In the years after significant changes in the European Union (EU) itself, after the elections and Brexit, it is important for Montenegro and the Western Balkans to maintain a realistic EU enlargement agenda, which aims to adopt standards and values of democracy and open civil society. , said the director of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) Milena Besic, at the opening of the panel discussion “European integration of Montenegro and the opportunity of Croatia’s presidency of the EU Council in the context of enlargement policy.”
“Regardless of the adoption of the new enlargement methodology, the program should remain proactive and thoroughly implemented. It is therefore crucial that governments step up their efforts to promote democracy and the rule of law,” the CEDEM director said.
Deputy Chief Negotiator of Montenegro with the EU, Marko Mrdak, pointed out that currently there is no more current topic and better reason for discussion than the recently published new EC methodology on accession negotiations, and that although in a way it served as an incentive to re-update EU enlargement policy and providing political support, it is a good overture for the upcoming EU-WB Council scheduled for May in Zagreb.
“Our current and future talks in the light of the new methodology should contribute to defining, articulating and directing our efforts to use the proposed model in the best possible way, and to valorize the current moment and the fact that the EU Council is currently chaired by a friendly and partner Croatia, a country from whose example we are still learning today, “Mrdak said, adding that” the new methodology tends to put the political nature of the process at the center and enable stronger governance and high-level engagement on both sides of the negotiating table. “
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Croatia to Montenegro, Veselko Grubišić, reiterated that the Croatian Presidency would strive to continue a consistent, effective and credible enlargement policy, as a precondition for stability, security and further economic development and connectivity in Europe.
“We could all hear the encouraging message from EU Commissioner for Enlargement Oliver Varhelji that he hopes that at least one of the six Western Balkan countries will be ready to join the EU at the end of his term. We know that Montenegro is the leader of enlargement, so the goal of all of us is for at least Montenegro to be ready, “Grubisic said.
The moderator of the panel discussion, Marko Pejović, stated at the beginning of the panel discussion that it seems that there is no better date for the panel discussion, bearing in mind that in the past period from numerous addresses in the EU the focus is on EU enlargement. as part of the preparations for the summit of the leaders of all EU member states and the countries of the Western Balkans, but also the influence of the presidency of the Republic of Croatia on the EU Council.
Member of the negotiating team of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and lecturer at the University of Donja Gorica, Dr. Vladimir Ateljevic, pointed out that the enlargement policy is the most focused today, compared to the last 20 years, which, according to him, shows events from October 2019 to today, which coincide with the activities of CEDEM.
Nikoleta Đukanović, a lecturer at the Humanities Studies of UDG, emphasized that various crises have shaken the EU for a long time, but that she has managed to overcome each one, and expressed hope that the current challenges facing the EU will not stop the integration of the Western Balkans.
Professor at the University of Montenegro and President of the Montenegrin Pan-European Union, prof. Dr. Gordana Đurović, pointed out that Montenegro has done a lot in the previous period, but that during the negotiation process so far Montenegro should have dedicated more to “importing” values from the EU, and less to imports of goods and services. She also referred to the current political events in Montenegro, especially emphasizing the importance of preserving peace, as a precondition for any progress.
“I want to believe that the EU is watching everything that is happening in the region, and that it will contribute to a solution in a European way, through dialogue,” Djurovic concluded.
The panel discussion was held within the project “Education and Dialogue to the EU”, which was supported by the Ministry of Public Administration.