Lithuanian Presidency marks breakthrough in Montenegro‘s EU accession negatiations

18 December 2013, Last updated at, 17:04 EET
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author: The Council of the European Union

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius on December 18 in Brussels has presided over the Intergovernmental Conference, in which five new chapters in the Montenegro accession negotiations were opened.

“This is significant and long-awaited breakthrough in Montenegro’s EU accession negotiations as well as a huge achievement in strengthening open Europe, a high priority of the Lithuanian Presidency. I would like to welcome the huge work done by the Montenegrin administration and the devotion to the accession process of political leadership,” Minister Linkevičius said.

At the Intergovernmental Conference these two key chapters, related to the rule of law (23, Judiciary and Fundamental Rights and 24, Justice, Freedom and Security) were opened. According to the so-called “New Approach” principle, enshrined in the negotiating framework mandate for negotiations with Montenegro, the progress made with respect to in these two chapters determines the pace of the overall negotiation process. In addition to these key chapters, three additional chapters on Public Procurement, Company Law, Enterprise and Industrial Policy were also opened.
 
“Today we are celebrating the opening of these two chapters, but the main challenging work lies ahead therefore I would like to stress the need for the further tangible reform process, together with swift implementation within the set timelines,” Minister Linkevičius said.
 
Linas Linkevičius chaired the Intergovernmental Conference and headed the EU’s delegation which included the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle. The Montenegrin delegation was led by Montenegro’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Igor Lukšić and included Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Duško Marković and the Minister of the Interior Raško Konjević. 

Adaptation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) following the accession of Croatia was another important highlight. Montenegro has been the first Western Balkan country to adapt the SAA since Croatia’s accession to the European Union. The SAA is a major step towards joining the EU. The agreement focuses primarily on economic and political aims as well as regional cooperation

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