In the continuation of the European integration, Montenegro needs cohesion and cooperation of all segments of society, to make the process successful, Prime Minister Duško Marković and EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi jointly concluded earlier today, following a meeting in Podgorica.
“I informed the Commissioner about the Government initiative, sent to political and social actors for dialogue on electoral conditions and all issues significant to our European agenda. The common interest of the integration in the European Union goes beyond other interests and ambitions, and in this regard it is significant that everyone sees the upcoming elections as a fair game. In the next, final and most demanding phase of integration, it is necessary that we show political maturity and capacity on the European issues. The results of a recent opinion poll, which showed that Montenegrin citizens overwhelmingly believe in the European Union and the benefits that a membership brings to them, give an additional incentive and accountability to the Government and all political actors on that path”, Marković stated at a joint press conference after the meeting.
Bringing an important message to the country, the European Commissioner stated that Montenegro can not be successful, unless everyone works towards that direction.
“So the opposition must work on achieving success in Montenegro. I would also like to ask the opposition for cooperation with the ruling parties now in power. The situation may be different after the elections, you just never know, governments come and go, but the country always tackles the same challenges – the reforms that are necessary to become an EU member. So, I am addressing the opposition with the aim that they also participate in the elections, to establish a national minimum, to make sure that regardless of who is in the majority, reforms will always be implemented”, Commissioner Várhelyi stated.
Talking about the new methodology of the European Commission, Prime Minister Marković, stated that the European Commissioner informed him about the basics of this approach and that the country would carefully consider these aspects.
“Montenegro, as you know, has opened all, except one of the chapters. It has been noted that, as we expected, the new methodology does not apply to us. However, recognising the importance we attach to all efforts, aimed at maintaining the credibility of the European perspective, as a responsible partner of the European Union, we will carefully consider what this approach brings and see how this approach of the European Commission can be a new added value for our negotiation process. This is also compatible with our commitment, which highlights the quality of reforms at the forefront. With the support to the ambitions of the European Commission and the Member States to reform the negotiation process so that candidate countries reach the ultimate goal of EU membership, as best and as quickly as possible, I am convinced that the process itself should be not only bureaucratic and administrative, but also substantive and political. We believe that these reflections have also helped to look at the process towards this direction, so that citizens can better benefit from the reforms,” Prime Minister Duško Marković stated.
Prime Minister Duško Marković and Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi agreed on the need to further accelerate reforms and shared a position on the priorities in the process.
Speaking about the Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Legal Status of Religious Communities, the Prime Minister said that the Law was adopted in line with the countries’ sovereign right to regulate this area in accordance with the best international standards and practices and the recommendations of the Venice Commission.
“I informed the Commissioner about the Government’s initiative and my letter to the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral to jointly look at the best solutions for the implementation of the Law and the signing of a basic agreement, which is always a desirable model in state relations with the church. In this manner, we are once again demonstrating the democratic capacity to resolve all issues and dilemmas, through dialogue and discussion, thereby strengthening relations of mutual trust and respect”, the Prime Minister pointed out.
This is a problem area, which the European Union does not deal with, but national legislation, the Commissioner stressed.
“We also briefly addressed the issue of the Law on Freedom of Religion. It’s not up to the Commission to talk about it, it’s up to every country to design their own system in that part. But the only advice I will give you, and today I will meet with the Metropolitan, is that the world is watching you, this is an important issue for everyone and we are interested in the dialogue. I would encourage everyone to talk and find a solution, which will be acceptable for everyone. Therefore, if we can help you towards that direction, I don’t think we can, but if we can, we are here and it would really be a priority to find a solution to this issue”, the Commissioner noted./ibna