REPRESENTATIVES of EU countries in the working group for enlargement on Tuesday supported the proposal to open the last unopened negotiation chapter with Montenegro, which led to the unblocking of Montenegro’s accession negotiations during Croatia’s presidency of the EU Council.
These negotiations have been dormant since December 2018, when 31 of the 32 negotiation chapters were opened.
The decision to open Chapter 8, which deals with competition, should be formally confirmed tomorrow by the permanent representatives of the EU member states in Brussels, while an intergovernmental conference on the opening of Chapter 8 could be held early next week.
Commenting on the news from Brussels, Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic said that this was a great day for Montenegro and that the country had confirmed that it was the most promising and closest to EU membership, and would become the first candidate country to open all negotiating chapters.
“The opening of Chapter 8 actually marks the end of the first phase of the EU integration process, and gives us the wind in our backs to approach the fulfillment of obligations in the next, most demanding phase of closing the chapter with new enthusiasm,” Markovic said.
He emphasized that he was particularly pleased that the green light had been given during Croatia’s presidency of the EU Council “as a result of the selfless efforts of neighboring Croatia to keep enlargement policy high on the Union’s agenda”.
Milanovic welcomed the unblocking of negotiations for the Croatian presidency
In an interview with the Montenegrin public service RTCG, Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said that this was solid news and that it was good that “this happened during Croatia’s presidency”, recalling that negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania were open during its presidency of the EU Council.
According to Milanovic, Croatia has no reason to be dissatisfied with its presidency of the EU Council.
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“If the situation was normal, Croatia would have done a very good job, given that everything stopped, and this is good. Germany would also have problems with the presidency, people did not meet, we hoped for something more meaningful,” he said. he for RTCG.
Montenegro has so far opened 31 chapters in negotiations with the EU, and has temporarily closed three. The opening of the last chapter 8 has been awaited since December 2018, and the EU wanted to let Podgorica know that it has “slowed down” in the areas of the rule of law and the fight against corruption.
However, the European Commission’s ‘non-paper’ on Montenegro’s progress, published earlier this month, set out Montenegro’s progress in these key areas.
‘Croats wish Montenegro well’
President Milanović assessed the position of Croats in Montenegro as a good position and believes that they support the concept of a civil state.
“Montenegro is a civil state and I think that Croats recognize each other well, there are not many of them, they wish this country well and I think that they work and behave like that,” said Milanovic, emphasizing that good relations between Zagreb and Podgorica are not from yesterday. but, as he said, it had been worked on for years.
“Mr. Djukanovic apologized for Dubrovnik many years ago, not necessarily twice, it’s an unfortunate, bad episode, now we’re on the same path and partly in the same company… It’s important to us, it’s important to me, that our neighbors are people who share “similar, not necessarily the same values, and whose behavior we can predict in a good way, as well as ours. It is the art of a common neighborhood life,” said the Croatian president.
Milanovic also stated that he was sure that the issue of borders with Montenegro would be on the agenda, but without pressure and in a civilized way.
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