Deputy Prime Minister Zoran Pažin presented key results of Montenegrin judicial reform at the roundtable “Criminal Justice Reform Top – Achievements, Challenges, and Perspectives”. During the meeting, it was highlighted that the rule of law is an area that gives pace to the overall success of the reforms in Montenegro and there is no doubt that this is the most demanding undertaking of the whole society that is striving for European integration. Pažin stressed that great contribution to the rule of law is given by the courts and judges by consistently affirming the right to a fair and public hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal within a reasonable time. Moreover, one of the Government’s priorities over the next three years is to develop alternative dispute resolution methods to make justice more accessible to citizens. In order to encourage the European Council to set benchmarks for the final closure of Chapters 23 and 24, which will mark the start of the final phase of the EU accession process, Pažin pointed out that Montenegro must achieve convincing results in the judiciary sector.
The leaders of the EU and Turkey will meet on March 26 at the Evksinograd residence in Varna, Bulgaria to discuss many issued as the Customs Union agreement, requirements of a signed migrant deal, the fight against terrorism and Turkey’s accession to the bloc. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. The meeting will build on the previous leaders’ meeting that took place on May 25, 2017. On the Customs Union issue, the council has not given the required mandate to the European Commission to launch technical talks with Turkey because there is not the consensus of all members, Germany primarily. The Customs Union covers all industrial goods, but does not address agriculture (except processed agricultural products), services or public procurement right now.
In the meeting will be also discussed the implementation of the migrant deal. The migrant deal envisages a one-for-one formula under which failed asylum seekers in Europe are returned to Turkey while Syrian refugees are resettled in EU states in a quota system. Turkey was promised to be given the full amount of six billion euros in two parts. The first part, 3 billion euros, is to be fulfilled by 2018 and the European Commission said it will grant another 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion). Furthermore, in Varna, the Turkish leader will reiterate Turkey’s candidacy for full membership to the bloc.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Zoran Pažin affirmed that Montenegro is ready to open the remaining three negotiating chapters this year and to fully focus on the fulfillment of conditions for the completion of negotiations in the forthcoming period. Pažin expressed the full readiness of Montenegro to enter into the next, final phase of the negotiation process by obtaining final criteria for closing negotiations in the most demanding negotiating chapters 23 and 24 regarding the rule of law. Deputy Prime Minister Pažin praised Montenegro’s reform efforts and expressed the expectation that the quality and speed of the adoption of European standards and values by Montenegro will continue to make it a model for other countries in the region. In this regard, he stressed that Montenegro remains the region’s leader in the process of European integration.
The European Union’s Border and Migration Control Agency Frontex closely monitors the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but cannot significantly help. In order to be able to provide full-capacity assistance with a non-EU country, according to the new mandate, Frontex needs to have a bilateral agreement, which is at the moment missing with BiH. If an agreement is reached, Frontex has the right to carry out full-capacity executive operations in countries outside the EU, and this would give it the right to launch a mission to the country and send police officers with executive powers. Considering that there is no such agreement, last year BiH authorities agreed to establish two coordinating points: one at the Sarajevo airport and the other at the border crossing Zupca, near Trebinje.
The Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water, Yuval Steinitz told the management and board of the company Israel Gas Lines Company that it was considered the possibility of making it participate in the construction of a gas pipeline to export gas to the ‘Europe. Society plays a significant role in continuing to promote the connection of the economy to natural gas, and the involvement of a government project in this project is believed to increase the chances of it materializing. The plan to transport gas from Israel to Italy via Cyprus and Greece involves the construction of a subsea pipeline of 2,100 km, making it the longest submarine gas pipeline in the world. The construction cost, expected to be completed in 2025, is estimated at 25 billion NIS.
Peter Van der Auweraert, head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) mission in BiH and the Minister for Human Rights and Refugees, Semih Borovac, met to discuss an adequate response to the migrant crisis and the increasing influx of migrants. A special emphasis was placed on the growing issue of Roma children smuggled to Europe, an issue that, according to Minister Borovac, will be faced in cooperation with Roma organizations in order to prevent it. Van der Auweraert has also praised the attitude of members of the Border Police of BiH towards migrants who have stated the respectful treatment they receive from border guards.
Serbian Foreign Minister confirmed he wants to maintain the good relations with Ukraine, after Ukraine’s ambassador to Belgrade Aleksandrovych’s statement about Russia using Serbia to provoke a new war in the Balkans. FM Dacic explained why Aleksandrovych had to wait for 14 months for an audience with him, given that the same treatment, according to Dacic, was used against the ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to Ukrain, Bulatovic. He also clarified why Serbia voted “against Ukraine” (against the UN resolution for human rights in Crimea): Ukraine supports the Western countries’ proposals to change the mandate of the UNMIK in Kosovo, a solution which is opposed by Serbia. Moreover, Ukraine acted against Serbia’s interests staying “out of the room” during the voting on membership of Kosovo in UNESCO in 2015.
The European Union may refuse to grant Ukraine EUR 600 million in financial assistance due to the ineffectiveness of verification of electronic declarations, the head of the anti-corruption committee of the Verkhovna Rada, Yehor Sobolev, has said. Now the European Union may refuse Ukraine in assistance worth EUR 600 million, including due to the complete failure to check electronic declarations. I do not put the blame only on you (the National Agency on Corruption Prevention, NACP). The responsibility lies with the entire leadership of the state, including us,” Sobolev said when members of the anti-corruption committee spoke with the heads of the NACP, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) and the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) in Kyiv on Wednesday.
The Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Serbia will develop successful bilateral relations through which they can contribute to strengthening regional cooperation, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said in the interview with Belgrade-based daily Politika during his first official visit to Serbia.Zaev told daily Politika that the political and security situation in Macedonia is stable. The political and security situation in Macedonia is stable, we have led the reform processes carefully, bearing in mind the civil and state interests and the current political leadership in the region that showed responsibility for a stable region, I am convinced that we are on the right track to our common strategic goals, Zaev said. He said that European values are needed for citizens in our countries, our perspectives are open and how fast we will reach the desired goal, it depends on us. Both Macedonia and Serbia need peace and stability in their countries as well as in the region and in the world, because only regional and world peace means a truly safe “home”. Political decisions are in fact ways to guarantee peace, but as long as we are together and on the side of peace – we have no problems, Zaev said.He is convinced that the commitment of the leadership of Serbia, the same as in Macedonia, is to resolve all issues peacefully, through dialogue, wisely and with a sense of responsibility.We owe it to the citizens anywhere they live in Macedonia, Serbia, Balkans or worldwide, Zaev said. Zaev agrees that the Macedonian and Serbian people are united with historical and cultural past, on the basis of which the future can be built.