Montenegro knocks on the door of Europe

By Francis of Alançon in Brussels

 

From Podgorica to Brussels, the road is long, but Milo Djukanovic knows the direction. The eternal Master of Montenegro met today in the European capital, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO, before being received by the North Atlantic Council, the supreme body of the Atlantic Alliance. A new opportunity to plead for his country, Tom Thumb Balkan candidate for integration into NATO and the European Union.

Invested in early December 2012 by the Montenegrin Parliament after his victory in the legislative elections of 14 October, Milo Djukanovic, 51, enters his fifth term as Prime Minister (he was also President of the Republic in 1998-2002), the last survivor of the generation of leaders at the breakup of Yugoslavia. Propelled to the head of the small federated republic in February 1991 at the age of 29, he has almost never let go of the bar, quickly taking his distance from Slobodan Milosevic to navigate through the murky waters of the burst the former Yugoslavia and lead his country to independence in 2006.

Now the gospodar (“master”) intends to complete his work in stowing Montenegro in Europe. “We’re not Norway or Switzerland can afford to weigh the pros and cons of integration into the European Union, ” he insists, on the sidelines of the Brussels Forum of the German Marshall Fund, where he participated in a roundtable discussion on the future of Euro-Atlantic integration. “For us, this is the only alternative to autistic policy complacency that keeps the Balkans in a situation of underdevelopment and economic policy. It would be a threat to our stability as for that of the whole of Europe. This is why I want more support of our Western partners to pro-European governments in the region ” .

“THE RULE OF LAW IS A KEY OBJECTIVE OF MY GOVERNMENT”
Because times have changed, twenty-three years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. At NATO as the European Union, the “enlargement fatigue” arises.After hosting one after the other Baltic countries and those of Eastern Europe, the enthusiasm diminishes to a place in the final candidates.Scalded by the experiences of Bulgaria and Romania, the European Commission is now head of the criteria to achieve reforms in the field of rule of law and the fight against corruption and organized crime. Extensive program in the western Balkans, Milo Djukanovic is well placed to know.

During the years of war and embargo, the Montenegrin government levied its share in the smuggling of cigarettes into Italy to replenish the empty coffers of the state and provide subsistence to the population. Just after the historic referendum of 21 May 2006 on the independence, the Italian justice has been involved in a trafficking case before filing, in 2009, the proceedings against him. “Montenegro is the first country which Europe applies the new model, ” says bravely Prime Minister income for orders after leaving his place for two years Igor Luksic, Minister of Foreign Affairs today.

“Unlike many observers, I do not think it is for us a handicap. It is true that there is still much to do, but the rule of law is a key objective of my government. We want to achieve greater security and legal stability because it is in our interest and not because we ask the EU. Montenegro is needed as a tourist destination for its economic development and attracting foreign investment. These are our priorities as well as that of the Commission. ”

 

 
EU CANDIDATE SINCE 2010

 

Official candidate for the European Union since December 17, 2010, two years after filing his request Montenegro opened its accession negotiations on 29 June 2012. The Montenegrin government must submit to the Commission shortly the necessary action plans on Chapters 23 and 24, respectively, the judiciary and fundamental rights, freedom, justice and security.

“If all goes well, says Milo Djukanovic, the open negotiation on these two chapters in the second half of the year. We are preparing a constitutional reform to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and to improve the implementation of laws. The amendments will be on the agenda of Parliament for adoption by a majority of two thirds during the spring session. ”

Sleuth, the Prime Minister said he did not want to rush things. “We prefer to focus on quality rather than rushing reform the calendar, but I think we can make this work in the next six or seven years. A large majority of Montenegrins supports integration into the European Union, but I regularly remind my colleagues in government they support even more effective if we are to stimulate growth and employment, better use of our resources and improve the quality of health services and education ” .