The EU-Montenegro Accession Conference, taking place in the margins of the EU Council meeting in Brussels, decided to push forward Montenegro’s EU accession talks by opening four new negotiation chapters dealing with statistics, customs, consumer and health protection and financial and budgetary issues.
Earlier today, the EU Council welcomed Montenegro’s progress in implementing reforms aimed to ensure the independence and increased efficiency of the judiciary.
“The Council notes with satisfaction Montenegro’s work on a number of issues identified in the progress report and, in particular, the recent adoption of several important measures in the area of prevention of corruption. Montenegro has also continued to implement its obligations under the Stabilization and Association Agreement and to play an active role in the region,” the Council said.
The EU ministers welcomed in particular Montenegro’s continued involvement in further development of regional cooperation and its full alignment with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, adding that further efforts are needed in certain areas to intensify legislative reforms and their effective implementation.
Accession negotiations with a candidate member country are only launched when EU governments, meeting in the European Council, have unanimously agreed upon accession.
Negotiations take place in intergovernmental conferences between the governments of the EU countries and that of the candidate country. They help candidate countries to prepare for EU membership as well as allow the EU to prepare itself for enlargement in terms of absorption capacity.
On a practical level, the body of EU legislation (the ‘acquis’) is divided into 35 chapters (by policy). The Council decides unanimously whether to open each chapter.
When negotiations on all chapters are completed, the terms and conditions – including possible safeguard clauses and transitional arrangements – are incorporated in an accession treaty. This treaty needs the European Parliament’s consent and the Council’s unanimous approval. All contracting states then ratify it in line with their own constitutional rules.