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Yttre förbindelser: Environment, fight against crime and regional politics on the menu with Montenegrin Prime Minister

Published date: 25.06.2008 10:50 | Author: Kliping inostranih medija

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Environment, fight against crime and regional politics on the menu with Montenegrin Prime Minister

External relations - 23-06-2008 - 20:10
"After the Irish referendum, it is important that this week-end's summit has reaffirmed the EU's commitment to the European perspective of the Western Balkans," said Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister of Montenegro on Monday. In an exchange of views with Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs, the Prime Minister talked about the environment, the fight against organised crime, and Montenegro's relations with its neighbours.

EP rapporteur Marcello Vernola (EPP-ED, IT), expressed concern about the state of Montenegro's environment, urging the Prime Minister "not to let your coastline be converted into a concrete jungle." Urban planning was essential to maintain the rich environmental wealth of the country, he said. The Prime Minister replied that "we have a chapter in our constitution on the environment," and said balancing foreign investment with sound environmental policy was one of the most important missions of his government.

Gisela Kallenbach (Greens/EFA, DE), asked what concrete steps Montenegro was taking to fight organised crime and reform the judiciary. The Prime Minister replied that since organised crime had been addressed in the criminal code in 2004, 52 convictions had been achieved, that the judiciary had reduced its backlog by 60-70% to date, and should catch up with its entire backlog of cases by the end of the year.

Regional politics and European integration

Evgeni Kirilov (PES, BG), asked Mr Djukanovic for an assessment of Serbia's future. The Prime Minister said he was "cautiously optimistic" that a government would soon be formed, but that it would not be easy. Answering questions about his country's relations with Kosovo and Serbia, the Prime Minister said he would always follow Montenegro's national interest, which would best be served if the entire Western Balkans joined the European Union. "There is no alternative to the expansion of the EU into the Western Balkans," he said, while noting that Montenegro is "not rushing to become an EU member in the hope that this will resolve all our problems."

Environment, fight against crime and regional politics on the menu with Montenegrin Prime Minister