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In addressing members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) today in Brussels, Deputy Prime Minister Zoran Pažin expressed the expectation that good quality of internal reforms, with a high degree of support from European partners, will bring Montenegro to the final stage of its strategic European path – the phase of closing negotiating chapters…
The Deputy Prime Minister noted that 2018 was crucial for a new impetus in the enlargement policy needed for Montenegro and the region of South East Europe.
We in Montenegro believe that we are prepared to open negotiations in the remaining three chapters during the Bulgarian presidency and thus round this part of the process. Of course, much depends on the dynamics of decision-making in the EU, and we express our hope that this process will be of mutual satisfaction. In addition, we expect to be able to complete the process of closing negotiations in some of the opened chapters, such as Chapters 7 and 10, he said.
Expressing the conviction that Montenegro’s reform results would ensure obtaining of concrete benchmarks, which need to be fulfilled in order to close negotiations in Chapters 23 and 24 in the area of rule of law, he called on the institutions and EU Member States to support this important milestone in the negotiating process of Montenegro.
We are convinced that during this year we will have final results that confirm this expectation, but we need the support of all EU institutions and member states, he said.
Presenting results in the field of anticorruption, DPM Pažin pointed out that 127 public officials resigned from public office on the basis of opinions and decisions of the Agency of Prevention of Corruption, since its establishment.
Speaking about the work of the prosecution, he noted that since its foundation until January 2018, the Special State Prosecutor’s Office concluded 1,020 cases, out of 1,615.
In relation to the fight against organised crime, the Special Prosecutor’s Office in 2017 initiated an investigation against 68 people. After the investigation, the indictments were imposed against 52 persons. Verdicts were imposed against 19 persons. Based on the plea agreement, convictions were imposed against 21 persons, DPM Pažin said.
In the area of confiscation of property acquired by crime, only in the previous two years, according to the proposal of the Special State Prosecutor’s Office, the Superior Court in Podgorica banned the disposal and use of property in more than 10 cases. This is a total of more than 250,000 square meters of business and residential space, other facilities and land. On the other hand, several residential buildings and thousands of squares of land have been permanently seized.
Deputy Prime Minister Pažin stressed that the Government of Montenegro respects the principle of media independence, freedom of expression and providing objective information to the public, as well as sharply condemns any attempt or act of interference in media editorial politics, assault on journalists, or media assets.
I have repeatedly said that any attack on media representatives or media assets is at the same time an attack on democracy, DPM Pažin concluded.
Source: Government of Montenegro