Social policy reforms among top priorities for Montenegro's EU accession

Members of the European Economic and Social Committee  and representatives of Montenegro's civil society met in Podgorica on 17 July to discuss the state of play and the work ahead in Montenegro's EU accession negotiations and adopted a joint declaration.

The EU-Montenegro Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) called for increased efforts from the Montenegrin government to meet the benchmarks set for closing the negotiating chapters, especially the interim benchmarks on the rule of law.

Regarding social policy and employment, the JCC stressed the importance of labour law as a basis for the structural reform of the labour market, which would be beneficial to the country's overall economic and social situation. In order to prepare for the free movement of workers, the JCC called on the Montenegrin authorities to start preparing in good time to participate in the coordination of social security systems and the EURES employment service network, as well as for the use of the European Health Insurance Card. As regards the situation of the media and civil society organisations in the country, the JCC expressed concern about freedom of the press, specifically as regards the national public broadcaster RTCG.

The next meeting of the JCC – its 12th - will be held in Brussels in the second half of 2018. The JCC is made up of twelve members, six from each side, representing the EESC and Montenegrin civil society.(ks)