The Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle met with the Prime Minister of Montenegro Igor Lukšić in Brussels on Thursday.
Commissioner Füle stated that the decision of the European Council of December 2011, opening the door towards the start of accession negotiations, is a fair recognition of the progress Montenegro has made over the five years of its independence, and in particular since December 2010 when it was granted the EU candidate status. Commissioner Füle and Prime Minister Lukšić agreed that the determination of the Montenegrin authorities to conduct ambitious reforms together with the active involvement of the parliamentary opposition, civil society and media remained key to success. Commissioner Füle underlined that this broad national consensus on the country's European agenda is one of the main assets of Montenegro in its EU bid, which needs to be preserved throughout all the demanding phases of the accession process.
He also confirmed that in line with the European Council conclusions, the Commission would present this spring a report on the implementation of recent reforms in Montenegro, with a particular focus on the rule of law and fundamental rights. He urged the Prime Minister to maintain a brisk pace of reforms, highlighting in particular the need for finalisation of the ongoing constitutional reform, further development of the track record in combating organised crime and corruption, and effective implementation of recently adopted legislation.
Commissioner Füle reiterated the Commission's readiness to provide continuous support for Montenegro throughout the entire accession process.