Montenegro continues progress to EU accession

09-Oct-2018 @ 17:00

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Montenegro continues progress to EU accession

Montenegro is making progress towards joining the European Union, but media freedom is amongst the issues still causing concern, according to a report by Conservative Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Tannock.

The report was adopted today by the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee. It stresses that Montenegro remains the frontrunner amongst the six Western Balkan countries seeking to join the bloc and welcomes the European Commission's 2025 target for accession.

It notes improvements in political dialogue, access to pre-school education and economic stability. There has also been progress in increasing the transparency and independence of Montenegro's judiciary and constructive co-operation with neighbouring countries.  

But the report expresses concern about the rise in violence linked to organised crime and regrets the lack of progress in addressing human trafficking. On the media, it condemns the intimidation of and attacks on journalists and deplores the ongoing financial and editorial pressure placed on the country's public broadcaster RTCG. Three separate European Commission reports concluded that no advances have been made on freedom of expression or media freedom.

Dr Tannock, Standing Rapporteur in the Parliament for Montenegro, said: "Whilst some of the language in the report may seem tough, we should emphasise that this is in the contest of Montenegro having already made much progress and that is now seen as a the flag bearer for enlargement. With such standing comes greater expectations and making the next jump in establishing the various track records required will present a challenge. I have no doubts, however, that Montenegro will meet these challenges."   

The report was adopted by 47 votes to 5 against and will be voted on by the whole Parliament in November.

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