07 May 15
German FM Hails Montenegro as Balkan Success
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier lavished praise on Montenegro’s commitment to the EU and NATO integration process at a meeting with the Montenegrin leader in Berlin.
Germany’s Foreign Minister pledged Berlin’s strong support for Montenegro’s strategic foreign policy goals of EU and NATO membership, hailing the country as “a success story in the region.
“I would like to see more examples like Montenegro,” Steinmeier said on Wednesday after a meeting in Berlin with the Montenegrin Prime Minister, Milo Djukanovic.
For his part, Dukanovic stressed the importance of continuing the integration process of the entire region and ensuring its stability.
“Integration is a way of strengthening stability in the region and it is important [for Europe] to remain committed to the open-door policy [on membership]. It is significant for Europe and the stability of the Balkans,” he said.
Djukanovic began a two-day working visit to Berlin on Wednesday at the invitation of the chairman of the German parliament’s Committee for European Affairs, Gunther Krichbaum.
The Montenegrin leader will address the Committee on Thursday and present the latest results of Montenegro’s EU accession process.
It had been reported that the visit to Berlin would be an opportunity for Djukanovic to meet the German Chancellor Angela Mekel for the first time.
However, in the event, the official program of the visit revealed by the government does not include such a meeting.
After leading the country for nearly a quarter-century, Djukanovic has only met Merkel on the margins of international events such as NATO, EU or Western Balkan summits.
Critics of his government have claimed that Merkel’s apparent reluctance to meet Djukanovic showed Germany was not satisfied with the state of democracy and the rule of law in Montenegro.
Germany is considered to be among those states, alongside France, which opposed Montenegro being brought into NATO by the and of 2015.
Montenegro began accession talks with the EU in 2012 and hopes to be the next Balkan country to join the 28-member bloc.
Of the seven successor states to the former Yugoslavia, only two, Slovenia and Croatia, have joined the EU thus far – the latter in July 2013.
The country has closely followed the EU’s diplomatic lead on the recent crisis in Ukraine by applying economic sanctions against Russia – which neighbouring Serbia, also an aspiring EU member, has not done.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)