Second meeting of the EU — Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Council

Joint Press Release
The Sta­bil­i­sa­tion and Asso­ci­a­tion Coun­cil (SA Coun­cil) between the Euro­pean Union and Mon­tene­gro held its sec­ond meet­ing on 21 June 2011 in Lux­em­bourg. The meet­ing was chaired by Milan Roćen, Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs and Euro­pean Inte­gra­tion, on behalf of the Gov­ern­ment of Mon­tene­gro. The del­e­ga­tion of the Euro­pean Union was led by Mr Zsolt Németh, State Sec­re­tary of the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of Hun­gary, on behalf of High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cather­ine Ash­ton. Com­mis­sion­er for Enlarge­ment and Neigh­bour­hood Pol­i­cy Šte­fan Füle was also present.

The SA Coun­cil recalled its first con­sti­tu­tive meet­ing held on 14 June 2010 and reaf­firmed the con­tin­u­a­tion of con­struc­tive rela­tions and coop­er­a­tion between the Euro­pean Union and Mon­tene­gro. The SA Coun­cil wel­comed the progress achieved by Mon­tene­gro in imple­ment­ing the Sta­bil­i­sa­tion and Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment (SAA). The first meet­ing of the SAA Com­mit­tee was held on 13 May 2011 and meet­ings of all eight Sub­com­mit­tees have been held since the last SA Coun­cil. The SA Coun­cil wel­comed the hold­ing of two Par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tees for Sta­bil­i­sa­tion and Asso­ci­a­tion that inten­si­fied par­lia­men­tary coop­er­a­tion between Mon­tene­gro and the EU.

The SA Coun­cil recalled that the Euro­pean Coun­cil grant­ed can­di­date sta­tus to Mon­tene­gro on 17 Decem­ber 2010 on the basis of the Novem­ber 2010 Opin­ion of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The SA Coun­cil wel­comed the adop­tion of the “Action plan for Mon­i­tor­ing the Imple­men­ta­tion of the Rec­om­men­da­tions from the EC Opin­ion” fol­low­ing con­sul­ta­tions with the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and a wide pub­lic debate with civ­il soci­ety and oth­er actors.

The SA Coun­cil com­mend­ed the con­struc­tive role of Mon­tene­gro in main­tain­ing region­al sta­bil­i­ty and strength­en­ing good neigh­bourly rela­tions with oth­er West­ern Balkan coun­tries. It not­ed that coop­er­a­tion with the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Tri­bunal for the For­mer Yugoslavia (ICTY) remains sat­is­fac­to­ry and recog­nised the over­all respect and ful­fil­ment of inter­na­tion­al oblig­a­tions. In par­tic­u­lar, it acknowl­edged Montenegro’s suc­cess­ful chair­man­ship of the South East Euro­pean Coop­er­a­tion Process, of the Cen­tral Euro­pean Ini­tia­tive and of the Adri­at­ic Ion­ian Ini­tia­tive and the Adri­at­ic-Ion­ian Char­ter, as well as its active par­tic­i­pa­tion in var­i­ous ini­tia­tives in South East­ern Europe. The SA Coun­cil high­light­ed the par­tic­u­lar impor­tance of the imple­men­ta­tion of the extra­di­tion agree­ments con­clud­ed with Ser­bia and Croa­t­ia and wel­comed steps tak­en on sign­ing such an agree­ment with the for­mer Yugoslav Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia.

The SA Coun­cil reviewed the progress in meet­ing the Copen­hagen cri­te­ria —par­tic­u­lar­ly the polit­i­cal cri­te­ria. It took note that Mon­tene­gro con­tin­ued to make fur­ther progress in address­ing the areas of democ­ra­cy and rule of law. The SA Coun­cil encour­aged fur­ther efforts to strength­en the admin­is­tra­tive capac­i­ty of the Par­lia­ment. As regards the elec­tion law, the SA Coun­cil took note with regret that Montenegro’s 31 May dead­line for har­mon­i­sa­tion of the elec­toral leg­is­la­tion was not met and had to be extend­ed for anoth­er two months. It encour­aged polit­i­cal actors in Mon­tene­gro to work con­struc­tive­ly in order to reach a com­pro­mise on out­stand­ing issues and ensure the prompt adop­tion of the law, in line with rec­om­men­da­tions of the OSCE-ODIHR and the Venice Com­mis­sion.

