At today’s meeting, attended by Chief Negotiator with the European Union Mr Aleksandar Drljević and Deputy Chief Negotiator Mr Marko Mrdak, members of the Committee on European Integration have considered the 12th, 23rd and 24th Semi-annual Report on the Overall Activities within Montenegro’s Integration Process to the European Union, for the period July – December 2019.
The Chief Negotiator has presented the most important steps undertaken with the aim of fulfilling measures for closing negotiation chapters, focusing in particular on draft laws, key strategies and action plans, as well as cooperation with representatives of the EU institutions. He particularly stressed that in December last year Montenegro had received official confirmation on meeting the opening benchmarks for Chapter 8 – Competition, and expressed hope that in the coming period Montenegro would open the last unopened negotiating chapter. One of the most important activities last year was meeting the closing benchmark for Chapter 20 - Enterprise and Industrial Policy, whereby Montenegro has achieved internal readiness for temporarily closing this chapter. The additional negotiation chapters where the conditions for their closing have been fulfilled are 7 - Intellectual Property Law and 10 - Information Society and Media. However, as it has been the case so far, Montenegro’s accession process will be majorly influenced by the results achieved in chapters 23 and 24, as well as political criteria and functioning of democratic institutions.
The Committee members were not interested only in activities related to the reporting period, but they also talked with the Chief Negotiator about the influence of the current health situation worldwide and in Europe on the developments within the EU and its enlargement policy as well as on this year’s expectations regarding Montenegro’s accession to the EU. The especially disused the EU financial assistance package for mitigating the effects of coronavirus in Montenegro and the conditions under which EU funds would be made available, as well as the overall coordination of funds provided by international support. As concluded, the current health situation and its economic consequences in 2020 will be an additional challenge for the EU itself and the accession of the countries of the region to the Union, but may also represent an additional opportunity for all candidate countries in the process.
One of the important topics of the meeting was the new accession methodology and organisation of the planned WB-EU Summit in Zagreb and Conference on the Future Europe. Questions and comments of the parliamentarians related to the adoption of the specific legislative solution in the media field, the overall progress within war crimes investigations as well as state of play and condition in detention units but also the work and role of the Parliament after pronouncing coronavirus pandemic in Montenegro.
Semi-annual Report on the Overall Activities within Montenegro’s Integration Process to the European Union were adopted by the majority of the Committee’s members.