The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, arrived in Montenegro, where the President of the Parliament, Aleksa Bečić, welcomed her at the airport.
“Welcome to Montenegro, welcome to the smallest but most beautiful Balkan country. Welcome to the next member of the European Union. I am sure that you will help us on that path! “, President Bečić pointed out.
Von der Leyen pointed out that that is exactly why she came.
The visit, as previously announced by von der Leyen, is also a symbolic confirmation of the commitment of European institutions to the accession process, and the European future of the Western Balkans.
The President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, also met with von der Leyen, who pointed out at a press conference that “it is important that the visit comes at a time when the region is going through temptations that call into question the stability of the Western Balkans.”
The President of Montenegro pointed out that he had informed the President of the EC that he was not satisfied with the work of the Government and pointed out that he had also discussed political processes within Montenegro with von der Leyen. He reminded that Montenegro had gone through a change of government, as well as everything that had been achieved in 30 years before the change of government – preserving peace and stability, restoring independence, NATO membership and opening all negotiating chapters towards EU membership.
“I told Ursula von der Leyen that we are not satisfied with the result of the work of the Government in the last year. We hope that the European Union will receive the countries according to their abilities”, said Đukanović.
Ursula von der Leyen said Montenegro had made the most progress on the path to membership, saying she had come to visit to encourage further reforms.
“We want progress to continue. We owe it to your people who dream of a European future. Political dialogue is necessary for Montenegro to advance the rule of law. You have done a lot and there is a lot of effort behind it, so it is important that there is no setback when we talk about success. That is why it is important for society to find consensus and for Montenegro to be preserved as a multi-ethnic state as we know it. A large number of citizens expect progress and that is why we must see results and compromise,” von der Leyen said.
The EU representative pointed out that she encouraged the reform process so that the country would stay on the path of EU integration.
“It’s nice to be here among friends and partners. I am here to encourage you to stay on the path to EU integration. We were with you during the pandemic and provided medical assistance and vaccines. I believe that our common task is to invite people to get vaccinated, now that the vaccine is available,” said Ursula von der Leyen.
She pointed out that young people should have employment opportunities.
“We also want to work together on economic recovery. Young people in Montenegro deserve a large number of opportunities to succeed and get well-paid jobs,” said the president of the EC.
She called on the countries of the Western Balkans to co-operate.
“I call on all countries to continue working in the regional market. This is the key to success and progress on the path to EU integration,” von der Leyen said.
The representative of the European Union congratulated Montenegro on being the first country in the Western Balkans to legalize same-sex partnerships.
She also referred to media reports that the European Union cannot guarantee secure membership to the countries of the Western Balkans.
“The most important thing for the countries of the Western Balkans is not to give up and lose sight of the ultimate goal,” von der Leyen said, commenting on a Reuters report that the EU could not guarantee the countries of the region EU accession.