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Nothing prevents Montenegro from moving faster in the negotiations process, but political will and more work is needed, said the European Union Ambassador, Aivo Orav.
“Speaking of political will, I am not just talking about the ruling party, but I also think of the opposition parties that are currently boycotting the parliament, and we think this is not helpful at all, " said Orav at the 13th meeting of the EU - Montenegro Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee (JCC).
The EU Ambassador reiterated that the key chapters are those dealing with the rule of law – Chapters 23 and 24. Commenting on the European Commission Report on Montenegro, Orav stressed that much should be done in order to "report better progress," and also adding that the negotiations are not only technical in nature.
Referring to the statement made by the Deputy Chief Negotiator, Mark Mrdak, where he stated that the geopolitical environment does not go hand in hand with the candidate countries, Orav, using his homeland as an example, said that this was never good for the enlargement.
“I come from Estonia, and when we started negotiating in 1997 we heard that some do not want Estonia as a member. We had to fight for our place in the EU, and not only hope that someone would force us and get us into the EU,” said Orav.
According to the Ambassador, Ulcinj Saline, the Skadar Lake, and the Tara River must be protected.
“Everyone has a role to play. This is not optional, but it is a must,” emphasised Orav.
The Deputy Chief Negotiator, Marko Mrdak, said that the angle of civil society in the field of negotiations is very important. The co-chair of the Committee, Lidija Pavic Rogosic, said that Chapter 27, dealing with environment and climate change, should be dealt with very carefully.
Ana Nenezic, from the Centre for Civic Education, said that it is very surprising the way in which the government read the findings and recommendations in the EC report. She added that, at one stage of the negotiations, there could be a fall in the confidence and support of the citizens in the negotiation process itself, because, as she said, unrealistic expectations and unrealistic results that simply cannot be fulfilled are persistently created in an environment where there is a lack of political will.
Ana Djurnic, from the Institute of Alternative (IA), said that the closing of the chapters should be counted as a success, and not their opening.
The JCC is a civil society platform established between the EESC and the Montenegrin civil society. It complements the point of view of the civil society related to the EU institutional framework and the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Montenegro. This joint institution allows civil society organisations, on both sides, to monitor the country's accession negotiations. It is also a platform to discuss issues of common interests and to inform the public at large about the challenges ahead during the accession period.