The Monitoring Committee today welcomed the “sustained political will and commitment” of the Montenegrin authorities to respect their obligations, and their involvement in the post-monitoring dialogue* with PACE. The parliamentarians underlined the country's “continued co-operation” with Council of Europe monitoring mechanisms and the Venice Commission, and said that Montenegro continued to play a positive role in the stabilisation of the region, taking part in several regional and multilateral initiatives.
Among the developments since 2015, the committee welcomed in particular the implementation of constitutional amendments related to the judiciary and the setting up of a comprehensive legal framework regulating the Courts, the Prosecutor's Offices, the Judicial Council, the Prosecutorial Council and the Constitutional Court. It noted the implementation of mechanisms for the prevention of torture and protection against discrimination. Parliamentarians also welcomed the adoption of the Law on Minority Rights and Freedoms, the level of protection of LGBTI persons, and the progress made in resolving the issue of displaced persons.
In the four areas identified by the Assembly in its Resolution 2030 (2015) as priorities for its post-monitoring dialogue with Montenegro, namely the independence of the judiciary, trust in the electoral process, the fight against corruption and the situation of media, it noticed, however, that progress had been limited and that even where improvements had been noted, such as in the independence of the judiciary or in the situation of media, they were counterbalanced by opposing negative trends.
It heard the assessment by the co-rapporteurs, Anne Mulder (Netherlands, ALDE) and Emanuelis Zingeris (Lithuania, EPP/CD), that, in these four key areas, Montenegro seemed to have reached a glass ceiling and that time had now come for this member State to demonstrate that there was a real political will to break through this glass ceiling, bearing in mind that this was not only the responsibility of the Montenegrin authorities but also of the opposition parties which must play their full role in Parliament.
Consequently, the committee adopted a draft resolution based on the report of the co-rapporteurs, recommending the continuation of the post-monitoring dialogue with Montenegro in the four key areas, as well as on the Law on Freedom of Religion, an issue that the Assembly had wished to follow as early as 2015. The committee proposed to assess progress in these areas “after the general elections to be held in 2020”.
*The Parliamentary Assembly decided to close the monitoring procedure in respect of Montenegro in 2015 and to open a post-monitoring dialogue with the country by adopting Resolution 2030 (2015).