European Commission has granted Montenegro a “candidate status” for membership in the European Union. As a candidate state, Montenegro is now eligable to begin accession talks with the EU.
Commissioner for EU Enlargement Stefan Fuele noted that accession talks will start “when the country meets the necessary political conditions set out by the Copenhagen Criteria, which relate to the rule of law and stable institutions. The European Commission said in its report that the constitutional and legal framework of the country was in line with European standards, but that there were failures in the functioning of institutions and the application of laws.” The Commission report also emphasized the major problems such as “…the politicalization of the courts and shortcomings in the functioning of institutions which apply laws….”
Key findings of the Opinion on Montenegro:
Montenegro has continued to make progress in addressing the political criteria. It improved its legal framework and strengthened its administrative and institutional capacity. Regarding human rights and the respect for and protection of minorities, the legal and policy framework is largely in place and broadly corresponds to European and international standards. The institutional framework is largely adequate. However, there are gaps in implementation. Montenegro needs to effectively implement and enforce legislation in all fields. Increased awareness and sensitivity of the administration, police and the judiciary for applying EU standards in this field are needed. Main concerns are related to the following areas: effectiveness of anti-discrimination policies, freedom of expression and government relations with civil society as well as the situation of displaced persons from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. Furthermore, Montenegro needs to intensify its efforts to consolidate rule of law, in particular in the fight against corruption and organised crime, which remain serious problems. Montenegro plays a constructive role in maintaining regional stability and fostering good neighbourly relations with other Western Balkan and EU countries. (click here to read more about Economic criteria and EU legislation. Source: Linked2Balkan)
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