Montenegro 2016 Report adopted by European Commission: Good progress made, more track record expected for future
Podgorica, Montenegro (9 November 2016) — The European Commission adopted today its annual Enlargement Package, which includes the 2016 Report of Montenegro. It assesses where the countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey stand in implementing key political and economic reforms, and what needs to be done to address the remaining challenges. Among other things, the Commission recommends that Member States consider opening accession negotiations with Albania.
When it comes to Montenegro, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn said that Montenegro continues to make progress on its EU path: “The fact that Montenegro stuck to its EU-orientation despite pressure, as well as to joining NATO, have to be highlighted.”
Chief Negotiator for Montenegro's Accession to EU Aleksandar Andrija Pejović emphasised that this has been the most positive report so far and the best progress compared to other enlargement countries.
Prime Minister Milo Đukanović told Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro Aiva Orav that the Government of Montenegro will have a responsible attitude towards the European Commission’s evaluations and recommendations for further improvement of the negotiating process and take them into account when defining the Government’s Plan of Action and Programme of Montenegro's Accession to the European Union.
In the 2016 Report on Montenegro it was reiterated that Montenegro received an invitation to join NATO in December 2015, which is an important achievement, as well as the past year saw the continuation of accession negotiations with the EU. The report stresses that Montenegro continues to play a constructive role in regional cooperation.
The report stated that the parliamentary elections were conducted under a substantially revised legal framework and, overall, in a more participatory and transparent manner. It has been assessed that Montenegro is moderately prepared with the reforms of its public administration and that it is necessary to strengthen the administrative capacities for ensuring the application of the acquis. “Some progress has been made notably with the adoption of the Public Administration Reform Strategy 2016-2020, the public financial management reform programme, the entry into force of the new law on salaries and the simplification of administrative procedures,” it is stated in the Report.
Although Montenegro made some progress in the field of the judicial system, the new legislative framework for increasing the independence, accountability and professionalism of the judiciary, as well as the code of ethics, is yet to be fully implemented, it is noted.
The report underscores that Montenegro’s EU agenda is focused on reforms concerning the rule of law. The legal framework in this area law is now largely complete and the institutional set-up is in place. The entire rule of law system now needs to deliver more results, in particular to strengthen the track-record in the fight against corruption and organised crime. Progress on the rule of law chapters will continue to determine the pace of accession negotiations overall, it is highlighted.
Concerning the economy, it is noted that Montenegro should focus in particular on competition, fiscal, economic, and monetary policy.