EU’s Johannes Hahn: Enlargement policy remains priority of new Europrean Commission

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    Podgorica, Montenegro (21 November 2014) – “With the establishment of the new Commission under President Juncker, the enlargement policy and, therefore, the accession negotiations with Montenegro, remain the priority,” European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn emphasised at today’s press conference following his meeting with Montenegro’s Prime Minister Milo Đukanović in Podgorica.He added that his visit to Montenegro also testifies to the European Union’s firm commitment to the enlargement process.

    Commissioner Hahn noted that the 2014 Progress Report sends a clear message that the pace of the accession talks will depend on the results achieved in the strengthening of the rule of law.

    He also commended Montenegro’s decision to harmonise its foreign policy with that of the EU regarding the position on Ukraine.

    With regard to the “overall balance” clause from the progress report, Commissioner Hahn stated that “it was only mentioned in order to recall its existence, but there is no further intention neither from the European Commission nor from the member states to activate the clause.”

    European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy also stated he is aware of the fact that pursuing reforms is not an easy job to do and that the process requires not only the support of the parliament, but also of Montenegro’s citizens.

    Accession progress could be achieved through attaining tangible results in the rule of law area, but also through boosting economic competitiveness. In that respect, one of EU’s key targets over the next 5-year period will be the promotion of economies of the candidate countries, thus improving living conditions and creating new jobs, which will reduce migrations to the EU countries, Commissioner Han explained.

    Mr Hahn also commented on media freedom in Montenegro and welcomed the steps taken by the government towards upgrading media freedom and resolving cases of violence against journalists. In parallel, he called on the media to promote professional and ethical standards, as “more responsible and accurate media“ enable better communication when it comes to the accession negotiations as well.

    European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn concluded by underlining that Montenegro has started well its journey towards the EU membership, but that the process does not concern only officials and diplomats, but all its citizens. He welcomed the fact that all the parties in the Parliament back up the EU integration, which offers many opportunities through empowering the rule of law and economy, thus creating chances for all.

    Source: Government of Montenegro