Naslovnica Info Press info MEP expects closing benchmarks for Chapters 23 and 24 in June

MEP expects closing benchmarks for Chapters 23 and 24 in June

The Ministry of European Affairs expects that Montenegro will get the closing benchmarks for chapters 23 and 24 in June, after which we can begin closing individual chapters in the negotiations with the European Union (EU), CDT’s “Action” podcast estimated.

“We expect that the Intergovernmental Conference will take place in June, during the Belgian presidency, and that at that conference we will receive the adopted IBAR report on the fulfillment of the temporary benchmarks. And of course, receiveing the closing benchmarks from the Commission is probably a technical issue now. That’s what we strive for, to get IBAR, because it means that we can already close some ready chapters, that we don’t have an obstacle to close further chapters, since the new methodology implies that no new chapters can be closed before meeting temporary benchmarks in chapteres 23-24, said the Chief negotiator with the EU, Predrag Zenović.

He added that the level of optimism at the EU level, when it comes to Montenegro, is significantly higher than it was before.

“Everything depends on us at this moment. At the Intergovernmental Conference we attended, incredibly positive indicators were indeed sent to Montenegro. “Probably because of its foreign policy and its alignment with the EU’s security policy, but also because of very important appointments that set the functionality of the political-institutional system of Montenegro,” Zenović said.

He pointed out that the International Conference is an expression of the will of the member states that ultimately decide on the Report on the IBAR and on the membership of states that have candidate status, expressing expectations about the progress of Montenegro at the next conference.

The Minister of European Affairs, Maida Gorčević, said that this department produced great results, and that it was the ministry headed by it that produced the greatest results during the 100 days of the Government’s work.

She assessed that European integration is a priority for the work of the Government and the Parliament, that in the previous period they managed to complete the entire negotiation structure, which, as she said, will have its first sessions in the next month and make plans for the next period.

“Everything starts from the political will we showed in the first three months. The issue of European integration is an issue for all of us, success is only guaranteed if we work together”, said Gorčević and added that the European Commission (EC) expects dialogue and political readiness.

Democratization of institutions will not come “by itself”

Speaking about the democratization of institutions, Gorčević said that it is not something that will come by itself, but that we have to work on it.

“I think it is neither mature nor wise to start such processes after 100 days of government. We have to see some challenges ourselves and see the needs of citizens. I think that for some issues it is necessary for a year to pass”, the minister added.

Milica Kovačević from the Center for Democratic Transition referred to the examples of proposals and adoption of laws by the Parliament that we had in the previous period, which were contrary to the recommendations of the European Commission or the Venice Commission.

Answering the question whether the MEP has a mechanism to circumvent such situations, the minister said that in the previous period there was no intention to circumvent EU regulations.

“We can’t promise that we won’t miss something, whoever works makes mistakes. Maybe we ran a little out of ignorance, insufficient checks or lack of communication,” explained the minister.

Gorčević assessed that the focus is on chapters 23 and 24, but that work is being done on other chapters at the same time.

The minister added that the opposition should be included in the entire process.

“I am glad that they supported some appointments, because in that way they supported the path of European integration, not declaratively but essentially,” she added.

The process of EU integration is not a set of tasks

Zenović, commenting on the Draft Justice Reform Strategy with the accompanying action plan, said that the process of European integration should not be about “doing certain tasks”, but that it implies a real commitment to reforming the system.

“It is a process of transformation of society and true reform, and it must be so in every segment. If the Strategy and the law are a temporary benchmark for us now, the final benchmark will be full implementation. And if we run over something now, it will wait for us”, said Zenović.

When asked whether they have political and administrative support in the negotiation process, the chief negotiator with the EU said that in his previous experience in that position, he witnessed the helpfulness and openness of the officials.

There is administrative and official apathy, which, as he said, is natural for a long process of negotiations, but also that in Montenegro there is institutional memory, knowledge and sufficient capacity for that process.


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