EUROPEAN CORNER

Montenegro closes a chapter in June!

In Brussels, they are worried about fluctuations within the parliamentary majority. Any derailment at this moment would be extremely counterproductive for Montenegro's European path

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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

"IBAR will be ready by the end of this month or in the first week of June at the latest. The Belgian Presidency, with the support of the EU Council and key member states, insists that the work on IBAR be completed as soon as possible in order to have enough time to prepare, organize and maintain The intergovernmental conference at the end of the EU's mandate in June. The plan of the EU institutions and the member states is to close at least one chapter in the negotiation process with Montenegro in this concrete and direct way that there has been a crucial turn in the enlargement process. EU, not only when it comes to Montenegro, but the entire region," our long-term sources in member states and EU institutions told "Vijesta".

By the way, in the EU, they work in parallel on several fronts and Montenegro is close to closing several negotiation chapters, but the determination is to choose one that will be the easiest and fastest to close. It is about the cornerstone of the final negotiations between Podgorica and Brussels, because four years have passed since the last chapter was opened. The Belgian presidency wants to give a strong impetus to the new trend and to include in its achievements the beginning of the end of Montenegro's negotiations with the EU.

The EU intends to make maximum use of the Fund for the Growth of the Western Balkans as an instrument for further accelerating the European integration of Montenegro, and that is why it is of fundamental importance to preserve a stable majority that will continue to reform the judicial system in parallel and fight uncompromisingly against corruption, organized crime and abuse of position. The large sum of money that will flow into Montenegro in the next three years will be used as planned for strategic infrastructure projects and in vital sectors with the aim of increasing the gross social product and providing conditions for the arrival of long-term foreign investments and not speculative, short-term and dubious ones. The direct consequence of that policy will be an increase in living standards.

In Brussels, they are worried about fluctuations within the parliamentary majority. The leaders of all the parties that make up the ruling majority were shown how important it is for the Parliament of Montenegro to continue working as before and to provide maximum support to the Spajić government in fulfilling the tasks from the European agenda. Any derailment at this moment would be extremely counterproductive for Montenegro's European path.

According to our interlocutors, in the EU they see not only the so-called pro-Serbian parties as a threat to the stability of the Montenegrin government, but also of the Democrats Alekse Bečić. In Brussels, the moves of the Democrats were seen as an unnecessary delay in the process of meeting the criteria and creating the conditions to further accelerate the path to EU membership. In other words, the rigidity of the Democrats through their insistence on technical details, narrow party principles or interests, despite the Democrats' undoubted pro-European orientation, can be counterproductive and harmful to the goal of Montenegro becoming a member of the EU by the end of this decade.

The outgoing administration in the EU institutions, as well as some European countries, see Montenegro as their success story, in which the Union, its institutions and members, have shown that they can be very effective and have a decisive and positive influence on the process of European integration, despite the planting of pistons. in the wheels by the great powers, neighboring countries and mistrust of the US.

At Shuman Square, they are proud that, with the help of key countries and with the important assistance of Austria and Slovenia, they saved Montenegro from a catastrophic crisis into which it could very easily slip after the parliamentary elections and compromise the preconditions for a new momentum of European integration. The EU supported the process of forming the Spajić government through Vienna and Ljubljana - the heads of diplomacy of the two countries, Shallenberg and Fajon, played the operational part of the job - with the primary priority of fulfilling the obligations and conditions from the European agenda. The Americans did not believe in that European project with Montenegro, Great Britain was also very skeptical.

The outgoing American envoy for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, was very suspicious and suspicious of the moves of the EU, the new government and the ruling majority in Podgorica. One got the impression that Washington, as well as London, could not wait for the EU project to fail and to triumphantly say that they were right. It did not happen, time has shown that the EU was right when it stood by the government of Milojko Spajić and the new majority. The progress of Montenegro in the last six months is not only a great success of the EU, but also a very powerful signal to the authorities in Serbia and other countries of the Western Balkans that the train has started and whoever catches it will be marginalized or isolated.

In this context, the overemphasized views of the Democratic People's Party and Milan Knežević on the legally non-binding resolution of the UN General Assembly on the Srebrenica genocide should be interpreted. It is a notorious fact that neither the Serbian people nor Serbia is mentioned in the resolution, let alone that the Serbian people are directly or indirectly qualified as genocidal. Insinuations that the resolution will serve Bosnia and Herzegovina to use it to sue Serbia again and ask for war reparations are also completely missed.

Let us remind you that Germany is the sponsor of the resolution, and if they followed the logic of Serbian nationalists and propaganda, Berlin would shoot itself in the foot. If the legally non-binding resolutions of the UN could be (mis)used to initiate proceedings against states for war reparations, then Germany would be the first to be hit since the Polish government, indeed the previous one under the leadership of Jaroslav Kaczynski, demanded from Berlin war compensation of 1300 billion euros.

Željko Ivanović rightly noted yesterday that Belgrade is much more afraid of the IBAR for Montenegro than the resolution on Srebrenica. The receipt of IBAR and the beginning of closing the chapter of Montenegro leaves the Serbian foreign policy of "four pillars" in the wind and obstructs the process of European integration. Belgrade's foreign policy could have passed while in Podgorica, Sarajevo, Skopje and Tirana we had a corrupt government, deeply connected to organized crime and a judicial system in the service of criminals and politicians in power. The changes in Montenegro, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and the turning of the plate by Edi Rama, leave Belgrade and Pristina to, figuratively speaking, wallow in the mud, while the rest of the region progresses.

It is no coincidence that the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Aljbin Kurti, is trying to interfere in the internal affairs of North Macedonia and undermine the stability of the former Yugoslav republic, and that Belgrade, through its officials, controlled media and politicians in Montenegro itself, is trying to raise tensions in the former smallest Yugoslav republic.

Interlocutors of "Vijesti" in the EU who are familiar with the Serbian file in detail claim that the President of Serbia, in direct contacts with the leaders of the EU states, clearly shows that he understands that there has been a major turn in the policy of EU enlargement towards the Western Balkans and that the game is now very serious. , that is, that the Union is dedicatedly working to prepare itself and all the countries of the region for entry into the EU. However, despite the fact that he understands what is happening, Vučić continues with his counterproductive policy based on the so-called "four pillars".

The changes that occurred in the EU were best understood by Milojko Spajić and he fully adapted to them, focusing his work on fulfilling the conditions. This is one of the key reasons why the Montenegrin Prime Minister enjoys the greatest support among Western Balkan leaders in the EU.

One of the functions of the Fund for the Growth of the Western Balkans is to open the doors of the EU Single Market for the countries of the region and prepare them for participation in it. At the same time, the establishment of the Regional Economic Market is back among the priorities of the EU. It is not about reviving the story of the Open Balkans, but it is about an initiative that is very similar. The difference is that the Open Balkans was an initiative of the states from the region (Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia) and that it envisaged lower standards than the European ones within the common market with a tendency for them to go down and not up. The European Union had reservations about the Open Balkans because there was a real danger that the standards of Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia would be so low that in the medium and long term they would be unable to prepare for entry into the EU Single Market. With the Regional Economic Market, under strict EU rules and standards, the countries of the Western Balkans will be able to prepare, strengthen their economies and economic environment for entering the Single Market even before they become EU members.

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(Opinions and views published in the "Columns" section are not necessarily the views of the "Vijesti" editorial office.)