Picula: Joint accession to EU would annul Podgorica’s progress

Tonino Picula; Photo: European Parliament

PODGORICA – The act of connecting Montenegro EU negotiations with Serbian ones would be a mistake, as it would annul the serious progress Podgorica has made. In EU negotiations, Montenegro does not have such serious political limits that Serbia has, such as the matters of Kosovo and Russia, said Tonino Picula, EU parliament MP, speaking to Pobjeda daily.

He believes that Montenegro is making a fast progress, compared to other states, as 28 out of 35 negotiating chapters have been open so far, and two of them temporarily closed.

“EU Commission and Parliament point to discord at the political scene as one of the major issues. Rule of law and growth in economy must make steps forward as well. Corruption is also one of the most serious issues. The situation in media is also worrisome due to censorship and different pressures put on journalists. RTCG would benefit from greater financial and editorial independence. Violence against women is also worrisome”, he said.

Picula said that Montenegro’s membership in NATO demonstrated the importance of Western Balkans for the Alliance.

“The membership should contribute to international peace and safety in the region”, he said.

Picula also believes Russia would continue its attempts to exert influence in the Balkans.

“Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro Srdjan Darmanovic correctly noted that Russia’s policy consists of „disrupt NATO, divide EU“, but Western Balkans is not its primary goal.

Russia is trying to wage a more global disruption. Despite certain cultural similarities and support for Russia in Western Balkans, EU integration in the region must be strengthen, and support and encouragement given to all countries that wish to be a part of EU. Regardless of it’s current issues, no one can weaken EU influence in the Balkans”, Picula said.