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Brussels, 21 June 2011

Statement by Commissioner Štefan Füle following the EU – Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Council

We had a very constructive and forward looking exchange on the occasion of the 2nd meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council between the European Union and Montenegro.

Today's meeting allowed us to address three points:

First, we discussed the important political dialogue, regional cooperation and relationships in the Western Balkan region and, as the Presidency has said, we appreciated very much the insight which has been shared with us by Minister Milan Rocen.

Second, it allowed us to review the implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.

And third, the timing of that second Association Council was indeed very appropriate; it helped us to identify outstanding challenges on Montenegro's path towards the next stage of European Union integration.

I am pleased to say that Montenegro has achieved good progress in implementing the obligations deriving from the Stabilisation and Association Agreement and towards the fulfilment of the criteria for EU membership. Sound efforts have been made on key political reforms, economic development and preparations for European integration. Montenegro has maintained a constructive and stabilising role in the region. The new openness demonstrated by the government towards civil society and the media is highly commendable, as they play a major role in the country's EU integration process. Furthermore, a number of decisive reforms and important legislative changes are under way. What is now needed is to complete this process and ensure that reforms are coherent and sustainable.

The European Commission will continue to accompany these efforts through technical and financial assistance.

The Commission will report to the EU Member States in October on the progress of the country. I can assure you that our report will be both rigorous and fair.

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