EP greets Montenegro's reform efforts, urges Macedonia to deal with political crisis

The European Parliament said on Thursday that Montenegro was making good progress on the road to the EU and that the EU should start accession talks with Macedonia if it held free and fair elections.

Members of the European Parliament voted separate resolutions on the progress of the two countries at a plenary session in Strasbourg.

The resolutions are legally non-binding documents but they do represent a political message.

"Montenegro continues to be the good news story of the Western Balkans and I am pleased that our resolution reflects that", said rapporteur Charles Tannock.

MEPs welcome the steady progress made in EU accession negotiations with Montenegro,  but note that corruption remains a serious concern, particularly in public procurement, healthcare, education, spatial planning, privatisation and the construction sector. They call on Montenegro "to make combating corruption one of its priorities."

They also commend Montenegro for contributing to EU-led crisis management missions and implementing international restrictive measures, including those taken in response to Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and events in Eastern Ukraine. Finally, MEPs also "welcome NATO's decision to invite Montenegro to join the alliance".

If the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) can break its current political stalemate, hold free and fair elections soon and put its reforms back on track, then there should be no further obstacles to starting EU accession talks with it, say MEPs in a separate resolution.

The Macedonian Opposition has not been taking part in the parliament's work for some time. An EU-mediated solution was agreed for early elections to be held by the end of April, but the Opposition announced a boycott, stressing that the ruling party has not met the agreed conditions. The elections were then moved to early June, but it is still not known if the elections will be held.

"The time has come for (FYROM) to take a new step towards Euro-Atlantic integration and to start EU accession talks if the elections proceed in accordance with democratic standards," said rapporteur Ivo Vajgl.

Macedonia has had EU candidate status since December 2005 but is still waiting for the start of accession talks due to a dispute with Greece regarding its name.

MEPs commended the country's responsible behaviour "in coping with the huge influx of migrants and refugees" and expressed concern about widespread corruption, notably in state and local administration, public procurement and financing of political parties.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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