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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with the President of Montenegro, Filip Vujanović
15 October 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am happy to welcome President Vujanović at the European Commission. His visit is a clear sign of the close links between the EU and Montenegro.
My message today is very clear: the EU remains committed to its enlargement policy and to Montenegro's accession process in particular. We will continue assisting your country in your effort.
Today we have reviewed the milestones of this accession process. In particular, I commended the President for the adoption by Montenegro of the constitutional amendments strengthening the independence of the judiciary, and for the Action Plans in the rule of law.
As you know, EU enlargement - which is so important for our shared security and prosperity - is based on "own merits", the merits of each country in its process towards European Union membership.
The overall pace of Montenegro's negotiations will therefore essentially depend on the implementation of these key Action Plans.
Montenegro is taking steps to overcome recent political challenges – for example, as regards the proper functioning of parliament and the proper and efficient use of public funds. These steps need to continue and progress has to be made irreversible.
Today I also reiterated the call, often made by the Commission, that media freedom must be ensured and threats and violence against journalists completely investigated.
In our meeting, we also spoke about the economic situation, and I stressed the need for Montenegro to take measures to further improve its business environment and fight unemployment. In light of recent developments I made a particular reference to the aluminium producer, KAP, which plays a key role in the economy of Montenegro. The company needs a solution, in line with obligations under the Stabilisation and Association Agreement as a matter of urgency.
We also touched upon bilateral issues: Montenegro is a champion of regional cooperation, which I really applaud, and we also discussed this issue in detail. This is indeed key for the region. But it also has a number of open issues with its neighbours, especially border issues. I am pleased to note the country's readiness to solve them.
To conclude: I would like to reiterate the Commission's commitment to enlargement – and to Montenegro's accession process.
Your visit is perfectly timed! Tomorrow we will publish our Report on the progress made by your country in the previous year and the challenges for the year ahead.
I am confident that you and the other leaders of your country will continue their strong pro-European commitment and make progress, step by step, on the European path.