„EU integration process remains key driving force of the reform processes in the Montenegrin society and connecting tissue towards dialogue and consensus of all its stakeholders”, pointed out Ms Zorka Kordić, Chief Negotiator of Montenegro, at the 11th meeting of Stabilisation and Association Committee between Montenegro and the EU, emphasising that Montenegro, with the continuing support of the EU, remains committed to implementing extensive political and economic reforms and obligations stemming from the accession negotiations, in line with expectations of our citizens who are strongly in favour of Montenegro’s membership in the EU.
The meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Committee, which was held in a virtual format due to Covid19 pandemic, discussed activities and results in the areas covered by all 7 sectorial Subcommittees, as well as the Special Working Group for Public Administration Reform.
The meeting was opened by Ms Michaela Matuella, the Acting Director for Western Balkans at the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement policy (DG NEAR) and Ms Zorka Kordić, Chief Negotiator for Montenegro’s EU accession process.
„Montenegro remains the most advanced country in the accession process and it should put additional efforts into strengthening reform activities in the coming period, with a particular emphasis on progress in the rule of law, as set out in the Negotiating Framework as well as the Revised methodology formally accepted by Montenegro”, Head of the Unit DG NEAR2 Michael Miller highlighted. Furthermore, he stressed that the progress towards meeting the rule of law interim benchmarks set under chapters 23 and 24 will be key to achieving further progress in moving towards this key milestone. Also, Mr Miller noted that high level of public support for EU accession in Montenegro represents additional impetus to Montenegro’s commitment towards the reform activities on the EU path.
Chief Negotiator Ms Kordić highlighted that Montenegro unequivocally follows its geostrategic orientation of the EU membership for the sake of achieving the best possible quality of life of our citizens, considering the European standards with which Montenegro continuously is harmonizing with. She pointed out that the European Commission is a key strategic partner of Montenegro and that the country follows EC’s guidelines in all areas of public policy reform processes. She noted that the system of strategic planning in the field of European integration was improved during the previous year, including the Action Plan for addressing the EC’s recommendations, and that the negotiating structure was completed and improved, which gave an additional impetus to the implementation of regular activities within the EU agenda.
„Fulfilment of remaining interim benchmarks in chapters 23 and 24 remains a key priority of all of our competent institutions and reform of judiciary is in the heart of the rule of law reform. This has been demonstrated by drafting the Action Plan addressing the recommendations from the EC Report on Montenegro 2021, as well as the focused Map for the Rule of Law reflecting both short-term and medium-term priorities, as well as the need for synergy of all the three branches of power“, Chief Negotiator Kordić pointed out. She highlighted that in this way, not only do the competent authorities show commitment to reforms and the EU accession process, but also responsibility towards the vast majority of citizens who support the EU accession process.
The meeting also underlined that good neighbourly relations and the regional cooperation are important elements of the EU accession process and that Montenegro cherishes constructive bilateral cooperation with the Western Balkan countries. In that regard, it was highlighted that Montenegro, as the most advanced country in the region when it comes to harmonisation of the national legislation with the EU acquis, sets a good example to the region and that the country can benefit from the Economic and Investment Plan in terms of using this plan in order to accelerate the accession process in specific areas even before the full-fledged membership in the EU.
GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTENEGRO
SECTOR FOR INFORMING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE EU AND THE EU ACCESSION PROCESS