EU-Montenegro Stabilization and Association Council in Podgorica

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, as well as the representatives of the Government of Montenegro and the Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement of the European Union, Olivér Várhelyi, welcomed on Thursday the progress made on the issue of European integration in Regarding Podgorica and have tackled the upcoming challenges.

“The participants agreed on Montenegro’s strategic ambitions to move forward in the EU accession negotiations, taking into account the reform process,” the statement said.

Borrell and Várhelyi traveled to Montenegro to attend the EU-Montenegro Stabilization and Association Council, a meeting held in the country’s capital and also attended by Prime Minister Dritan Abazović.

The parties have underlined their “expectations for a lasting political commitment to reach a consensus between the relevant institutions and actors in order to carry out the necessary reform”. However, they recognized that there are challenges and the European side called on Montenegro to “continue to work on the implementation of all relevant aspects” in order to achieve accession in a process dating back to 2005.

The EU called on Montenegro to accelerate the implementation of all EU financial support, in particular the programmes entrusted to Montenegro under indirect management.

“As Montenegro’s largest provider of financial assistance, the EU reiterated its commitment to assist Montenegro in intensifying reform work, with a clear focus on well-known critical rule of law gaps through thorough planning. It also underlined that strengthening the rule of law, together with the capacity of the Public Administration, as well as undertaking economic and social reforms is required to maximize the impact of the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans”, said a statement./EWB