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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Mr. Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister of Montenegro
21 January 2013
Let me start by congratulating Mr Djukanovic on his appointment as Prime Minister of Montenegro. I wish him every success, and I appreciate that one of his first visits abroad since he took office has led him to Brussels.
The European Commission looks forward to continuing its fruitful and close cooperation with Montenegro. I therefore welcome your decision, Prime Minister, to keep European integration at the top of the national agenda of your country and I believe we are now at a crucial moment from Montenegro's path towards the European Union.
The opening of accession negotiations last June marked a new chapter in our relations. It was a fair recognition of the progress that Montenegro had made.
It was also an important signal to the rest of the region, confirming that its European perspective is a reality and that sustained and credible reforms pay off.
I trust the government of Montenegro will build on this achievement and further accelerate the reform momentum, in particular in the key areas of rule of law and fundamental rights and fight against corruption and organized crime.
In this respect, I have emphasized during our meeting the importance of completing the constitutional reform, in particular to ensure the independence of the judiciary.
I would like to underline that the wide consensus existing across Montenegro's political spectrum on European integration and the reforms that come with it is a crucial asset for the success of the accession process. I would like to encourage all relevant partners to maintain and reinforce this European consensus. The speed of Montenegro's progress along its European path is essentially in your own hands, and a continued nation-wide, cross-party commitment on this strategic objective is of utmost importance.
In the same vein, the European Commission will continue to support and closely accompany Montenegro's efforts in the accession process, and we look forward to working with your government.
Thank you, Mr Prime Minister.