Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said that the political dialogue of all political subjects in Montenegro is the only way to reach compromises that are crucial to democracy in our country.
In his interview for Weekend Edition of “Dnevne Novine” Daily, Hahn underlined the significance of Montenegro achieving important results in the fight against corruption, adding that EU expects the new Government to carry on with the reforms and results.
Dnevne Novine: Local and parliamentary elections are approaching in Montenegro. They will see the application of new electoral laws, that entails electronical identification of voters, which is a system used by only a few countries in Europe. Is it a step forward to fair elections?
Johannes Hahn: It is up for every country to decide on the technical aspects of its electoral system. The most important thing is that the system works and that it guarantees the credibility of electoral process.
DN: The signing of the Agreement on free and fair elections is expected shortly. What is your comment on the requests that opposition had for the Government?
JH: European Union does not take sides in the national dialogue in Montenegro. Instead, we underline the need for all the political subjects to join the constructive dialogue in order to overcome current political crisis in Montenegro. Political dialogue is the only way to reach compromises and agreements that are crucial to the system of democracy. Both the Government and the opposition are held responsible for that. It is my understanding that all political parties agree on the need to ensure regularity of next elections. I expect Montenegro to apply electoral laws fully in the upcoming elections, whether they are local or parliamentary.
DN: Can political events on the eve of elections in Montenegro have an influence on the pace of negotiations with EU?
JH: Elections, whether local or parliamentary, are an internal matter of Montenegro. The only aspect EU is interested in is the implementation of electoral laws, in order to ensure the credibility of electoral process. This is the obligation of all political leaders in Montenegro. We expect the new Government, that is to be formed after the elections, to carry on with the reforms. Strong support of Montenegrin citizens should be an additional motif for the current and future Government to make special effort in order to reach this goal.
DN: What is your opinion on compatibility of Montenegrin legislation with European legislation?
JH: The progress in complying is determined for each chapter separately. Clearly, there are differences in variety of fields, and it is hard to give an all-encompassing estimate. As you are aware, the last report of European Commission from November 2015, gives a detailed and objective analysis of each chapter. The pace of negotiations depends on the state itself, and the reforms it implements, that are based on the rule of law. This is the condition for all the other chapters.
DN: Brussels emphasizes the importance of fight against corruption and criminal in Montenegro. In your opinion, has Montenegro put in enough effort to combat these phenomena?
JH: In order for a system of rule of law to function, Montenegro needs to follow the road from reforms in the legislation to tangible results. This entails reports on investigations, prosecutions and verdicts in cases of corruption and organized criminal. The activities of Montenegro’s leadership are moving in that direction. These are the conditions for attracting foreign investments, economic growth, improvement of living standard. Establishing of Special Prosecution in July 2015 was a move we can support, and it has already opened a few important investigations on corruption in high levels and organized criminal.
DN: Leader of one opposition party in Montenegro has recently called out Brussels administration for receiving money to lobby and protect current leadership in Montenegro?
JH: If anyone has evidence on illegal lobbying in EU, they should submit them to relevant institutions in EU, and we will carefully consider them.
Terror hits the heart of Europe
“Terroristic attacks in Brussels are another proof of hatred and violence the terrorists are capable of. Terror hit the heart of Europe. My thoughts go out to victims and their families. Stay strong, fearless and faitful to our values”, Johannes Hahn said.
DN: Current migrant crisis endangers outer borders of EU and stability of its institutions, according to some. To what extent can the current crisis endanger EU’s functioning and its policies of expansion?
JH: The migrant crisis is probably one of the biggest challenges EU has faced so far. It is a global crisis that requires a global solution. When we act together as an Union, we are stronger in overcoming such global challenges. There will always be tensions and difference in opinions, but we face this crisis together. When we look back, in the moments EU has faced serious difficulties, it has always come out stronger and more consolidated. I believe such will be the case this time as well, and that it will not influence our policies of expansion.
Source: CDM English