Estonia supports starting European Union accession negotiations with Montenegro since Montenegro has fulfilled the necessary criteria, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said at the meeting of the European Union ministers of foreign and European Affairs in Luxembourg.
Paet stated that Estonia shares the opinion of the European Commission that in the past few years Montenegro has made progress in fulfilling the criteria necessary for starting accession negotiations and carrying out reforms, and starting accession negotiations is recommended. “Candidate countries must be recognised according to their achievements. In short, deciding to open accession agreements right now is a matter of the trustworthiness of the European Union enlargement policy, as it will send a signal to all the Western Balkan countries – not just Montenegro,” he asserted.
“In the area of rule of law reforms Montenegro still has work to do, but starting negotiations will create opportunities for them to address their problems more effectively. It is also a good way to prepare the candidate country for its impending accession,” the Estonian foreign minister added. “In addition, the European Union has greater influence over reforms in Montenegro and their implementation if negotiations are already underway,” Paet noted.
In the case of Macedonia*, Estonia has also supported the European Commission’s recommendation to begin negotiations and move forward with a Stabilisation and Association Agreement. “Macedonia has fulfilled the necessary requirements for moving into the next phase of the agreement. A positive decision would be beneficial for European Union businesses, which is especially helpful during the current economic crisis. When the European Commission has given its recommendation, quicker progress could be made in integrating Macedonia,” said Paet.
Helen Ennok, press spokesperson, Estonia’s Permanent Representation to the EU
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* Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia