EU Chief Reassures Montenegro on Enlargements


News
21 Nov 14

EU Chief Reassures Montenegro on Enlargements

The EU’s new Enlargement Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, welcomed Montenegro’s decision to back EU policy on Ukraine – and said his visit was a reminder that the EU remained committed to an enlargement policy.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN

Podgorica

The European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, said the new Commission still saw EU enlargement as a priority.

“Coming to Montenegro on one of my first visits really points out the EC’s commitment to the enlargement process,” Hahn said after meeting Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.

Hahn is visiting Montenegro as a part of a tour of all the Western Balkan countries early in his mandate.

He praised Montenegro’s decision to support the EU’s foreign policy regarding the crisis in Ukraine, which includes imposing sanctions on Russia.

“Montenegro is still not a member of the European family but its decision is an indicator of responsible politics and politicians to agree on foreign policy with the European Union, ” he added.

Referring to the state of the economy, the Commissioner said that the EU needed to see the country’s plans “in terms of competitiveness.”

Investment in the Bar-Boljari highway presented a” burden for the budget of Montenegro”, he suggested, but added that the state needed to decide itself on those issues.

Last month, Montenegro signed a 687 million euro worth loan agreement with the Chinese Exim Bank on financing the construction of the highway.

Hahn welcomed the steps taken by the government on media freedom, including investigations into attacks on journalists. At the same time, he urged the Montenegrin media to promote ethical and professional standards.

PM Djukanovic reiterated that the country remained committed to becoming a member of the EU but the “speed in negotiations is not its priority.

“Our priority is the quality of negotiation because we understand that process as a good framework to implement internal reforms,” Djukanovic said.

During his visit to Podgorica, the Commissioner Hahn also met other top state officials, including President Filip Vujanovic and Foreign Minister IgorLuksic.

He came to Podgorica just a month after the EU released its latest progress report on Montenegro, which urged a strengthening of the rule of law and fresh measures to spur economic recovery.

The report said the the overall pace of reforms will play a role in determining the pace of the country’s EU accession negotiations.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)