European Western Balkans

EU welcomes Serbia’s move not to expel Montenegro envoy – avoid unfriendly acts

European Commission; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – The EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi welcomed late on Sunday Serbia’s Government decision to unilaterally withdraw the decree to expel Montenegro’s ambassador to Belgrade brought in retaliation for Podgorica’s declaration of Serbia’s ambassador as persona non grata in the coastal republic, N1 reported.

Montenegro’s Foreign Ministry cited “long and continuous meddling in the internal affairs of Montenegro”, as the reason and asked Serbia’s Ambassador Vladimir Božović to leave the country.

Belgrade responded in a “reciprocal manner”. State-run media reported that Montenegrin Ambassador Tarzan Milošević was asked to leave Serbia within 72 hours, but soon the decision was reversed upon President Vučić’s advice.

Enlargement Commissioner also called on Montenegro to follow suit.

According to N1, his call drew criticism from Montenegro’s ambassador to Vatikan Miodrag Vlahović, who told Varhelyi his statements about mutual expulsion of Belgrade and Podgorica diplomats “compromises and deeply undermines the seriousness and objectivity of the EU policy towards the Western Balkans”.

Ana Pisonero, a European Commission spokesperson, said that the good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation were the foundation of the EU accession process.

“Serbia and Montenegro are on a solid path to the EU, and the bloc calls on them to avoid acts that could imperil their friendly relations. The preservation of dialogue and the atmosphere of mutual trust are of extreme importance, especially between countries on the road to the EU”, Pisonero told.

The Head of the European Union delegation in Serbia, Sem Fabrizi, welcomed the decision of the Government of Serbia to calm the tensions and preserve the dialogue in relations with Montenegro.

“Respect for good neighbourly relations and regional co-operation are a basis of the EU enlargement process”, Fabrici told.

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