Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/montenegro : Dutch Parliament Clears Path for Podgorica's Candidate Status

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/montenegro : Dutch Parliament Clears Path for Podgorica's Candidate Status

Article excerpt

The Dutch parliament has removed the last obstacle to Montenegro's candidacy for EU membership, to be granted at the forthcoming European Council, on 16-17 December. During a debate, on 8 December, the Dutch MPs gave the green light to The Hague to grant Podgorica candidate status, without, however, specifying any date for opening accession talks. The Netherlands was the only member state to have had reservations. "There is a consensus among the other 26 member states that Montenegro should move forward," an EU diplomat told Europolitics New Neighbours. A decision to that end requires unanimity at the European Council.

"The Dutch government will not create any obstacles to the decision on Montenegro's candidate status," a spokesperson of the Dutch Permanent Representation to the EU told Europolitics New Neighbours, commenting on the result of the debate in the Dutch parliament. Following the recent parliamentary elections and the subsequent formation of a minority government supported by the right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV) of Geert Wilders, the Netherlands has toughened its stance on the EU's enlargement policy. The Hague has been especially strict on such issues as organised crime, corruption and social liberties, requesting a proven track record in reforms in these fields before approving any steps forward in the EU integration process.

NO DATE

The European Council is not expected to specify a date for opening accession talks with Montenegro. According to the European Commission, which has recently published its opinion on this matter, a decision to this end should be taken only after Podgorica implements certain reforms in the areas of rule of law, fight against organised crime and freedom of expression. …

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