The MEPs assessed the progress made by Albania, Montenegro and Macedonia on the path of their accession to the European Union. Three resolutions adopted on Friday reflect the views of MEPs on how prepared are the countries for EU membership.

The resolution notes that Montenegro has generally achieved good progress in the EU integration process. The MEPs, however, call for the country’s political leadership to focus on remaining challenges, such as the rule of law, freedom of the media, corruption, money laundering, organised crime and associated violence.

The resolution adopted by 484 votes to 80 with 63 abstentions highlights Montenegro’s efforts for constructive regional cooperation and good bilateral neighbourhood relations. The ratification of the agreement on the establishment of the border between Montenegro and Kosovo is welcomed by the MEPs. At the same time, the rapid conclusion of agreements on resolving unsettled border disputes with other neighbouring countries is of particular importance according to the resolution.

The text of the resolution recalls the strategic importance of Montenegro’s accession to NATO for ensuring stability and peace in the Western Balkans. The MEPs share the Commission’s assessment that with strong political will and sustainable progress Montenegro can potentially be ready for EU membership by 2025.

In 2006, Montenegro’s parliament declared independence from Serbia-Montenegro’s State Union. In 2008, the new country applied for EU membership. In 2010 The Commission gave a favourable opinion on Montenegro’s application, highlighting 7 key priorities to be addressed to start negotiations and the Council granted it the status of a candidate country.

In December 2011 the Council launched the accession process in regard to opening negotiations in June 2012. Formally, the accession negotiations with Montenegro started on 29 June 2012.

Recent developments in Montenegro’s Euro-Atlantic path were possible because Austria gave strong support, which has raised the issue as one of the priorities for the Presidency of the EU Council. Vienna is interested in developing the entire Western Balkans region in the same way. The value of Austrian investment per capita in Montenegro is higher than in any other country in the region.