Podgorica, 27 February 2018 – The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker visited Montenegro as part of an official tour of the Western Balkans.
During his address at the Parliament of Montenegro, President Juncker said that he was convinced that the place of the Western Balkans countries, primarily Montenegro, is in the European Union. Juncker emphasised that Montenegro is making significant progress on the road to EU membership. “The date of membership depends on you,” said Juncker.
President Juncker met with the Montenegrin Prime Minister, Dusko Markovic. The interlocutors agreed that the most important message from the Strategy is that the region will be a part of the European Union.
According to Juncker Montenegro has done a lot in terms of European integration, it is progressing faster than the other countries of the region thanks to the serious reforms it has implemented, and the recently published Strategy for the Western Balkans should be taken as an encouragement to continue with the reforms.
At the joint press conference with Prime Minister Markovic, Juncker stated that Montenegro is progressing faster than the other countries of the region thanks to the serious reforms it has implemented, but he cautioned that reforms need to be continued.
Prime Minister Dusko Markovic noted that it is important that the EU enlargement policy is alive. “The door is open, and this is a message that is clear and we thank the president and the European Commission for their leadership in that regard. For the first time we are talking about a timeframe and an enlargement plan, and we in Montenegro find this timeframe realistic, because we can advance in line with the dynamics we have planned, knowing that our progress will be merit-based,” Markovic stated.
Speaking about the date of Montenegro’s accession to the European Union, Juncker stressed that he had not come to make empty promises and that the date for membership depends on Montenegro’s efforts and the fulfilment of all the necessary criteria.
“The year 2025 is not a date that promises something, it is just a perspective we need to move towards. Reforms need to be implemented, some reforms may not have been as intensively applied as they should have, but the prime minister has convinced me with his optimism. I also note that Montenegro has made a lot of progress and that together we can and will do great things,” Juncker concluded.