Thursday, February 19, 2009
EU says NO to Montenegro
Brussels, February 18 (MIA) - Montenegro's application for membership in the European Union, submitted last December by Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, at the time President of the European Union Council, has been blocked in the Council before the European Commission had a chance to give its opinion on how much Montenegro was prepared for EU membership on the political, judicial and technical levels, Hina reports citing Agence Europe.
Several countries in the task force in charge of enlargement - primarily the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, France and Belgium - are against forwarding the issue to the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) and then to the Council.
A diplomat from one of the said countries said they believed that Montenegro still had work to do, as stated in the last regular Commission report, before its application could be seriously considered.
Applications for EU membership are usually automatically forwarded to the Council, which invites the Commission to prepare its opinion, a process which takes a year on average. Once it receives the EC's opinion, the Council starts a political debate on whether a country should be given candidate status.
The Czech EU Presidency, which has defined as one of its priorities continuation of the European integration of Western Balkan countries, has been requesting since the beginning of the year to put the issue on the Council's agenda, but to no avail, says Agence Europe.
The topic therefore will not be on the agenda of a regular meeting of EU foreign ministers scheduled for February 23-24, however, the ministers could discuss it informally during a lunch, when they talk about the Western Balkans.
The EC is not happy about this, Agence Europe reports.
It is important to adopt a pragmatic approach and consider every candidacy on its merit, on a case-to-case basis. Montenegro's candidacy has arrived. It is logical that we make the first step in the process and the Council should call on the Commission to prepare its position, said an EC official, underlining the technical nature of such a decision since a political debate will not start in more than a year, until the Commission prepares its position.
Posted by Conference Organizer at 7:03 PM