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Fifteenth meeting of the Accession Conference with Montenegro at Ministerial level

The fifteenth meeting of the Accession Conference with Montenegro at Ministerial level was held today in Brussels.

The European Union delegation was led by Ms Hadja Lahbib, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, on behalf of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, with participation of High Representative Josep Borrell and Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi. The Montenegrin delegation was led by Mr Milojko Spajić, Prime Minister of Montenegro.

The meeting served to deepen the political dialogue between the EU member states and Montenegro, with a focus on the reforms that Montenegro needs to deliver to advance in its EU accession process.

“Montenegro needs to progress on its accession path. We welcome the commitment of the new government to undertake the necessary reforms. The EU stands ready to assist the country in this endeavour.”
Hadja Lahbib, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, on behalf of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

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All 33 screened chapters in Montenegro’s EU accession negotiations have been opened and 3 have been provisionally closed.

The EU welcomed Montenegro’s efforts, including latest positive steps taken by the newly formed Montenegrin government, and its ambition to meet the rule of law interim benchmarks.

The EU also highly welcomed the fact that Montenegro has fully aligned with the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy decisions and declarations, including restrictive measures, and encouraged Montenegro to continue to do so.

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The EU reiterated that the ultimate priority for continued progress towards EU accession remains the fulfilment of the rule of law interim benchmarks set under chapters 23 and 24. This is a condition for the provisional closure of further chapters. Montenegro needs in particular to address remaining gaps in the areas of the fight against corruption and organised crime, freedom of expression and media freedom, and to resume, continue, accelerate and deepen reforms on the independence, professionalism and accountability of the judiciary.

The EU noted that the advancement of the negotiations will continue to be guided by Montenegro’s progress in preparing for accession, as established in the Negotiation Framework.

Council conclusions on enlargement, 12 December 2023

Montenegro (background information)

Photo by Guy Yumpolski on Unsplash

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