Representatives of civil society bodies discussed in Brussels the current situation of Montenegro's EU accession negotiations at the 12th meeting of the EU-Montenegro Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee (JCC). A final joint declaration welcomed the fast growth of Montenegro's economy in 2018 as well as the fall of unemployment.
On the other hand, the JCC expressed its concerns regarding media freedom in Montenegro and political interference in the work of the national public broadcaster, and flagged up the lack of progress in dealing with cases of violence against journalists.
Regarding the right of establishment and the freedom to provide services, the JCC acknowledged Montenegro's significant progress in aligning its national legislation with EU law, but urged Montenegrin authorities to pay attention to the ongoing discussions within the EU on the services package. The JCC also welcomed the establishment of the council for cooperation between government institutions and NGOs and emphasised the importance of civil society organisations' involvement in all aspects of policy making and in EU accession negotiations.
The JCC strongly endorsed Montenegro's successful efforts to align its national legislation with the EU acquis in the area of legal and irregular migration and asylum, but the joint declaration also states that Montenegro must further "strengthen its migration management capacity". The JCC also commended Montenegro's support for the UN's Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, recently signed in Marrakesh. (dgf)