PODGORICA – European Commission Progress Report on Montenegro contained a number of recommendations and guidelines that all relevant political actors should meet and work together in order to make quick progress in key EU accession reforms, said the Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro Oana Cristina Popa, Vijesti reported.
She said that faster progress of Montenegro on the road to EU or closing a chapter have not been the only aims, but rather the fact that any successfully implemented reform would mean a better life for the people.
She underlined that as regards political criteria, lack of dialogue and mistrust among political actors were recognized by the European Commission.
“A comprehensive revision of the electoral framework hasn’t been conducted yet. The elections resulted in an unprecedented change of the ruling majority composition. Now is the time for the new parliament to affirm a broad international consensus and demonstrate commitment to Montenegro’s reform agenda,” she said.
Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković said that the 2020 Report on Montenegro is a real and objective picture of the state of play in the country regarding European integration.
“We have obtained clear guidelines on what we should do in order to achieve our objective – full-fledged EU membership”, said Marković during the meeting with Popa.
Popa said that this is not a political report.
“This is a working document that should assist the Government in creating reforms”, she said and added that it is essential all parties reached consensus on strategic goal – Montenegro’s EU accession
Popa and Marković agreed that the focus should be on the rule of law, judiciary, freedom of expression and strengthening competitiveness, economic and monetary policy in Montenegro.
EC signs memorandum with Montenegro: 30m euro loan to limit economic consequences of coronavirus
The European Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Montenegro and provided the first tranche of extremely favorable loans in the amount of 30 million euros, intended to limit the economic consequences caused by the coronavirus epidemic, the EU Info Center announced today.
“This is only a part of the support that will be available to Montenegro, within the Macroeconomic Financial Assistance Program, worth up to 60 million euros. This type of support complements the previously approved grant in the amount of 53 million euros, which the European Union provided for emergency medical care equipment and assistance to socially vulnerable individuals, entrepreneurs, companies, the health sector and other sectors in Montenegro that are most vulnerable to the coronavirus crisis,” read the press release.
It is added that the release of the second, last, tranche of credit support, up to a total of 60m euros, will depend on meeting the conditions set out in the Memorandum of Understanding, such as strengthening public finances, fighting corruption, strengthening financial stability, improving the business environment and reforming social protection.
“The macro-financial support program for Montenegro is part of a three billion-euro package proposed by the European Commission for ten countries from the enlargement process and from the European Union’s neighborhood to help limit the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic,” it is stated in the press release and added that the support program would be provided for a period of 12 months.
Marović: Tone of the report is not encouraging
The Executive Director of the Politikon Network, a think-tank based in Podgorica, Jovana Marović, told Vijesti that the assessments in the European Commission report were expected, due to the situation in the country, as well as the fact that during 2020, the reforms were “pending”.
“It was pointed out to the limited progress in certain areas and to big problems that all those who follow the reform processes in Montenegro point out for years, which relate to the work of institutions, especially the judiciary, transparency and accountability. The key problems, therefore, remain the same”, Marović said.
She assessed that the tone of the report is not encouraging, especially for the country that has entered the ninth year of negotiations with the European Union.