Berlin: Germany supports Montenegro’s accession negotiations
State Secretary for European Integration and Chief Negotiator Ambassador Aleksandar Andrija Pejović spent several days in an official visit to Germany earlier this week.
Following an established practice of regular consultations with representatives of the German Foreign Ministry, the Chief Negotiator has a joint meeting with Peter Schoof, Deputy Director-General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Christoph Retzlaff, Head of EU Enlargement, neighbourhood, and EU external relations. The focus of the meeting were issues related to the content and development of the negotiation process, with a special emphasis on the expected opening of Chapters 23 and 24 and their importance for the negotiations on the whole. Ambassador Pejović informed his interlocutors of current and planned activities in that regard, noting in particular the importance of opening these chapters by year’s end as an important stimulus for the entire process. He also noted Montenegro’s full readiness to continue meeting its European commitments, and he thanked Germany for its continued and concrete cooperation with Montenegro, hoping it will continue developing especially in the area if improving administrative capacity needed for harmonisation of legislation.
The officials underlined that Montenegro has assumed, through the Commission’s new approach, a special role and responsibility, and they welcomed its progress and reiterated Berlin’s full support in accession negotiations, both in Chapters 23 and 24 and the upcoming phases of the integration process. In that context, the participants noted in particular the need for Montenegro’s continuous track record needed to enhance credibility and quality of the overall process. The German officials also voiced their readiness to continue expert-level cooperation.
During his stay in Berlin, Mr Pejović had bilateral meetings at the Chancellor’s office, where he met Franz Neueder, Deputy Director-General for Europe and the EU, the Bundestag, where he met Hans-Joachim Falenski, foreign policy adviser of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Alexander Wolf, Director of the Berlin Office at Hanns Seidel Foundation, and representatives of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the European Movement in Germany. In his meetings, he discussed current developments in EU negotiation and concrete cooperation.
Mr Pejović met with Peter Friedrich, Baden-Württemberg’s Minister for the Bundesrat, Europe and International Affairs, with whom he exchanged opinions on possible platform for cooperation between this German state and Montenegro. Mr Friedrich announced his plans to visit Montenegro next year, and offered to host a visit by Montenegrin officials to Baden-Württemberg.
EU Commission’s representation in Berlin and Montenegro’s Embassy hosted a panel discussion entitled “New accession concepts and the example of Montenegro,” where the main panellists were Chief Negotiator and EU Commission’s Head of Unit for Montenegro at the DG Enlargement Dirk Lange. During this dynamic and well attended discussion, it was noted that accession criteria have become more demanding, the acquis became larger, and the demand bigger, but also that the EU integration process is a generator of transformation in Montenegro and other Western Balkan countries. Importance of neighbourly relations and regional cooperation was particularly underlined as a precondition for further progress in EU integration.
At the invitation of the Aspen Institute, Mr Pejović took part in the high-level working group on Western Balkans, which discussed EU enlargement, regional cooperation, fight against corruption and organised crime, energy security, and key priorities for 2014.