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"Montenegro is making steady progress on the path of European integration"

Speaking at the end of a two-day official visit to Podgorica, PACE President Pedro Agramunt congratulated Montenegro on the progress made in the implementation of the country’s obligations and commitments to the Council of Europe during the ten years of membership in the Organisation.

“Montenegro is a solid partner of the Council of Europe and I would like to congratulate the authorities on the excellent co-operation with the Council of Europe expert and monitoring bodies. We should continue our political and expert dialogue. This is all the more important as Montenegro is making steady progress on the path of European integration, thanks in particular to the Council of Europe expert support in key reforms areas, such as the reform of the judiciary, the fight against corruption and organised crime, non-discrimination and media,” stressed PACE President.

Turning to domestic political challenges, Pedro Agramunt emphasised the responsibility of the majority and of the opposition to engage in constructive political dialogue within the country’s democratic institutions. “One of the aims of my visit was to discuss the current political situation and the challenges that the country is facing after the parliamentary elections. Constructive co-operation on key laws and strategic reform priorities is the responsibility of both, the majority and the opposition. This is essential for the stability and solidity of the country’s democratic institutions, for the effectiveness of the reforms, as well as – above all – for the citizens of Montenegro. The non-participation of some parliamentary parties in the work of the Parliament results in the fact that the views of the voters which supported them are not reflected in the democratic parliamentary debate. The democratic political process must take place within the country’s democratic institutions and I urged all political stakeholders across the board to intensify efforts in the search of a political solution to the current parliamentary crisis,” stressed PACE President.

Pedro Agramunt also praised Montenegro for maintaining good neighbourly relations with the countries of the region as well as for its support to the Council of Europe’s action in addressing Pan-European challenges, in particular, combating terrorism and radicalisation, addressing the refugee crisis and the migration phenomenon, as well as counteracting populist trends on the right and on the left of the political spectrum. “In the face of such momentous challenges we must remember the origins of the Council of Europe and the ideals that animated the process of European construction: peace, international co-operation and the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. My discussions reminded me of the region’s painful experience of past conflicts, when, for example, Montenegro opened its doors for refugees and IDPs from the region and provided shelter to an important number of people – the equivalent of almost one fourth of the country’s population. In this context, I look forward to the active participation of the Montenegrin delegation in the Assembly’s major debate on migration and the refugee crisis which will be held during the June part-session,” he continued.

In conclusion, PACE President thanked the authorities of Montenegro and the political actors for their support to the Assembly’s #NoHateNoFear initiative. “#NoHateNoFear is a democratic and civic response of each and every European to the terrorist threat and I am glad that Montenegro provides its full backing to this initiative,” concluded Pedro Agramunt.

During the visit, PACE President met with Duško Marković, Prime Minister of Montenegro, Zoran Janković, State Secretary for Political Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ivan Brajović, Speaker of the Parliament of Montenegro, Andrija Nikolić, President of the Committee on International Relations and Emigrants, and Predrag Sekulić, Head of the delegation of Montenegro to PACE.