The ninth meeting of the Accession Conference with Montenegro at ministerial level was held in Luxembourg to open negotiations on chapter 1 – Free movement of goods and chapter 22 – Regional policy and coordination of structural instruments. Furthermore, the accession conference provisionally closed negotiations on chapter 30 – External relations.
The European Union delegation was led by Ms Helena Dalli, Minister of European Affairs and Equality of Malta, on behalf of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The European Commission was represented by Mr Christian Danielsson, Director General for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. The Montenegrin delegation was led by Mr Aleksandar Andrija Pejović, Minister of European Affairs.
With today’s Conference, out of a total of 35 negotiation chapters, 28 chapters have now been opened for negotiations of which 3 chapters have already been provisionally closed. Further accession conferences will be planned, as appropriate, in order to take the process forward in the second half of 2017. The accession negotiations were launched in June 2012.
Regarding the opening of negotiations on chapter 1 – Free movement of goods and chapter 22 – Regional policy and coordination of structural instruments, the Union has closely examined Montenegro’s present state of preparations. On the understanding that Montenegro has to continue to make progress in the alignment with and implementation of the acquis in these chapters, the EU noted that there are benchmarks that need to be met for provisional closure of these chapters.
In addition, the EU underlined that it would devote particular attention to monitoring all specific issues mentioned in its common positions. Monitoring of progress in the alignment with and implementation of the acquis will continue throughout the negotiations. The Conference will have to return to these chapters at an appropriate moment.
The benchmarks for each chapter opened are as follows:
Chapter 1 – Free movement of goods
- Montenegro adopts and puts in force legislation transposing directive 2001/83/EC on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use as amended by directive 2004/27/EC and legislation transposing directive 2001/82/EC relating to medicinal products for veterinary use – this includes establishing the authorization process for medicinal products in both fields -, as well as directive 89/105/EEC relating to the pricing and reimbursement of medicinal products, in line with the principles of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice.
- Montenegro continues to make progress towards alignment of horizontal legislation with the acquis and demonstrates good progress towards transposition of the new, global, and old approach product acquis particularly in those sectors where alignment is so far insufficient or limited.
- Montenegro continues to make progress towards completing the introduction of mutual recognition clauses, and the necessary amendments to domestic legislation and administrative practices in order to comply with articles 34-36 TFEU.
- Montenegro demonstrates that it has the adequate administrative capacity to properly implement and enforce the legislation in all horizontal areas affecting the free movement of goods (regulatory, standardization, accreditation, metrology, conformity assessment and market surveillance) as well as legislation transposing new, global, and old approach product acquis, by the time of accession.
Chapter 22 – Regional policy and coordination of structural instruments
- A satisfactory level of implementation by Montenegro of the EU pre-accession funding approved for indirect management, in particular for the components and sectors relevant for the implementation of the future ESI Funds has been demonstrated.
- Montenegro sends to the Commission an advanced and comprehensive draft of its partnership agreement (PA) document, which outlines arrangements to ensure alignment with the Union strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the selected thematic objectives and the main expected results for each of the ESI Funds; this will comprise outline indications of the planned Operational Program, including sources of funding as well as a summary of the assessment of the fulfillment of applicable ex-ante conditionals.
- Montenegro provides a detailed plan and timetable for the finalization of its PA and for the preparation and finalization of the operational program. This plan should include information on how and at which level Montenegro intends to organize the programming process and on the precise role and tasks of all the institutions involved at national and at regional/local level.
- Montenegro adopts an institutional set-up for implementing EU cohesion policy, including the formal designation of institutional structures (with specific tasks and responsibilities) for the operational program. This will include managing authority, certifying authority and audit authority, as well as intermediate bodies where appropriate and already identified. Adequate separation of functions between relevant institutions needs to be ensured.
- Montenegro adopts individual organizational development strategies for all key organisations involved in the management/implementation of future ESI Funds (including the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis, training needs assessment, staffing plans, training/capacity building plan) as well as an overall institutional development and capacity building/training strategy, based on an adequate risk assessment of all bodies involved (including beneficiaries where already identified).
- Montenegro provides to the Commission a detailed plan and timetable with regard to the setting up of a monitoring and evaluation system, including the set-up of an electronic management and information system (MIS).
Chapter provisionally closed
Chapter 30 – External relations
Regarding chapter 30 – External relations, given the high level of Montenegro’s state of preparedness and its fulfillment of obligations regarding this chapter, the EU noted that, at this stage, the chapter does not require further negotiations.
The EU underlined that it would devote particular attention to monitoring all specific issues mentioned in its common position. Monitoring of progress in the alignment with and implementation of the acquis will continue throughout the negotiations. The EU will, if necessary, return to this chapter at an appropriate moment.