With the constant support of the European Union, Montenegro moves forward with its track record and implementation of reforms towards full alignment with the EU acquis and European standards, regardless of circumstances and conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Subcommittee on Trade, Industry, Customs and Taxation emphasised.
At the 14th meeting of this Subcommittee between Montenegro and the European Union, which was held online, and which covered chapters 1 – Free Movement of Goods, 16 – Taxation, 20 – Enterprise and Industrial Policy, 29 – Customs Union and 30 – External Relations, representatives of the Montenegrin institutions presented the key achievements in these respective negotiation chapters.
„Organisation of this Subcommittee comes in a very significant moment, in due course to the forthcoming EC annual report on Montenegro for 2021, which represents clear and important guidelines for tracing the path towards meeting European standards and higher quality of life of our citizens“, Deputy Chief Negotiator Marko Mrdak highlighted.
The Deputy Chief Negotiator noted that this meeting reaffirms Montenegro’s commitment to all the core values cherished by the EU and voiced expectations that among negotiation chapters which are subject to this meeting a few of them are candidates for temporary closure once satisfactory results in the area of the rule of law are achieved. Furthermore, he stressed that Montenegro is making continuous efforts in order to fully harmonise its national legislation with the EU acquis in all areas covered by these five negotiation chapters.
Regarding Chapter 1 – Free Movement of Goods, Mr Mrdak particularly emphasised the fact that the Institute for Standardisation of Montenegro (ISME) has become a full member of the International Standardisation Organisation, highlighting that activities aimed at preparing application for membership of ISME in European organisations CEN/CENELEC by the end of 2021 are in progress, which will create additional impetus for removing barriers in trade.
Within Chapter 16 – Taxation, Mr Mrdak underlined that in accordance with the Law on Fiscalisation, the application of online fiscalisation in real time began on 1 June 2021 for all taxpayers, stressing that this new service will enable better insight and control of recorded turnover.
In the area of entrepreneurship and industrial policy, Mrdak particularly pointed out that Montenegro has completed its strategic framework in the area of Industrial policy and therefore fulfilled all the requirements defined within the sole closing benchmark. Nevertheless, he emphasised that continuous activities related to preparing legislative and strategic solutions aimed at improving the business environment, as well as providing financial support to micro, small and medium-sized companies and women’s entrepreneurship are in progress.
Deputy Head of the Unit for Montenegro and Serbia at Directorate General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) Barbara Jésus-Gimeno highlighted the EC’s full commitment to socio-economic recovery of Montenegro and its path towards the EU, stressing that the recent official visit of the president of the EC Ursula von der Leyen to Podgorica actually confirms support to Montenegro’s EU path.
She noted that Montenegro’s progress in free movement of goods (chapter 1), taxation (chapter 16), enterprise and industrial policy (chapter 20), customs (chapter 29) and trade (chapter 30), which were discussed at today’s meeting, is a pathway to recovery and EU membership. “Beyond hard work carried out at technical level, addressing these priorities will require a reinvigorated political focus, a functioning public administration and retaining the EU expertise built over the past years” she pointed out.
Ms Jésus-Gimeno added that the forthcoming EC report on Montenegro will provide clear guidelines for further progress in the EU accession process, emphasising that the adoption of the new Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III), and the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans are an investment in the EU and Montenegro’s common future.
GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTENEGRO
SECTOR FOR INFORMING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE EU AND THE EU ACCESSION PROCESS