and organised crime. “The implementation of adopted reforms and legislation remains crucial, in particular in this phase of the accession process,” said Superti.

She also pointed out the importance of Public Administration Reform and Economic Governance as well as economic development and competitiveness. In this context, she evoked the possibilities for accelerated integration into the EU Single Market, and pointed out the significance of EC support through the Growth Plan and the Instrument for Reform and Growth, which are intended for the countries of the Western Balkans.

At today’s meeting, the representatives of the EC and Montenegro discussed the achieved results and further obligations in the following areas: political criteria and public administration reform justice, freedom and security, economic governance, financial issues and statistics, internal market and competition, trade, industry, customs and taxation transport, environment, energy and regional development, agriculture and fisheries, innovation, human resources, info society, social policy, eu financial assistance.


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