PODGORICA – Montenegro will be the first new EU member state, but there is still a lot to do until then, stated the newly-elected European Parliament Rapporteur for Montenegro Tonino Picula. The EU has been facing numerous issues and it seems that the enlargement policy is not its top priority. Some EU member states clearly state that now is not the time to speak about the enlargement, which calls the whole story about the expected 2025 enlargement into question.
In an interview for CdM, Picula claimed the enlargement policy has not been the EU’s topmost priority anymore. He said that some EU member states categorically refuse further EU enlargement until the Union consolidates.
“No one will state loud and clear to be against the enlargement, it’s a part of a political game, but there’s a strong resistance within the EU member states, that is, they do not want the enlargement to happen until the rearrangement of power relations takes place and some new models are adopted”, Picula was adamant.
He also added that the enlargement policy reached a peak in 2004 when 10 new states joined the EU and in 2007 – when Bulgaria’s and Romania’s accession took place.
Picula continued: “Currently, the enlargement policy is not one of the EU’s top priorities as the Union needs to consolidate itself first.”
He stressed that the opposition to enlargement was most clearly articulated by the French President Emmanuel Macron, but also that Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany have strong anti-enlargement groups.
Commenting on the current situation in the EU, he explained that it is neither easy to enter the EU nor to exit it, as the UK has been trying to leave the EU for 3 years already.
When it comes to accession negotiations, Picula remarks that it is a complex subject requiring a sort of technical preparedness and an ability of institutions to negotiate.
“Enlargement and EU accession as its final form is first and foremost a political question. This is evident if you look at the countries that embarked on that path before Montenegro. It is hard to predict political circumstances at the moment when Montenegro concludes its accession negotiations. Will the opponents of the enlargement have an additional argument to block it or the situation will be more favourable than it is now, it is hard to see”, claims the Rapporteur for Montenegro.