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On eve of Trieste Summit: Montenegro is for regional cooperation, but EU integration remains crucial

On eve of Trieste Summit: Montenegro is for regional cooperation, but EU integration remains crucial
Published date 10.07.2017 18:03 | Author PR Service

Ispis Print

Podgorica, Montenegro (10 July 2017) -- On the eve of the Summit of Western Balkan countries in Trieste, Prime Minister’s Adviser for Economic Affairs and Sub-Coordinator of the Working Group of the Government of Montenegro for the field of economic integration as part of the preparation of activities in the framework of the Berlin Process Nina Vujošević announced today that Montenegro will support the Action Plan for the Regional Economic Space and Regional Cooperation in general, but exclusively in the existing legal framework. In an integration sense, the key priority of our country remains to complete the process of joining the European Union, as she stressed.

“The Trieste Summit will consider the Consolidated Multi-Annual Action Plan for the Regional Economic Space for the six countries of the Western Balkans. Montenegro fully supports all the activities that lead to the harmonisation of the countries in the enlargement process, i.e. to the integration into the single market of the European Union. In this context, the fact that we have recently closed Negotiating Chapter 30 – External Relations, which sets trade policy towards third countries, best speaks about how European standards should be prepared and adopted. We are slowly completing our obligations in the area of closing negotiation chapters and therefore we fully support all activities that support countries in the enlargement process to align themselves with the Acquis Communautaire as soon as possible,” Prime Minister’s Adviser Nina Vujošević said.

Cooperation within CEFTA 

Prime Minister’s Adviser Nina Vujošević stated that there were several initiatives to strengthen regional economic integration in the Western Balkans at the beginning of the year, mentioning the “customs union” and “common market” of the Western Balkan region. As she said, this was also discussed at the meeting of the presidents of Western Balkan countries and the representatives of the European Commission in Sarajevo in March this year, adding that in the integration sense, the key priority of Montenegro has been and remains the process of integration into the European Union. 

“After the meeting in Sarajevo, in order to examine the possibilities of strengthening regional economic cooperation within the real possibilities of deepening this cooperation, technical meetings were held, attended by representatives of the governments of the Western Balkan countries, the European Commission, the Regional Cooperation Council, the CEFTA Secretariat and World Bank. Also, several meetings were held at a high political level on the consideration of the possibilities of strengthening regional economic cooperation in several areas. Montenegro’s position and of course our support are focused on everything that is complementary to this process,” the Prime Minister’s Adviser said.

Legal basis

Prime Minister’s Adviser Nina Vujošević explained that the meetings agreed to continue strengthening regional economic integration through the development of regional economic space within the six Western Balkan countries, in four areas: trade, investment, mobility, and digitalisation.

The Consolidated Multi-Annual Action Plan for Regional Economic Space for the six Western Balkan countries will be implemented in the CEFTA legal framework and in accordance with the Stabilisation and Association Agreement of each of the countries in the region.

Content and dynamics of implementation of the Action Plan

The Action Plan envisages that it will not limit the countries of the region to conduct their own trade politics. The essence of the Action Plan is to strengthen regional cooperation in the four areas mentioned above.

When it comes to the field of trade, this will be done through trade simplification, the elimination of certain, especially non-tariff barriers in trade, and the simplification of trade in services. In the area of investment, the emphasis is on creating a regional investment agenda for reforms in the region that will encourage greater inflow of investments in the region and strengthening the promotion of the region as an investment destination. Concerning the mobility as the third area that is the subject of this Action Plan, the emphasis is on increasing mobility of researchers, removing or accelerating activities on recognition of academic and professional qualifications for doctors, dentists, architects, and construction engineers. For the area of digitalisation, as the fourth area in the Action Plan, the activities are envisaged to encourage the development of digital infrastructure, to create an economic space without roaming, to harmonise spectrum policy, to improve internet safety, and the like.

The Consolidated Multi-Annual Action Plan contains the dynamics for implementation of the activities by 2020, with some activities by 2023, in order to improve the existing regional cooperation by creating an economic space for the four areas that are its subject.

Also, the implementation of the measures from the Action Plan will be carried out using the efficiency of existing institutions: the CEFTA Secretariat and the Regional Cooperation Council, which will be responsible for reporting on the application of this Action Plan.