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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement following the meeting with Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister of Montenegro
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Joint press point
Brussels, 9 June 2010
I am very pleased to welcome Prime Minister Djukanovic back to Brussels. We had a very constructive meeting.
We have made important progress over the last year, both on visa liberalisation and the entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. I would like to praise the efforts of the government which have led to the application for membership to the European Union.
The Commission is now preparing its opinion on Montenegro's application. I cannot give details at this stage as we still have substantial work to do. All I can say is that the Commission's opinion will be fair and objective. And meeting the political criteria will be central to our opinion in moving ahead to candidate status and the opening of negotiations.
One area we can already identify where specific attention is needed is strengthening the rule of law, including establishing a clear track record on the fight against corruption, organised crime and also on the pursuit of the judicial reform.
My message to the Prime Minister during our meeting has been to keep up the efforts and to continue our close cooperation in the coming months. In fact I have praised the constructive attitude of the Prime Minister. He has seen also this process as a way of reform in the country and the modernisation of this country.
I also want to pay tribute to the constructive role that Prime Minister Djukanovic has shown in the region with the Presidency of the South East Europe Cooperation Process. Last week's Sarajevo conference sent out an important message for the European future of the Western Balkans. Intra-regional cooperation is the first step towards a broader European perspective for Montenegro and indeed for the whole region.