Montenegro should not miss the chance to become an EU member in 2024 but this would require significant efforts, Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic said on June 29 at a conference on the ninth anniversary of the start of membership negotiations.
The country is seen as the most advanced of all the Western Balkan states in its EU membership negotiations, but in May, EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said that the country has to advance in the area of rule of law in order to mark progress in its path towards EU membership.
Krivokapic pointed out that 78% of Montenegrins want the country to become an EU member.
“This is the only chance for Montenegro to be different, more orderly and to take the quality of life of citizens to the next level,” Krivokapic said.
He added that he has set 2024 as the year of Montenegro's admission to the EU.
“This can happen only if we all … realise that this is the only path for us,” Krivokapic said.
Montenegro has already opened all chapters in its negotiations for EU membership. However, the country still lacks a track record in improving rule of law. The new government, which took office in December, has pledged to tackle corruption at all levels and had already revealed several cases of alleged misuse of funds and corruption by former public administration, but so far no case has been launched.
Moreover, the ruling coalition has constant disagreements and all reform efforts have been stalled as one of the main members of the ruling coalition – the pro-Russian Democratic Front (DF) – constantly refuses to support the Krivokapic government’s initiatives. Currently, the DF is boycotting the parliament’s sessions after pro-Serbian justice minister Vladimir Leposavic was sacked over his denial of the Srebrenica genocide. Without the support of the DF, the government cannot pass any legislative changes in parliament as it loses its majority.