Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/montenegro : PM Djukanovic "Cannot Understand" Enlargement Fatigue

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/montenegro : PM Djukanovic "Cannot Understand" Enlargement Fatigue

Article excerpt

In Washington to promote Montenegro's bid for EU and NATO membership, the Montenegrin prime minister said he "cannot understand" how enlargement fatigue is taking hold in some EU member states. "Europe and NATO have no alternative," he told an audience at the Johns Hopkins University, on 21 January, adding that all Western Balkans nations "must be part of the EU". Milo Djukanovic, the long-time dominant figure in Montenegrin politics, urged the EU to "keep the door open" to the Balkans. He stressed how the bloody Balkan wars of the 1990s occurred when Europe was not paying sufficient attention to the region.

Djukanovic's pro-membership push comes as his country performs better than most of his Balkan neighbours in the membership stakes. In December 2009, Montenegro was granted a visa exemption from the EU for its citizens, submitted a 13,000-page response to a questionnaire from the European Commission, and was put on the path to NATO membership by having its membership action plan approved. "We expect to become a candidate country [for EU membership] in 2010. Our vision is steadily moving forward," he said, stressing that he needs the backing of all EU countries, including enlargement-sceptics like Germany, Austria and France, for this to happen as the Council of Ministers' decision designating Montenegro a candidate must be unanimous. The Commission is expected later this year to recommend such a step to the Council.

One potential sticking point could be the agreement Montenegro signed with the US in 2007 pledging, in return for US military aid, not to hand over US military personnel to the International Criminal Court (ICC). …

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