EU: Montenegro missed an opportunity to agree on electoral reform

Parliament of Montenegro; Photo: Parliament of Montenegro

BRUSSELS – European Union regrets that due to the absence of a quorum, the temporary parliamentary committee for comprehensive reform of electoral and other legislation was not able to successfully complete its work before the end of its mandate on 18 December, reads the statement by the European External Action Service, released today.

“This represents a missed opportunity for Montenegro to re-establish political dialogue in the parliament, to review in a comprehensive and inclusive manner the electoral framework, to enhance trust in the conduct of next year’s parliamentary elections and to reach cross-party agreement on a number of deliverables which are important for Montenegro’s EU reform agenda, in particular with regard to the negotiation chapters 23 and 24 related to the Rule of Law”, the EEAS stated.

According to the statement, the EU reiterates that political debate should take place in the Parliament and that parliamentary boycotts are not a solution, especially for a country negotiating accession to the EU.

“The EU has consistently encouraged all political actors in Montenegro to take their responsibility and bring the  political debate back to the Parliament”, it is stated.

The EU also noted that the government submitted the draft Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Legal Status of Religious Communities to the parliament.

“Regulating religious communities is a national competence, but this should be done in an inclusive way, bringing together all relevant stakeholders, and in line with relevant international and European human rights standards, in particular with all recommendations of the Venice Commission’s opinion of 24 June 2019”, the statement concludes.