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Brussels, 1 August 2013
Statement on the adoption of constitutional amendments in Montenegro
The European Commission welcomes that the parliament of Montenegro adopted a set of constitutional amendments aimed at enhancing the independence of the judiciary. We commend the constructive efforts of different political forces to reach this result. The adoption of these amendments is a strong signal that Montenegro is able to achieve a large political consensus on key rule of law related reforms, which have been highlighted by the EU as priority in the accession process.
The adopted constitutional amendments constitute a significant step forward with a view to strengthening the independence of the judiciary in line with the Venice Commission recommendations and European standards. They are designed to reduce political influence on the appointment of high-level judicial officials through more transparent and merit-based procedures and the introduction of substantial qualified majority thresholds, where the parliament is involved. They are a fundamental of an effective judicial system.
Some issues Montenegro chose to regulate on the level of sub-constitutional legislation rather than on the level of the constitution as suggested by the Venice Commission. We trust that the relevant laws will be amended without delay and in line with European standards. The European Commission will closely monitor this process.