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The long-awaited decision of the EU General Affairs Council on whether to open accession negotiations with Montenegro becomes known on Tuesday.
Podgorica is feeling more relaxed about its hopes of a start date for accession talks after last week’s reports that previously suspicious Dutch MPs had given the idea of negotiations a green light.
However, ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of the EU’s General Affairs Council, the Swedish and French votes are still uncertain.
Brussels-based portals and local media report that Sweden might delay a start to negotiations because of Montenegro’s performance in fighting organized crime and corruption.
French support for Montenegro's bid is also unclear.
Media report that Germany, which has taken an active role in supporting Montenegro’s advance towards the EU, is persuading France not to oppose the start of negotiations.
Momcilo Radulovic, chairman of a Montenegrin NGO, the European Movement, said he felt optimistic.
He expects the decision to be positive, he told Balkan Insight, emphasing that it is unrealistic for any country to solve all its problems prior to the start of talks.
Radulovic recalled that Croatia opened negotiations with the EU at the time when its indicted general, Ante Gotovina, was still at large and wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, ICTY.
Last December, the European Council set June 2012 as a possible start date for negotiations with Montenegro, pending the country’s progress in key priorities, which include curbing organized crime and corruption.
In its latest report, on May 22, the European Commission assessed that Montenegro had made sufficient progress in all areas.
Tuesday’s decision on talks with Montenegro must then be formally approved by the European Council, at a meeting scheduled for June 28 and 29.
The Hague Tribunal has been successful in bringing wartime commanders to justice but hasn’t met expectations on reconciliation, chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz told BIRN.