Zovko: Montenegro is on the right track but it must make efforts to resolve bilateral and minority issues
Bruxelles, 12 May 2022
The Committee on Foreign Affairs today voted on its report on the 2021 Commission report on Montenegro. With this report, the European Parliament gives its recommendations for needed steps and reforms in order for Montenegro to progress on its path to European integration.
Vice-Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Željana Zovko, welcomed the report stating that Montenegro is still the most advanced candidate country in the Western Balkans, a status that was hampered by the recent political instability. “I welcome the formation of the new government in Podgorica and with the newfound stable political environment, Montenegro is on the right track to continue with the reform agenda and advance on its European path” Zovko said while adding that more efforts are still needed in chapters related to the judiciary, rule of law, fundamental rights and media freedoms. Zovko also welcomed Montenegro’s unequivocal condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the adoption of the European sanction regime while warning that ongoing risk from the rising influence of other foreign actors still very much exists.
In her amendments that were included in the adopted report, Zovko called on Montenegro to continue improving the position and rights of its national minorities. “I welcome the appointment of the government minister from the Croatian minority party, Croatian Civic Initiative (HDI), however, the new government still has to intensify its efforts in respecting the languages, cultural heritage and traditions of local communities, especially those of the Croatian community in the Bay of Kotor” stated Zovko. In her amendments, she also encouraged Montenegro to keep fostering good-neighbourly relations and to address open bilateral issues, such as unresolved border demarcation issues and compliance with the provisions on the succession of the former SFRY.
Later this month, Zovko will participate in the official mission of the Committee on Foreign Affairs to Montenegro and Albania whose goal is to encourage both countries on their European path and to provide the European Parliament’s support in the process.