Montenegro’s Chief Negotiator: We will not wait for any other country

PODGORICA – “2025 is an ambitious, but also a realistic and achievable time frame, because Montenegro can reach the internal readiness for membership even before that date”, said the country’s Chief Negotiator with EU Aleksandar Drljević in an interview for RTCG.

He underlined that the “regatta principle” is the only legitimate principle according to which EU should accept new members. “There has not been a single sign that Montenegro will have to wait for any other county to access the EU, and we do not expect the situation to change”, he said, adding that, while Montenegro is currently the frontrunner country, it would not mind any other joining it at the helm of the process.

In 2018 Montenegro opened two additional negotiating chapters, with a single one remaining. “We came to the end of the year with 32 opened chapters, with the expectation that we will open the remaining Chapter 8 (Competition) in the near future and than focus on gradual closing of all the chapters”, Drljević stated.

Montenegro has closed three chapters, and in the coming period it will continue working on internal readiness for provisionally closing six more. Drljević reminded that Chapter 7 – Intellectual property law, is almost ready for closing, with Company law, Information society and media, Enterprise and industrial policy, Trans-European networks and Consumer and health protection not being far behind.

When it comes to areas covered by the Chapters 23 and 24, Drljević pointed out that the most recent non-paper (internal document of European Commission) recognizes progress in the fight against organised crime, corruption and discrimination. “The document has also noted certain challenges, which we are aware of and are working actively to overcome them”, he added.

Recent survey has detected the biggest support for EU membership in Montenegro for years, with around two-thirds of the citizens supporting the accession.

“A stable two-thirds majority of the citizens support Montenegro’s accession to the EU, which has been a constant feature throughout the years and we can be proud for the fact that our country, at the end of the sixth year of negotiations, has a stable support, expressed through the positive opinion of its citizens on our key goal – EU membership”, Drljević remarked.