News 28 Mar 12

EU 'Screening' of Montenegro Starts in Brussels

Informal discussions between Montenegro and the EU have begun in Brussels with the first presentation of EU laws to the Montenegrin negotiators.

Milena Milosevic
BIRN
Podgorica

Members of the Montenegrin workgroup dealing with chapter 23, on the rule of law, on Tuesday finished a two-day meeting with representatives of the European Commission in Brussels.

The meeting was to familiarize Montenegrins with EU laws in the fields of judiciary, anti-corruption policies, fundamental rights and rights of citizens, which they must adopt prior to accession.

“This is an opportunity for the EU experts to explain those issues that will be emphasised during the accession talks," Alberto Cammarata, from the EU delegation in Podgorica, told Montenegro's public broadcaster on Monday.

This process, commonly known as “screening", usually represents the first phase of negotiations between the EU and would-be members.

Representatives of the other two candidate countries from the Balkans, Macedonia and Serbia, attended the meeting as observers.

On Wednesday and Thursday, EU experts will meet representatives of Montenegro's workgroup for chapter 24, dealing with justice, freedom and security.

The next time they come to Brussels, Montenegrins will present their domestic legislation, the foreign ministry announced.

The upcoming negotiations between Montenegro and the EU have some novel aspects to them. Montenegro has included civil society in its negotiation teams.

The EU, on the other hand, has dropped the practice of opening accession talks with science and culture and has decided to start with the most demanding issues, such as the rule of law, organized crime and corruption.

Montenegro should officially open membership talks with the EU in June.

 

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