BRUSSELS / PODGORICA – Intergovernmental conference for opening of Chapter 8 – Competition with Montenegro is not expected this year, despite the fact that the Opening Benchmarks Assessment Report has been approved by the Member States.
This was confirmed to the European Western Balkans by the Council of the European Union, which stresses that there is currently no date for the opening of the final chapter still unopened by Montenegro.
Government of Montenegro nevertheless expressed hope that the Chapter will be opened soon, so that the country can proceed to the next phase of the process and start to gradually close the chapters.
“We have done everything that was necessary in order to meet the opening benchmarks for the opening of Chapter 8. Member States have recognized that, and now it is up to the Presidency to formally open the Chapter in an intergovernmental conference”, reads the statement of the Government of Montenegro for our portal.
The Government has confirmed that it has received the letter from the Finnish Presidency of the Council stating that the Opening Benchmarks have been met.
Picula: Opening of the Chapter would be beneficial for the region as a whole
In a statement for European Western Balkans, European Parliament Rapporteur for Montenegro Tonino Picula welcomed the decision that the Opening Benchmarks have been met.
“I hope that the political confirmation of the decision will come as soon as possible. It would be a great thing for Montenegro, which has been negotiating for eight year, but also for other countries that want to become members”, Picula said.
According to him, a positive decision would send a message that the accession process is not blocked.
“While we are waiting for the Commission’s proposal on the new methodology of accession negotiations and analyzing the French proposal, I want to stress that any potential change to the methodology should not cancel all the work and the results Montenegro has already achieved as the frontrunner of the process”, Picula concluded.
Serbia is the only other candidate country that has opened accession negotiations, and it currently has half of its chapter opened. Montenegro has opened 32 out of 33 chapters, provisionally closing three of them.