Press points after the JLS Sub-committee meeting

autor: Ministarstvo evropskih poslova

During the last two days I have been co-chairing the seventh Justice, Freedom and Security Sub-committee meeting. I also had the opportunity to discuss the state of reforms and government activities in the area of rule of law with Minister Pejovic. And tomorrow I am also meeting Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, Mr. Pazin and Minister of Interior, Mr Nuhodzic.

Since the opening of negotiations on Chapters 23 and 24 the Justice, Freedom and Security Sub-committee has become one of the two yearly stocktaking moments of discussion and assessment of the progress made by Montenegro in meeting negotiations commitments in the rule of law area. Jointly with Montenegro, we are looking at progress made in the implementation of the Action Plans and in meeting the Interim Benchmarks set in the context of negotiations, and we are also identifying priorities for the work ahead.

EU Member States also participate, as observers, in our meeting.

Discussions during the meeting are mainly based on the report delivered by Montenegro on the implementation of the Action Plans. Based on our preliminary assessment of implementation of the Action Plans and our discussions during this Subcommittee over the last two days, we Can make following preliminary observations:

·The 3.5 years of implementation of the Action Plans for chapters 23 and 24 has resulted in good significant progress in the area of legislative reform, as well as continuous training and awareness raising activities.

·The process of institution-building is at a very advanced stage. However, all the institutions, and in particular the Anti-Corruption Agency, Special Prosecutor's Office Special Police Unit need to be provided with the necessary environment and capacity which would enable them to effectively fulfil their mandate.

·Despite acknowledged progress in establishing an initial track record in the area of repression of high-level corruption and organised crime, in several areas the impact of legislative and institutional reforms is not yet entirely visible, and the results in terms of track records remain too limited. This applies in particular to some areas of prevention of corruption, seizure and confiscation of criminal assets, as well as track records with regard to violence against journalists, investigation and prosecution of alleged ill-treatment by law enforcement officers, gender based violence and victim protection, human trafficking and money laundering. In many areas sanctions foreseen by law are not yet effectively applied.

·For the coming period, it will be crucial for Montenegro to demonstrate credible and sustainable progress in all areas of Rule of Law. This will require engagement of all the relevant institutions and actors involved in this process, including strong political commitment and responsibility.

Thank you for your attention and I am happy to take a few questions.