Friday, December 17, 2010

EU grants Montenegro candidate-member status

17 December 2010, Brussels/Podgorica - European Union leaders have agreed to make Montenegro a formal candidate for future membership in the bloc, top officials at a summit in Brussels said Friday.

Leaders at the summit approved a pre-drafted statement in which they 'agreed to give Montenegro the status of candidate country,' without setting a date for the start of talks.

The statement 'went automatically,' without discussion, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite told the German Press Agency dpa.

The decision 'underlines the conviction within the council (of current EU states) that the countries of the Western Balkans have a European vocation,' said Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

The tiny Balkan state of 650,000 inhabitants only broke away from Serbia in 2006, but EU officials say that it has already made enough reforms to count as a possible future member, although they want more progress before membership talks actually start.

Montenegro thus joins Croatia, Iceland, Macedonia and Turkey on the road towards EU membership. Other states of the Western Balkans are also working towards joining the club, but are not considered to be sufficiently well-run to qualify for full candidate status.

The decision to award candidate status to yet one more state of the former Yugoslavia 'is a strong signal of our commitment to the future of the Balkans,' said the head of the EU's executive, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso.

Officials in Montenegro were quick to welcome the decision, with Deputy Prime Minister Igor Luksic saying the country was ready for the challenge.

'The decision of EU leaders is a major encouragement for Montenegro and an affirmation of our efforts,' Luksic told dpa.

'It is also a challenge and we have to do a lot of work in the seven areas the commission named as crucial for the start of accession negotiations and continue on our path to join the EU,' he said.

In an annual report published in November, the commission stressed that Montenegro would have to improve its performance in seven areas, such as fighting corruption and organized crime, before talks begin.

In November the European Commission recommended that Montenegro be granted official candidate status, but outlined several areas where Podgorica must make improvements.

European Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele, speaking at the press conference announcing the annual progress report that contained the recommendation, said further work was needed in the field of the rule of law, noting that officials now have seven specific priorities that must be met in order for accession negotiations to begin.

Although the country is considered a parliamentary democracy, parliament's control of the government remains weak, the report says. And although there is broad consensus on the fundamentals of economic policy, the Commission does not believe that the country is a functioning market economy.

The report notes: "The main concerns are related to the politicization of the judiciary and shortcomings in the functioning of law enforcement institutions, in particular in fighting organized crime and corruption. There are also concerns over efficiency and accountability of the judiciary."

Once they do, Montenegro will have to bring its laws into line with EU standards in 35 policy areas, known as 'chapters,' ranging from fisheries to financial regulation.

The process can take many years: current applicant Turkey has been negotiating for membership for five years already, but has only managed to open 13 chapters and close one. Its progress is largely blocked by opposition from Cyprus and France.

Diplomats said that, in Montenegro's case, talks could perhaps start in 2012, meaning that the country could feasibly aim to join the bloc by 2020.

Croatia is expected to end its membership talks next year, while Macedonia's progress has been stalled by the row it has with Greece over its name.

Iceland began membership talks this year, but public opinion in the island nation remains largely against joining the EU.


Anonymous said...

Integrim i Malit te Zi ne Evrop me zhdukjen e shqiptarve ne trojet e tyre stergjushore!

Anonymous said...

Diaspora should be working to secure the rights of ethnic Albanians, including linguistic, historical, and legal rights for Albanians in Montenegro by providing political training for them-to enable them to claim their rightful place in society. Freemalesia and diaspora should lobby for these rights; publish wide reports that are valued by academics, politician and journalists, while our pioneered legal aim should remain in advancing the protecting Albanian minority ethnic rights under international law.

I believe that exclusion of Albanians by Montenegrins can result in instability and new ethnic conflict. Albanians in Montenegro are trying to peacefully coexist and sustain social changes in Montenegro; Montenegro needs to do its own part, too! And, Albanian diaspora should do a better job in this avenue, now; tomorrow it might be too late! Whereas, Freemalesia should stay within its mission: help Albania in Montenegro to advance their self-administrative political status, and period!

Anonymous said...

Yes, promotion and protection of all Albanian human rights, Civic, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights including the free rights to Malesia development- forget about their EC admission status-let them worry about it! Albanians welcome opportunities to present their views on the mandate of the Independent Expert on Minority Issues and how the state of Montenegro violets international laws when it comes to the Albanian national rights. We need to focus on the realization and improvement process for Albanians in Montenegro, and ignore their political narrow-mindedness, dishonesties and manipulations.

Anonymous said...

Malesia needs paople like Albin Kurti....

Taken from Koha Ditore, March 15, 2000

"I do not recognize this court, I can be tried only by a court of my people. I do not recognize this court just as I do not recognize Serbia nor Yugoslavia. This court is in the service of the fascist regime of Slobodan Milosevic," said Kurti, and explained that he does not want a lawyer because, "I represent myself."

Anonymous said...

People like Kurti would never fight for Albanians in Montenegro.


Because dealing with Mont-Alb is like dealing with Slavs altogether.

When your own national group fights to stay under the flag of Crna Gora, how do you expect to achieve anything?

Anonymous said...

And because there is no one like Kurti in MZ, the ethnic cleansing will continue without resistance.

Shame is the game in Malesia, Ulqini, Kraja, Ana a Malit, Plave/Gusine ....

The Albanian youth in MZ speak more Serbian than Albanian; they listen to Slavic tunes on their iPods, they dance to Slavic beats in the nightclubs of Podgorica, they openly play Slavic songs at their weddings, they inter-marry, etc., etc....

There are no "signs" of etnic troubles in Montenegro, just like Dinosha professes. Walk down teh street of Tuzi and you will not hear of any problems there. Albanians are content with their lives as being normal.

You mention the Diaspora, well whoever that may be, they must know something that even the people of Malesia do not know, because as of right now, it is very clear that Albanians in MZ seem to have no qualms with their lives.