November 5, 2020 Interviews

We expect the new Montenegrin government to continue reforms

Croatia’s Member of the European Parliament and standing rapporteur for relations with Montenegro gave an interview on the 3d October for Montenegrin daily newspapers referring to the process of forming a new Montenegrin government and its correlation with the European Union

When asked about the degree of democratic maturity in that country and the influence of the European Union, Picula answered: “European Union and its institutions are definitely not interfering in the process of forming the new Montenegrin government. I have previously highlighted that the democratic maturity shown by the turnout of Montenegrin citizens is laudable during these difficult pandemic conditions. Moreover, I welcomed the establishment of the convocation of the new Assembly and I believe that we should continue in the same constructive and positive vigor.”

When it comes to the dialogue between the EU and Montenegro and necessary reforms, Picula explained: “Electoral reforms are an indispensable part of the negotiation process and their implementation would surely accelerate Montenegrin path towards the EU. The question on electoral reform is one of those that needs to be a product of an agreement between political actors, independently of the fact who is holding the power, because this needs to be an appropriate approach that would bring a shift for the better and strengthen the political system. In this regard, I welcome the announcements that the judiciary and electoral reform be a priority for the new government."

Despite some shortcomings, Montenegro has already done a great deal towards EU membership, what was recently honoured by opening the last chapter in negotiations. It would be wrong not to use the institutional impetus made thus far for strengthening the political system. Moreover, electoral reform is simply an indispensable part of the negotiation process. On that grounds, I salute the announcements of the Prime Minister-Designate that the judiciary and electoral reform will be the government’s priority.

Furthermore, Picula declared that he will stand for adequate pre-accession assistance to the Montenegrin citizens, of course, if the envisaged conditions are met. Since the beginning of the IPA III package dialogue on which I am working as EP’s rapporteur on behalf of my Socialists and Democrats group, I insisted that it must be more ample than the previous IPA II, and it will almost surely be more extensive than the 14,3 billion euros. This is especially important when it comes to allowing country candidates to participate in some of the already existing EU programmes, and above all else, to promptly provide the citizens a direct positive impact of the EU membership on the quality of life, what conclusively represents the best argument in favor of the membership. Say that through this assistance we procure the support of the pro-European governments to implement the necessary reforms as soon as possible. However, given the fact that the negotiations are still underway, it would be disregardful to talk about hypothetical conditions. Surely, in line with the European Green Deal and my enlargement recommendations, IPA III will have a strongly prominent component of environmental protection, that is, green economy and transition to renewable energy resources.

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