Picula, Photo: http://toninopicula.com/
The local elections in Niksic once again emphasize the extremely polarized political scene in Montenegro and cause additional instabilities, said the rapporteur of the European Parliament for Montenegro, Tonino Picula.
Today, he presented the Report for Montenegro before the EP Foreign Affairs Committee.
Speaking about the local elections in Niksic, he said that all irregularities and doubts should be removed as soon as possible, and it is worth considering the possibility of holding local elections in all units at the same time.
“There are still many important topics that are worth highlighting. However, due to the limitation of the length of the draft report, I will subsequently include some of the political messages in the form of amendments, “Picula announced.
Presenting the report, he stated that the record turnout in last year’s parliamentary elections was certainly, in itself, a clear political message from the citizens of Montenegro.
“I welcome the peaceful transition of government in accordance with laws and constitutional deadlines, as well as the fact that the new government officials held their first working meetings with partners in Brussels. It is crucial that the Assembly functions as a central place for democratic political action. “It must be an alibi for political blockades or political manipulation. I remind you that Montenegro is still waiting for the vote on the budget for the current year. It is necessary to accept the positive elements of the current political legacy, and upgrade it and make it more efficient,” Picula said.
He added that he was especially happy, but even more obliged by the extremely high rate of support for Montenegro’s membership in the EU.
“It has additionally increased to 76.6 percent, while 80 percent of citizens have a positive opinion of the EU,” Picula reminded.
He added that this percentage should be a signpost for domestic political actors on the one hand to respect the clear will of the citizens when it comes to EU accession, but also for the EU to preserve credibility and continue the enlargement process.
“The inclusion of Montenegro and other countries in the pre-accession process in the work of the Conference on the Future of Europe is a symbolically important step in that direction. Montenegro is the country that has come the furthest on that path, opening all and temporarily closing three chapters. the biggest challenge is closing closed chapters, ”Picula said.
He said he supported the adoption of the new methodology, but it was clear that overall progress in all chapters or clusters would depend on progress in the rule of law, ie Chapters 23 and 24.
“This is one of the main messages of the report I am presenting today – underlining the limited progress Montenegro has made in judicial reform and calling on the authorities to tackle the independence, professionalism, efficiency and accountability of judges as soon as possible, in line with the recommendations. “Montenegro already has the mechanisms needed to ensure both judicial and prosecutorial independence, but they need to be implemented and upgraded,” Picula said.
He supported the postponement of the urgent voting and the initiation of consultations on the laws on the prosecutor’s office, because, as he assessed, extraordinary procedures must not jeopardize the already limited progress in the area of rule of law and fight against corruption.
“The same applies to public administration reform, which should certainly be continued and based on expertise, but also post-election staffing, where political revenge should be avoided,” Picula said.
The report emphasizes the constructive role of Montenegro in the context of regional cooperation and neighborly relations, and it is worth praising and continuing the current full compliance with EU foreign and security policy, as well as participation in joint missions.
“I especially emphasize the area of freedom and independence of the media, which is worrying and which has been assessed without progress by the last five reports of the European Commission. I strongly condemn all attacks on journalists and call for urgent investigation and punishment of perpetrators. this issue will be one of the backbones of Montenegro’s pre-accession path, “Picula said.
From the current political events, he emphasized the obligation to protect the rights of minorities, all the more so because for the first time some do not have their own political representatives in the Assembly.
“Given that Montenegro is one of the most affected members of the so-called second wave of the pandemic in terms of health and economy, I support the launch of a new project last week and the continuation of action to help vaccinate and improve health systems in the region,” Picula said.
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