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Sofia, Bulgaria (17 May 2018) — Prime Minister Duško Marković told a press conference following the EU Western Balkan Summit in Sofia that he can say for sure that the Summit was a success and that its results will be visible in the time to come. “This Summit was not a success only because it took place 15 years after the EU – Western Balkans in Sofia, but as I said, because of the results it produces…
Sofia, Bulgaria (17 May 2018) — Prime Minister Duško Marković told a press conference following the EU Western Balkan Summit in Sofia that he can say for sure that the Summit was a success and that its results will be visible in the time to come.
“This Summit was not a success only because it took place 15 years after the EU – Western Balkans in Sofia, but as I said, because of the results it produces. Today, for the first time, we have the opportunity to see that the European Union’s efforts, when it comes to the Western Balkans, its European and overall perspectives, have yielded results, and today we can say that European future of both Montenegro and other Western Balkan countries is much more prospective than ever before,” said Prime Minister Marković.
He stated that a declaration was adopted in Sofia defining principles, measures and policies that will follow the whole process in that regard. The declaration recognises the energy of both the EU member States and the Western Balkan countries to turn it into realistic expectations and needs of the citizens of the entire region.
Furthermore, the Summit discussed economic perspectives, connectivity agenda, infrastructure and digital agenda, and the movement and integration of young people in the region and in Europe as a whole.
“We spoke not only about linking within the Western Balkan region, but also about connecting the Western Balkans with the EU. What is quite certain is that almost everything is up to the countries of the Western Balkans, we need to do the job that is necessary in order to have the opportunity to touch or conquer the European values inherited by the EU. Therefore, the rule of law, judicial reform, the fight against organised crime and corruption, of course, when it comes to Montenegro and other countries – media freedom – need to be in the focus of all policies. I have clearly stated today that Montenegro at the moment has answers to such difficult and challenging questions. Even to those issues that are imposed on us, but we are not aware of why and where they come from, but we certainly know that we need to resolve them,” the Prime Minister of Montenegro underscored.
As he pointed out, bilateral meetings with the presidents of the Dutch and Finnish governments, meetings with Chancellor Merkel, as well as the Executive Director of the World Bank, were an opportunity to discuss Montenegro’s achievements, its possibilities and their transformation into the real value of Montenegro and every citizen of Montenegro. In that regard, he said that he highly appreciates the assessment of the progress of Montenegro, its role in the region and the attitude towards European values and EU policies, but also the expectation that the vital issues of democracy and the political system must have a clear and fast response.
At the end of the conference, Prime Minister Marković said:
“Montenegro has reason to be satisfied. The declaration included a key infrastructure project, so-called “Blue Motorway” or the Adriatic-Ionian road. To our insistence, which has begun in London, this road entered the European agenda, the agenda of European transatlantic corridors to be funded by the European Commission, and I would say that this is good news for Montenegro, for every citizen, for the economy, for employers and our overall perspective.”
Responding to a journalist’s question to comment on the allegations made by Commissioner Hahn that no country in the region is ready for membership in the EU and European Parliament’s President Tajani that it is possible for Montenegro to join the EU by 2025, the Prime Minister stressed that the European agenda or European perspective should not be put into context of racing and comparing with others in the region, but that Montenegro should do its job and when it is finished, we deserve to join the EU.
“Commissioner Hahn told the truth that none of us is ready for EU membership at the moment, but Montenegro is the closest to it, and that’s what Mr Tajani has said today. In his presentation, he said that he expects Montenegro to become a member of the EU by 2025. You know that this coincides with my determination and determination of the Government I am heading to end these negotiations in the next 4 to 5 years and start the process on formalisation of our membership. Therefore, at this moment we are not ready for membership, but we will do everything to use this opportunity in a way that suits our interests, the State and, of course, the interests of our citizens,” the Prime Minister stressed.
When asked what he had discussed with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister Marković said that the German Chancellor praised what Montenegro is doing on the European path, and especially in the region, referring in particular to efforts to resolve the border issue with Kosovo. He noted that they also discussed weaknesses, stressing that it is necessary to work more on strengthening the rule of law, combating organised crime and corruption, and tackling the issue of media freedom. With view to the case of the attack on journalist Olivera Lakić, he said that whoever stands behind this attack and whatever motives are, the biggest damage has been done to the State and that he, as the Prime Minister, and his Cabinet will do everything to find the perpetrator.
Answering a journalist’ question whether the latest developments will slow down Montenegro’s path towards the EU and whether Merkel or any other European leader mentioned the balance clause, the Prime Minister noted that no one mentioned the balance clause, but that everyone spoke positively about what Montenegro has done so far, and everyone has agreed that this is a moment in which we need to find an answer to more complex challenges in the negotiation process.
PUBLIC RELATIONS SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTENEGRO
Source: Government of Montenegro