Through the new European Commission Progress Report on Montenegro, which is an objective and realistic depiction of the situation in the country in terms of European integration, we have received clear guidelines in which direction we should work to achieve the strategic goal – full EU membership, said Montenegro Prime Minister Duško Marković at a meeting with Head of Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro Oana Cristina Popa.
“It is clear what our key challenges are. In the first place, it is a continuation of the institutional strengthening of the country, which includes rationalization, but also greater efficiency and responsibility”, Marković said.
Presenting the report briefly, Ambassador Popa said that progress had been noted in some areas, but that there had been no progress in some areas.
“This is not a political report, but a working document that should provide assistance to the Government in creating reforms, all for the benefit of Montenegrin citizens”, Ambassador Popa noted.
Both sides agreed that in the coming period the focus should be on the rule of law, justice, freedom of expression and strengthening competitiveness, economic and monetary policy in Montenegro.
Ambassador Popa assessed that it is important for all parties to reach a consensus on the strategic goal – Montenegro’s accession to the European Union.
“Montenegro must continue its path to European integration, on which it will not chase deadlines, but will be committed to reforms and fulfilment of obligations”, the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Marković said that the Democratic Party of Socialists would be a constructive opposition in the Parliament, ready to contribute to the consensus on the choice of judicial and prosecutorial bodies and functions within democratic processes, which we see as an important contribution to the continuation of the negotiation process.
PM Marković and Ambassador Popa emphasised the importance of the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, which will encourage economic growth and development, but also prepare the region’s markets for entering the European common market.
Meanwhile, EU Delegation to Montenegro announced that the European Commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Montenegro and provided the first instalment of the support in the form of highly favourable loans worth €30 million, intended for limiting the economic fallout of the COVID-19 epidemic.
“This is only part of the support available to Montenegro within of the Macro-Financial Assistance Programme worth up to €60 million. This form of support complements the previously approved €53 million, which the European Union granted to Montenegro for the procurement of urgent medical equipment and for assisting the socially underprivileged individuals, entrepreneurs, companies, the health sector and other sectors that have been most seriously affected by the COVID-19 crisis,” said EU Delegation in press release.
The disbursement of the second and final instalment of the support in the form of favourable loans, up to the total amount of €60 million, will be conditional on Montenegro meeting the requirements specified in the MoU, including strengthening public finance, fight against corruption, enhancing financial stability, improving the business environment, and social protection reform. The assistance programme will be available for a period of 12 months.
The Macro-Financial Assistance Programme for Montenegro is part of a €3 billion MFA package that the Commission proposed for ten enlargement and neighbourhood partners to help them limit the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic./ibna