By Adnan Prekic – Podgorica
Commenting on the annual report of the European Commission about Montenegro Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic said that a report noted the progress made by Montenegro in all areas and made recommendations for meeting future reforms. He said he believed that Brussels would create additional investment framework that will help the region to quickly overcome economic disparities in relation to other member countries.The new European Commission report on Montenegro note modest progress in Montenegro’s membership negotiations, but not in some key areas, such as the judiciary and the fight against organised crime and corruption.
The key topic of the negotiations with Montenegro, the Prime Minister said, is the rule of law, which is one of the most important questions for further economic progress of the region.”I believe that the EU will understand the appeals from the region and that Brussels will create the additional investment framework that will help us overcome the hard economic legacy we are lacking, especially in terms of infrastructure. Without addressing these issues there will not be new jobs, and consequently no quality rule of law and development of democracy”, said the prime minister.
Djukanovic said that in that fight serious disadvantage was the fact that new Chief State Prosecutor has been appointed only two days ago.”This has affected the quality of the process. Now we have also completed that infrastructure, and showed that there is no basis for suspicion, which comes mainly from Montenegro, whether the government is ready and if there is political will for this fight. We passed laws, complete the institutions”, he said.
Djukanovic said that the report registered progress in meeting the political and economic criteria. “Recommendations are a credible and benevolent partner side view, which helps us to objectively read forthcoming, not so small obligation in the EU accession”, he said.
He reiterated that the fight against corruption and organized crime is important obligation of the state. Commenting on the balance clause, which provides for possible suspension of negotiations if there is no progress in the rule of law, Djukanovic said that it was built in the negotiations primarily because of the experience of accession of previous candidates.”The EU did it rightly because the rule of law is one of the crucial problems of our societies, but not the most important. Croatia had no such clause, but there was a suspension of negotiations. Also, a candidate may suspend the negotiations, as did Island. This is the essence of partnership between the EU and candidate countries”, Djukanovic said.
The new EU report on Montenegro will likely be more citical than previous ones, stressing the need for judicial reforms and guarantees of media freedom. The European Commission concluded that the country continues to sufficiently meet the political criteria, made further progress in establishing a functioning market economy and has improved its ability to take on the obligations of EU membership. EU will note modest progress in Montenegro’s membership negotiations – but not in some key areas, such as the judiciary and the fight against organised crime and corruption.