The fourth meeting of the Accession Conference with Montenegro at Deputy level was held today in Brussels to open two negotiating chapters: Chapter 12 - Food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy, and chapter 13 - Fisheries.
The European Union delegation was led by Ambassador Pieter de Gooijer, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the EU. The Montenegrin delegation was led by Ambassador Aleksandar Andrija Pejović, State Secretary for European Integration and Chief Negotiator for Negotiations on Accession of Montenegro to the European Union.
With today's conference, out of a total of 35 negotiating chapters, 24 chapters have now been opened for negotiations of which 2 chapters have already been provisionally closed.
The EU considered that some benchmarks were required to provisionally close both chapters. These include legislative amendments as well as the administrative capacity to implement and enforce the relevant acquis in the respective chapters.
For chapter 12, the benchmarks to be met are the following:
Montenegro submits to the Commission an approved national programme for the upgrading of establishments for products of animal origin, including establishments for animal by-products. As regards the milk sector, the national programme should also include a strategy for the use of non-compliant raw milk.
Montenegro provides to the Commission guarantees for the establishment of an EU-compliant system for official controls of live animals and animal products, including its funding.
Montenegro continues to set up and develop, in accordance with the acquis, the relevant administrative structures, in particular as regards food safety controls, and to further increase its administrative capacities and infrastructures. Montenegro demonstrates that it will have sufficient administrative capacity to correctly implement and apply all the acquis covered by this chapter upon accession.
For chapter 13, the benchmarks to be met are the following:
Montenegro adopts legislation that provides a substantial degree of alignment with the EU acquis for fisheries and ensures that Montenegro will be able to fully apply the Common Fisheries Policy upon accession.
Montenegro substantially strengthens the administrative, inspection and control capacity required by the Common Fisheries Policy and ensures that EU requirements will be fully met at the date of accession, in particular as regards inspection and control.
The EU also underlined that it would devote particular attention to monitoring all specific issues mentioned in its common positions, with a view to ensuring Montenegro's administrative capacity and its capacity to complete the legal alignment in the relevant areas.
Monitoring of progress in the alignment with and implementation of the acquis will continue throughout the negotiations. A final assessment of the conformity of Montenegro's legislation with the acquis and of its implementation capacity can be made only at a later stage of the negotiations. The Conference will have to return to these chapters at an appropriate moment.
The next Accession Conference is planned under the Slovak Presidency in order to take the process forward.