Statement on Montenegro by Dilyana Slavova, the President of the External Relations Section, and Lidija Pavić-Rogošić, co-chair of the EU-Montenegro Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee

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The EESC, as the body representing civil society at the EU level and a firm supporter and defender of the democratic right to vote, the right of free speech and the right of expression, followed closely the electoral campaign and the parliamentary elections that took place on Sunday, 30 August, in Montenegro.

We welcome the preliminary findings of the OSCE/ODIHR electoral observation mission report which states that the elections were generally competitive, with peaceful yet confrontational campaign, and that the election day was orderly. The EESC notes with satisfaction that the active participation of the local civil society organisations (CSOs) in the monitoring of the election day greatly contributed to the transparency and good administration of the process. Equally, we regret that the gaps in the legislation and the lack of independent media scrutiny allowed misuse of office and state resources.

The EESC calls upon a swift formation of a new democratic government that would continue and accelerate Montenegro's reform process and country's EU accession negotiations. As the frontrunner among the EU candidate states, the EESC expects the new Montenegrin government to further strengthen its cooperation and partnership with the national CSOs in order to consolidate and improve country's democracy and the rule of law.

The EESC also further encourages Montenegro to continue its efforts on its European path and recalls that associating CSOs is a key matter in this process. In that sense we hope to continue our cooperation with Montenegro within the EU-Montenegro Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) and we look forward to the 14th meeting scheduled to be held by the end of this year.

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Statement on Montenegro by Dilyana Slavova, the President of the External Relations Section, and Lidija Pavić-Rogošić, co-chair of the EU-Montenegro Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee