Prime Minister Milo Đukanović delivers speech at Paris Balkan Summit 2016

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    Prime Minister Milo Đukanović: “Timing of this gathering is offering answer to the most pressing question: what after Brexit? EU remains committed to the enlargement policy. The idea of united Europe for us in the Balkans is a sign of a better future. In Montenegro, this idea has been consistently supported by two-thirds of citizens…”

    Speech by Prime Minister Milo Đukanović at Paris Balkan Summit 2016

    Dear President Hollande,

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    I thank the Republic of France for the excellent organisation of the Paris Balkan Summit 2016.

    Timing of this gathering is offering answer to the most pressing question: what after Brexit? EU remains committed to the enlargement policy. The idea of united Europe for us in the Balkans is a sign of a better future. In Montenegro, this idea has been consistently supported by two-thirds of citizens. European integration has proven to be a guarantor of peace and stability in the Balkans, the main incentive of development. Berlin Process is particularly valuable for our region. It gave real hope to our countries and peoples. The main directions of our development, through energy, traffic and youth mobility, were marked in Berlin and Vienna.

    Paris offers very inspirational themes for the Conference. They represent three parts of united Balkan and Europe story. New challenges such as migrations and refugees, matters of security and fight against terrorism, can only be solved by joining forces within European and Euro-Atlantic frameworks. Recent terrorist attacks in Istanbul, as well as those in Brussels and in Paris, have unfortunately become a part of European and global reality. They are a part of all our lives. We must all take responsibility for their prevention. The Western Balkans has recognised its place regional programme of joint actions against terrorism being implemented by the EU and our international partners. Montenegro, together with its neighbours, is part of joint efforts within the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic state.

    One of our strategic goals was to join NATO. After the invitation and recent ratifications of Accession Protocol, Montenegro will take part in Warsaw Summit as an observer. We firmly believe that this is a strong contribution to regional stability, as is EU integration of Montenegro.

    Internally, we have passed key strategic documents and improved legislation by solving the problem of foreign fighters. Migration issues are handled in accordance with EU regulations. Montenegro was not directly in the migration route, but we were able to help through cooperation with our neighbours and European partners and took all necessary measures in case of need. Global matters require global action. Therefore, one of our primary strategic goals is to join NATO. After the December invitation and recent ratification of the Accession Protocol, Montenegro will take part in the Warsaw Summit as an invitee later this week. We firmly believe this is a strong contribution to regional stability, as is EU integration of Montenegro.

    The Paris conference represents an encouragement for the Western Balkans, and not only in terms of security. Economic development and prosperity are basically the main factors of stability. Nowadays, we need to re-evaluate progress in the implementation of EU-funded projects started after the summit in Vienna. Furthermore, we need to present new projects for funding from the Western Balkan Investment Framework in order to increase the competitiveness of the region, and support growth and employment.

    In recent months, we have been committed to accomplishing some measures. We can say that we have made a high-quality leap in comparison to our state before the Vienna Summit. I believe that further steps to implement the integration agenda and soft measures will contribute to the removal of market barriers in the field of transport and energy. We pay particular attention to the business forum, where our representatives, together with colleagues from the EU, the Energy Community and SITO, talk about financing, reforms and business environment advancements. We believe that it will soon sign the agreement on transport community.

    Finally, I wish in particular to welcome the establishment of the Regional Office for Youth. This is the best promotion of EU perspective in the Western Balkans. Montenegro will closely cooperate with its neighbours and European partners on all matters of common interest. I believe we will have new accomplishments to present next year in Italy.

    Source: Government of Montenegro