The SA Coun­cil appre­ci­at­ed Montenegro’s efforts towards final­is­ing the legal frame­work in order to strength­en a de-politi­cised, pro­fes­sion­al, effi­cient and mer­it-based pub­lic admin­is­tra­tion. The EU encour­aged Mon­tene­gro to meet the set dead­line for pass­ing the Law on Civ­il Ser­vants based on these prin­ci­ples and to con­tin­ue work on draft­ing the Law on Admin­is­tra­tive Pro­ce­dure.

As regards the judi­cia­ry, the SA Coun­cil was informed that the Mon­tene­grin Gov­ern­ment had adopt­ed a pro­pos­al on amend­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion to strength­en judi­cial inde­pen­dence and sub­mit­ted it to the Par­lia­ment for adop­tion, and that a num­ber of laws relat­ing to jus­tice were in the pro­ce­dure of adop­tion by the Gov­ern­ment.

The SA Coun­cil sup­port­ed the good progress achieved in enhanc­ing the legal and admin­is­tra­tive frame­work regard­ing efforts in the fight against cor­rup­tion and organ­ised crime and encour­aged Mon­tene­gro to con­tin­ue with its efforts towards achiev­ing con­crete results. The SA Coun­cil was informed that Mon­tene­gro had com­plet­ed an organ­ised crime threat assess­ment and had under­tak­en ini­tial steps to devel­op a crime map­ping in this area. The SA Coun­cil recalled that cor­rup­tion and organ­ised crime remain issues of par­tic­u­lar seri­ous con­cern and form part of the key pri­or­i­ties, as iden­ti­fied in the Commission’s Opin­ion.

The SA Coun­cil wel­comed that the leg­isla­tive frame­work gov­ern­ing human rights and the respect for and pro­tec­tion of minori­ties, in accor­dance with the ‘Copen­hagen cri­te­ria’ is large­ly in place and notes that fur­ther efforts are still need­ed for its imple­men­ta­tion. This applies also to anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion poli­cies, espe­cial­ly when it comes to vul­ner­a­ble groups. The Coun­cil stressed the impor­tance of adopt­ing the Ombuds­man Law, in accor­dance with the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Venice Com­mis­sion as soon as pos­si­ble.

The SA Coun­cil wel­comed the deci­sion of the Mon­tene­grin Gov­ern­ment to pro­vide aid to elec­tron­ic and print­ed media and sup­port­ed efforts made to strength­en the right to free­dom of expres­sion. The Coun­cil wel­comed efforts to abol­ish defama­tion and insult as crim­i­nal offences. In this sense, the SA Coun­cil empha­sised the impor­tance of con­sis­tent imple­men­ta­tion of the case-law of the Euro­pean Court of Human Rights. The Coun­cil wel­comed the coop­er­a­tion between the Mon­tene­grin Gov­ern­ment and civ­il soci­ety, as well as civ­il society’s increas­ing­ly active par­tic­i­pa­tion in the process of adop­tion of leg­isla­tive acts and pro­gram­mat­ic doc­u­ments.

Mon­tene­gro informed the SA Coun­cil about efforts made to pro­vide a legal sta­tus to dis­placed per­sons present in the coun­try and to find a sus­tain­able solu­tion for the Konik Camp. In that con­text, both sides empha­sised the impor­tance they attach to the grant­i­ng of legal sta­tus to dis­placed per­sons. The EU recalled that the Mon­tene­grin Gov­ern­ment needs to ful­ly and effec­tive­ly imple­ment its action plan for dis­placed per­sons. Mon­tene­gro report­ed about fur­ther steps under­tak­en to this end.

The SA Coun­cil wel­comed the progress made by Mon­tene­gro in pre­serv­ing macro­eco­nom­ic sta­bil­i­ty, by imple­ment­ing appro­pri­ate fis­cal pol­i­cy and oth­er mea­sures which result­ed in a 1,1% GDP growth in 2010. The SA Coun­cil also encour­aged Mon­tene­gro to con­tin­ue struc­tur­al reforms, in par­tic­u­lar strength­en­ing the rule of law, phys­i­cal infra­struc­ture and human resources and to con­tin­ue fur­ther mea­sures for removal of busi­ness bar­ri­ers and improve­ment of busi­ness envi­ron­ment.

