Minister for European Affairs marks milestone in EU-Montenegro relations5/7/12
PODGORICA, 5 July 2012 - The Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton, T.D., today met with the Foreign Minister of Montenegro, Milan Rocen, at the start of her visit to the Western Balkans.
Looking forward to Ireland's forthcoming Presidency of the EU in the first half of 2013, Minister Creighton referred to the importance Ireland attaches to the EU enlargement process.
“My visit to Montenegro, only a few days after the European Council took the historic decision to open the accession negotiations, demonstrates Ireland's continued commitment to supporting the countries of the Western Balkans in their efforts to meet the accession criteria. The EU decision is a reflection of the progress made by the Government and people of Montenegro but it is also a significant challenge,” she said.
“Ireland as incoming EU Presidency and as Chair-in-Office this year of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will continue to support Montenegro and assist the country in its chosen path of EU integration.”
In her meetings in Montenegro, Minister Creighton highlighted the issues of democratisation, the rule of law, freedom of the media and combating high-level corruption and organised crime.
“I welcome the efforts of Montenegro to do more in the fight against corruption and organised crime and to ensure full respect for fundamental rights and freedoms. These are priorities of the EU and of the OSCE in the country and I am pleased that we are working on addressing these issues together,” she said.
“The priorities of the Irish OSCE Chair-in-Office include good governance, transparency and the fight against corruption. We are exchanging experiences between 56 countries on best practices and I was pleased to hear how Montenegro is benefiting from this process.”
Following her visit to Montenegro Minister Creighton will travel to Croatia where she is due to attend and address the "Croatia Summit" in Dubrovnik. The Minister will conclude her trip to the region with visits to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Turkey.