December 17, 2010
EU leaders today agreed to make Montenegro a formal candidate for membership of the EU. At a two-day summit in Brussels that ended today, EU leaders backed a recommendation made by the European Commission last month to grant candidate status to Montenegro. However, no date for the opening of membership talks has been set, a signal that the country, which has a population of just 630,000, needs to speed up reforms. (European Voice. read full article)
Montenegro, is the fifth candidate country for membership, together with Croatia, Iceland, Macedonia and Turkey. This was also noted on European Commission web site, where new map with candidate countries now includes Montenegro. (see here)
The Economist reports that “Montenegrins have also been told that lots of work remains before they join the EU. Passing laws is good, says the European Commission, but implementation matters more. … Mr Djukanovic, who led Montenegro to independence in 2006, has long signalled that he plans to quit. Now that he has won candidate status for his country he might go soon, handing over to Igor Luksic, his deputy. Mr Djukanovic may hope to keep influence behind the scenes, although he knows that Ivo Sanader, his former counterpart in Croatia, tried and failed to do this (and now stands accused of massive corruption).” (to read article about Montenegro in The Economist, click here)
European Voice reminds that Mr Djukanovic, whose past business interests have raised concerns at home and abroad, is expected to take up an international position. Many independent analysts, NGO leaders and intellectuals in Montenegro warn that current Prime Minister and his Democratic Party of Socialists(created from ex-communist party) have been ruling the country for too long (since MNE became a democracy, 20 years ago), and created very undemocratic practices followed by vast corruption.