19:01 / 04.09.2023.

Author: Katja Miličić

Montenegro’s president says he wants to accelerate EU accession for his country

Jakov Milatović

Jakov Milatović

Foto: Robert Anić / PIXSELL

Montenegrin President Jakov Milatović arrived in Croatia Monday for his first official visit to an EU member state since he took office in May.

Milatović met with his host, President Zoran Milanović in Zagreb on Monday. The key messages the two leaders conveyed in addressing reporters after their meeting were that the two countries were good neighbors and partners and that Zagreb strongly supported Montenegro's road to EU membership.

President Milanović reiterated that the accession process must be accelerated for the countries of the Western Balkans, especially the ones that are already members of NATO.

"Countries that joined NATO, namely, Montenegro, Albania, and North Macedonia, on whose accession negotiations the EU is dragging its feet, are countries that are being consciously and irresponsibly sacrificed,” Milanović said.

All of the unresolved issues between the two countries are ones that were inherited, said Milatović, adding that they must be resolved through dialogue. This also applies to the case of the training ship Jadran, a large sailboat of practical and historical significance to Croatia that happened to be in Montenegro for repairs when war broke out in 1990 and which Croatia wants Montenegro to return.

"I would like to see dialogue between the Croatian and Montenegrin governments to continue in the upcoming period when it comes to resolving all of our issues. With respect to the training ship Jadran, it is currently owned by Montenegro. It is also important how we approach solving problems and I think we just agreed that it has to be in the spirit of good neighbors and friends,” he said.

President Milatović also spoke about political stability in his country, at a time when the new government has not yet been formed. He said that those who allowed the rule of law to be eroded in his country could not be part of the solution or part of a government that wants to reform the judiciary.

As far as his own policies go, he said he was firmly committed to accelerating Montenegro's path toward EU accession.

The two presidents both welcomed the addition of a member of the Croat community in Montenegro in the new parliament.

President Milatović also met with Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

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