EU Waits for Milosević's last Disciple to leave ...
BRUSSELS, 09/29/2010 -- Parliament's president Jerzy Buzek has warned that Montenegro still has to allay serious concerns over reform of its judicial system before it can be considered suitable for EU membership.
The Polish MEP was speaking after a meeting in parliament on Tuesday with Ranko Krivokapic, speaker of the Montenegrin parliament.
The Balkan country has not yet formally been recognised as an official EU candidate, nor have accession negotiations started.
However, it is expected to gain such status next spring although some believe that could be conditional upon the early departure of Montenegro's Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.
Major EU capitals have signalled the country's path towards the EU might be easier without the veteran leader.
Addressing journalists after his meeting, Buzek tried to tread a fine diplomatic line by both praising Montenegro's EU integration efforts while at the same time warning that it still needs to do a lot in tackling organised crime, corruption and strengthening its administration and judicial reform.
Buzek said, "Our cooperation has been strengthened. I welcome the overall reform progress of Montenegro. In this regard, cross-party support is essential.
"I hope that the commission will give a positive opinion with a view to granting candidate country status to Montenegro in November.
"More work needs to be done. This includes strengthening public administration, the fight against corruption and organised crime as well as reform of the justice system.
"Regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations are crucial for the future of the Western Balkans. I am very pleased to hear that bilateral relations between Montenegro and its neighbours are very good."
Krivokapic was in parliament to discuss the status of EU-Montenegro relations.
On Tuesday, he attended the first meeting of the stabilisation and association parliamentary committee between the European parliament and the Montenegrin parliament