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PM Krivokapić meets with EU Special Representative for Western Balkans Miroslav Lajčák: This Government has a chance to bring Montenegro to EU membership

PM Krivokapić meets with EU Special Representative for Western Balkans Miroslav Lajčák: This Government has a chance to bring Montenegro to EU membership
Published date 04.03.2021 21:00 | Author PR Service

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Podgorica, Montenegro (4 March 2021) - Prime Minister of Montenegro Zdravko Krivokapić met today in Villa Gorica with EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and Western Balkans Miroslav Lajčák.

Prime Minister Krivokapić thanked Lajčák for his continuous support, saying that Montenegro's strategic goal is EU membership.

"We see our future exclusively in the EU and we will take all necessary steps to justify the expectations of our citizens," Krivokapić said.

PM Krivokapić stressed that Montenegro is committed to strong reforms in the area of the rule of law.

"We strive for our country to get final benchmarks for Chapters 23 and 24 in 2021. In this way, conditions would be created for intensifying reform activities in the field of rule of law, and at the same time give impetus to speed up negotiations in all other negotiating chapters of the acquis," said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister stressed that it is certain that in-depth reforms are needed in terms of the efficiency of the prosecution. He briefed Lajčák on changes to prosecutorial laws, noting that as the Prime Minister he had appealed to the Parliament to hold public hearings and consultations with key European partners before passing all systemic laws in the area of the rule of law, including prosecution laws – the European Commission and the Venice Commission. Krivokapić also said that the suspension of the criminal proceeding in the "Envelope" case is proof of the weakness of the judiciary. He also cites the case of the Special State Prosecutor as a problem, which, as he stated, led to the Prosecutor's Office losing its reputation. Krivokapić said that the problem in Montenegro is not the laws, but their implementation.

The Prime Minister noted that the Government is ready to face its biggest challenges, but that it needs support and clear indicators for more dynamic progress in the European integration process.

Lajčák said that he was glad to continue the conversation he and Krivokapić started in Brussels, saying that Montenegro and the Western Balkans are the center of attention and interest of the EU.

"Regardless of all the challenges that the EU is currently facing, we remain consistent with the policy of EU enlargement, and Montenegro is the most advanced in that process and should retain the status of leader. We look at you as a partner, because direction of Montenegro's foreign policy is clear. If you persevere on this path, you can become the Prime Minister who will bring Montenegro into the EU," Lajčák said.

He said that Montenegro's trump card is full compliance with the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy.

He pointed out that the Government's priority must be measurable results in Chapters 23 and 24.

"An expert government can bring perspective and expertise in this process. For this to happen you must take full responsibility for using existing laws to strengthen the rule of law. The State must act more convincingly in cases of corruption," Lajčák said.

He also said that he wanted to encourage government representatives to consult with the European Union when making any important decision.

"Montenegro already has bodies and mechanisms in place to ensure judicial and prosecutorial independence and accountability, and should make further progress, not regress, in implementing judicial reform. We encourage you to consistently use these mechanisms and build on what has already been achieved, in order to achieve further results in the fight against corruption and organized crime. You will have the full expert assistance of the European Commission to find the best solutions and improve regulations," said the EU Special Representative for the Western Balkans.

Lajčák said that Montenegro needs stable institutions and professional people who are elected in a transparent manner and based on merit, who are loyal to the state, and not to political parties.

Krivokapić also informed Lajčák about the problems that Montenegro is facing, which are caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also stated that the Government has tightened the control of the existing measures, in order to avoid the full lockdown, which would cause great damage to Montenegrin economy. Furthermore, Krivokapić emphasised that the lack of unity is a problem in the fight against coronavirus.

"This is not the time for one-upmanship, but for solidarity and unity," Krivokapić said.

OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER