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Podgorica, Montenegro (14 March 2017) — Two-day meeting of the Subcommittee on Justice, Freedom and Security between Montenegro and the European Commission began earlier today in Podgorica. Meeting was opened by Minister of European Affairs of Montenegro Aleksandar Andrija Pejović and Acting Head of the Unit for Montenegro in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Thomas Hagleitner…
Podgorica, Montenegro (14 March 2017) — Two-day meeting of the Subcommittee on Justice, Freedom and Security between Montenegro and the European Commission began started earlier today in Podgorica. Meeting was opened by Minister of European Affairs of Montenegro Aleksandar Andrija Pejović and Acting Head of the Unit for Montenegro in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Thomas Hagleitner.
Minister Pejović said that the assessment of Montenegro’s progress is based primarily on the quality of implementation of the measures set out in the action plans for chapters 23 and 24, stressing that their implementation largely goes on schedule. He emphasised the high level of implementation of these strategic documents, namely 81% of measure laid down in Chapter 23, and 75% in Chapter 24 in January 2017. He added that the implementation of measures has resulted in notable reforms in the legislative area, their implementation and institution-building, stressing that the future work in the field of rule of law will be very intense.
As to Chapter 23, the European Affairs Minister recalled that for the first time judges and prosecutors were elected under the new system in 2016, the Anti-Corruption Agency was established, which, due to the proactive approach in its work, has been producing notable results in launching infringement procedures and imposing sanctions. In that context, he reiterated that during 2016, after reaching the decision and opinions of the agency related to the existence of conflicts of interest and incompatibility of public offices, 75 public officials resigned, and 26 public officials were dismissed. Furthermore, as much as 696 cases in the field of conflict of interest and financing of political parties were resolved, with fines imposed totalling EUR 94.000.
When it comes to the fight against corruption and organised crime, Minister Pejović noted that a special police unit was established in 2016, and that the results of the work are reflected in the established balance of results and final rulings in the cases of high-level corruption and organised crime.
As regards Chapter 24, Minister Pejović stressed the importance of passing the new Law on Asylum, Strategy for Integrated Management of Migration, and the Schengen Action Plan.
He said that in 2017 the focus will be placed on the further implementation of the new system of election and promotion of judges and public prosecutors, further strengthening of the independence of oublic institutions and the legislative framework with a view to safeguarding and protecting human rights, in particular those of minorities and persons with disabilities, as well as on further improvement of the balance of results in the fight against corruption and organised crime.
European Affairs Minister voiced hope that 2017 will be the year of bringing the process of meeting the interim benchmarks to an end and entering a new stage of the negotiation process.
Acting Head of the Unit for Montenegro in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Tomas Hagleitner pointed up that the meeting of the subcommittee is an opportunity for the consideration of the progress achieved in the accession talks, whil, at the same time, defining the areas which require further efforts. He underscored that Montenegro has made notable progress, stressing importance of involving NGOs in the working groups dealing with for the rule of law. He welcomed the progress made in the fight against corruption and organised crime, as well as the results of implementation of the legislation, emphasising it bis necessary to make further tangible results in these areas.
Source: Government of Montenegro