Croatia Sees Montenegro as Next EU Member State

ZAGREB, January 15, 2020 – Montenegro has made the most progress among EU membership candidates and Croatia sees it as the next member state, Croatian Ambassador Veselko Grubišić said in Podgorica on Wednesday, presenting the priorities of Croatia’s presidency of the Council of the EU.

Croatia will fight for its neighbours and their prospects of joining the EU as soon as possible, he said, presenting the priorities to Montenegrin officials.

“We’ll continue to help all six countries in the region on their EU journey. We’ll continue to fight for the neighbourhood,” Grubišić said, calling on Montenegro’s leaders to double their reform efforts.

“Montenegro is the leader in the accession process and must be the next EU member state. Neither we nor you have the right to a different outcome,” he added.

He said attention would focus on deepening the single market, boosting competitiveness and promoting investment, digitisation and enterprise. “We’ll support the implementation of the European pillar of social rights and underline the need to ensure a better life for every citizen of the EU and Europe.”

Prime Minister Duško Marković said Montenegro was fully committed to meeting the membership requirements. Montenegro is negotiating under the strictest criteria the EU has ever had in the enlargement policy and in such conditions, with a relatively young administration, it is the leader of the European integration process, he added.

Although Montenegro does not advocate changing rules mid-game, its leaders believe “the negotiating process should be made more concrete and more measurable and its results clearer and more visible, both to the participants in the accession process and to all Montenegro citizens,” Markovic said.

The head of the EU Delegation in the country, Aivo Orav, said enlargement was a process that was continuing, despite certain difficulties in recent months.

The message for Montenegro is that it’s the leader of the integration process, that we have no more time to wait to resolve certain problems in the EU and that it’s better to be ready for joining the EU as soon as possible, he said, adding that the rule of law was in the centre of the enlargement policy.

More news about relations between Croatia and Montenegro can be found in the Politics section.