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EU-Montenegro: Important milestone in accession negotiations

European Commission - MEMO/13/1180   18/12/2013

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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 18 December 2013

EU-Montenegro: Important milestone in accession negotiations

Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle participated today in the EU-Montenegro Inter-Governmental Conference. This is what he said after the meeting:

'Today's Inter-Governmental Conference is a milestone in the accession negotiations with Montenegro: we have opened 5 chapters, namely: chapter 5– Public procurement, 6–Company law, 20–Enterprise and industrial policy 23–Judiciary and fundamental rights and 24–Justice, freedom and security.

The opening of chapters 23 and 24 marks an important step in implementing the "new approach" on the rule of law issues, putting them at the heart of the enlargement process.

The Montenegrin government showed determination in engaging in reforms that made it possible to open these chapters and this has to continue: The accession process is rigorous and demanding. Only determination, commitment and political will bring successful results.

It is important that the Montenegrin citizens see and feel benefits from the reforms already now: Thus, we expect the action plans on Chapters 23 and 24 to be implemented in a timely manner, and according to the deadlines set therein.

The EU has set interim benchmarks for these chapters: they mirror commitments of Montenegro in this area and progress towards meeting them will be closely monitored.

On the other chapters opened today (5, 6 and 20) they are closely linked to the business environment in Montenegro. Alignment in these chapters will help prepare Montenegro's economic operators to participate in the EU's internal market as well as contribute to the responsible use of public funds.

The chapters opened today and the benchmarks set, provide for a busy work ahead. The Commission is looking forward to continue assisting Montenegro on this path.

I would also like to express my thanks to the Lithuanian Presidency and the Member States for their work in advancing Montenegro's accession negotiations.

And since this is our last joint press conference with Linas, I'd like to thank the Presidency also for all the work we did together during the last six months.'


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