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Thursday, 16. April 2015. 17:09

Visit of the Committee on European Integration to the Kingdom of the Netherlands – day one

In respect of the European Union enlargement, the Netherlands remain dedicated to this process, with the principle of strict, but fair policy

On day one of the official visit of the Committee on European Integration to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Committee members held meetings with members of the Committee on European Affairs of the House of Representatives of the Parliament, as well as with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Netherlands, the Committee members met with MPs Ms Marit Elisabeth Maij of the Labour Party and Mr Bas van 't Wout of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy. The topic of discussion was Montenegro’s progress in the negotiation process, but also the challenges at this stage of accession, in respect of implementing political and economic reforms required for approaching the EU standards. The MPs noted that with regard to Montenegro’s membership in the Union there was a strong consensus of all political parties, providing a strong momentum for this process, but they also emphasised that the key goal was reflected in promotion of the standard of living of citizens and adoption of the European principles, and that the membership to the Union would be a logical result of the hard work in this area.

According to the Dutch parliamentarians, the general position in this state is that all candidate countries should develop close relations with the EU, either in the capacity of an affiliate member or through the membership negotiation process. As they said, the Netherlands considered itself a member state with a restrictive policy regarding the enlargement of the Union, but essentially that related to the implementation of a strict but fair policy. The MPs of the Dutch Parliament were interested in Montenegro’s relations with Russia in light of harmonisation of Montenegrin foreign policy with the EU in respect of the Ukrainian crisis, the challenges that the country was facing in the process of implementation of regulations, as well as the steps that were being undertaken in combating corruption and organised crime.

At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the MPs met with Deputy Director General for European Cooperation Mr Matthijs van der Plas and his associates. In addition to presenting Montenegro’s success in negotiations, reflected in opening of more than half of the chapters, the MPs also spoke of the necessity of equal progress in all chapters, but they were also interested in the level of support of the citizens of the Netherlands to the EU enlargement. 

Their interlocutors from the Ministry said that the support of public opinion was lower than in 2004, but that that was a result of both financial and economic crisis and dissatisfaction with premature accession of Bulgaria and Romania, for which, due to their lack of reform implementation, the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism was introduced. However, as they added, regardless of the fall in support of the citizens, the Government remained dedicated to this process. The meeting was also marked by the interest of representatives of the Ministry of Labour in work on establishing the Anti-corruption Agency, as well as the position of the media in Montenegrin society, followed by discussions on these topics.  

The participants in the visit to the Netherlands are Chairperson of the Committee Mr Slaven Radunović, and members Mr Obrad Mišo Stanišić, Ms Nada Drobnjak, Mr Predrag Bulatović, Mr Koča Pavlović and Mr Danko Šarančić.