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Florian Bieber for EWB: The Disappointment in Montenegro Will Continue to Grow

In a conversation with European Western Balkans, Florian Bieber, professor at the University of Graz, a member of the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG), and an international expert on the Western Balkans, talked about the Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Montenegro.

Florian Bieber

Asked what should the probable formation of the Milo Đukanović’s DPS-led government in Montenegro mean for the Euro-Atlantic integration of Montenegro on hand, and democratization prospects on the other, Bieber acknowledged that it is a paradox that nicely highlights the existing dilemma. “Some people committed to reforms consider this electoral result a success in a sense that a party committed EU integration and NATO integration has won the elections, but at the same time the problem is that this government is primarily motivated by preservation of power and self-interest, being in power for 25 years.”

Bieber believes that everyone who looks more closely at Montenegrin government and politics knows that this is far away from a democracy. “There are serious flaws, not just in the way the country is governed, but in the electoral process, with the control of the party over the state, etc. This is far from a democratic model. I am afraid that if the government achieves to have 4 more years, the disappointment will grow in the country, and in a certain way it might bring down with it the enthusiasm for EU and NATO, since they are seen as being essentially complicit and tolerating this kind of regime. The fact that a part of the opposition is more critical of the EU and NATO facilitates that.”

Bieber considers that the government of Đukanović is building on polarizing, “dividing between the “lesser evil” that they represent and the “greater evil” which is the opposition.” According to Bieber, “This is a very destructive dynamic, which will not bode well for democracy in the country.”

“Formally, Montenegro will join NATO”, states Bieber,  “but I think there will be a point where it could not come closer to the European Union and EU member states will state that they have some serious reservations about the way in which the country is governed. I cannot see Montenegro joining the EU with Milo Đukanović as Prime Minister, and this is something that sooner or later will become a problem.” Bieber believes this situation might bring down the commitment for EU integration in the first place, “because people see it just a façade behind which an essentially cleptocratic and semi-authoritarian rule is hiding.”


Nikola BURAZER, European Western Balkans Executive Editor

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