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Tivat - Duško Marković, Federica Mogherini: Montenegro is making great progress towards EU

Tivat - Duško Marković, Federica Mogherini: Montenegro is making great progress towards EU
Published date 19.04.2018 17:30 | Author PR Service

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Tivat, Montenegro (19 April 2018) -- Prime Minister Duško Marković and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini agreed earlier today in Tivat, following their official meeting, that Montenegro is making good progress in the European accession process and that it retains the role of a forerunner country in the region.

"The doors of the European Union are open for you. This is clearly set out in the strategy for the Western Balkans the European Union issued in February. When it comes to Montenegro specifically, we mentioned that we see some very encouraging progress in particular on the public administration reform and economic issues, and we know how much relevance these issues have for the citizens. Montenegro needs to make further progress in the rule of law and the media freedom," High Representative Mogherini told a press conference.

Prime Minister Marković said that the European Commission's report rated Monteneg as a country that is making good progress in European integration, and that the report identified shortcomings that need to be further addressed during the integration process.

"I want to assure you that we have observed these shortcomings and weaknesses ourselves and that at the beginning of this year we held a special session of the Government at which we adopted the Dynamic Plan, so that these shortcomings can be resolved better and that we respond more responsibly to the challenges. I believe that such an approach will result in the opening of the three remaining chapters in 2018. We will do everything to fulfil the provisional benchmarks for chapters 23 and 24, thus creating a key and important assumption for entering the next phase of the negotiation process, which implies closing chapters and creating preconditions for accelerated and high-quality overall reforms in Montenegro," said Prime Minister Marković.

Entire region is progressing towards EU, Montenegro aligned with EU foreign policy

PM Marković stressed that Montenegro considers the decision of the European Commission to recommend the start of negotiations with Albania and Macedonia very important for the entire region of the Western Balkans.

"I want to express my special gratitude for your visit to Montenegro. I also want to take this opportunity to personally thank you for the efforts and actions that to make Montenegro and the Western Balkans as a whole have a clear and certain European perspective. I also want to thank President of the European Commission [Jean-Claude] Juncker and Enlargement Commissioner [Johannes] Hahn for their attitude and approach, which clearly indicate that the Western Balkans belongs to Europe and that the candidate countries should do everything to implement social reforms and secure their clear European perspective," Prime Minister Marković underscored.

He added that all this clearly indicates that the Western Balkans is moving forward, that the European perspective of the region is clear and certain, and that now all of us, including the candidate countries, should do everything to fulfil their obligations and create conditions for joining the European Union.

High Representative Mogherini especially praised the country's extremely consistent policy on foreign and security policy.

"Montenegro is 100% aligned with our foreign and security policy positions. This shows that we are really on the same page, both in our analyses and in our activities and particularly diplomatic activities. In these turbulent times, this it is extremely important," High Representative Mogherini noted.

Journalists' questions: Balance clause, EU without the Ministry...

Prime Minister Duško Markovic was asked by a journalists to comment on the request of certain non-governmental organisations to activate the balance clause. He pointed out that he still thinks that this request is a peculiar and unacceptable act.

"I do not think that any citizen of Montenegro, regardless of the problems they are dealing with, no representative of institutions or public and political life should ask to stop the process that brings progress and higher quality of life. It was done three days before the elections. It is clear that it implies a political attitude," said the Prime Minister, adding that the fact that the European Commission notes in its report that Montenegro has made progress best refutes the meaning of the request.

The EU High Representative responded to the same question by saying that the balance clause could be activated when there is no progress or there is a setback that, in her words, in the EU negotiations with Montenegro is definitely not the case.

Responding to a journalist’s question on how the negotiations will continue, if the decision to abolish the current Ministry of European Affairs is taken, Prime Minister Marković said that he is closest to the decision to establish the Office of the Chief Negotiator at the Office of the Prime Minister.