The SA Coun­cil pos­i­tive­ly assessed Montenegro’s progress in har­mon­is­ing the legal frame­work and insti­tu­tion­al capac­i­ty with Euro­pean stan­dards in a num­ber of pol­i­cy sec­tors and urged Mon­tene­gro to inten­si­fy efforts in this regard.

The SA Coun­cil com­mend­ed Mon­tene­gro for the so far smooth imple­men­ta­tion of the visa-free regime and effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion of the read­mis­sion agree­ment with the EU. The SA Coun­cil wel­comed the sign­ing of the Agree­ment between Mon­tene­gro and the Euro­pean Union on Secu­ri­ty Pro­ce­dures for Exchang­ing and Pro­tect­ing Clas­si­fied Infor­ma­tion (entered into force on 1 Decem­ber 2010) and the Agree­ment between Mon­tene­gro and the Euro­pean Union Estab­lish­ing a Frame­work for the Par­tic­i­pa­tion of Mon­tene­gro in Euro­pean Cri­sis Man­age­ment Oper­a­tions (pro­vi­sion­al­ly applied since 22 Feb­ru­ary 2011).

The SA Coun­cil not­ed with sat­is­fac­tion Montenegro’s con­tin­u­ous align­ment with EU state­ments in the field of Com­mon For­eign and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy. Mon­tene­gro informed the SA Coun­cil that it has aligned with Coun­cil Deci­sion 2011/168/CFSP on the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Court (ICC). The EU invit­ed Mon­tene­gro to ful­ly align its posi­tion on the ICC to that of the EU as soon as pos­si­ble.

The SA Coun­cil not­ed an extra­or­di­nary high lev­el of use of IPA funds and was informed of the sta­tus of imple­men­ta­tion of approved projects under the annu­al pro­grammes for 2007–2010, while pro­gram­ming of the nation­al pro­gramme for 2011 is in its final phase. As a can­di­date coun­try Mon­tene­gro will have access to all five com­po­nents of the IPA pro­gramme. In this regard, the SA Coun­cil stressed the impor­tance of inten­si­fy­ing prepa­ra­tions for accred­i­ta­tion to intro­duce the Decen­tralised Man­age­ment Sys­tem and train­ing of nation­al oper­a­tional struc­tures regard­ing man­age­ment of Euro­pean funds. The SA Coun­cil not­ed that the annu­al IPA finan­cial allo­ca­tions to Mon­tene­gro amount to around EUR 35 mil­lion per year.

The SA Coun­cil wel­comed Montenegro’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Sev­enth Frame­work Pro­gramme for Research and Tech­no­log­i­cal Progress (FP7), the pro­gramme Cul­ture 2007- 2013, the Frame­work Pro­gramme for Com­pet­i­tive­ness and Inno­va­tion – the Entre­pre­neur­ship and Inno­va­tion Pro­gramme (EIP) com­po­nent and the com­po­nent for sup­port to the infor­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies devel­op­ment pol­i­cy (ICT) as well as final­is­ing the pro­ce­dures for par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Cus­toms 2013 Pro­gramme. The SA Coun­cil estab­lished two Joint Con­sul­ta­tive Com­mit­tees; one between the Euro­pean Eco­nom­ic and Social Com­mit­tee and Montenegro’s social part­ners and oth­er civ­il soci­ety organ­i­sa­tions, and anoth­er one between the Com­mit­tee of the Regions of the Euro­pean Union and Mon­tene­grin local and region­al author­i­ties. More­over, the Par­lia­men­tary dimen­sion of rela­tions is being strength­ened through the SA Par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee meet­ings. Mon­tene­gro informed the SA Coun­cil about its inten­tion to become an observ­er to the Fun­da­men­tal Rights Agency in Vien­na. This con­tributes to the inten­si­fi­ca­tion of our rela­tions in all areas, at all lev­els.

Source:
Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →