Montenegrin workers need to be ready for benefits EU provides

Podgorica, 5 February 2018 – Entry into the European Union will have a favourable impact on employment in Montenegro and provide an opportunity for an improvement in the life and business space of its citizens and workers, it was announced at the public debate “Montenegro and the EU: Freedom of Movement of Workers” held at the EU Info Centre.

The European Union’s Ambassador to Montenegro, Aivo Orav, reminded that the freedom of movement of workers is one of the founding principles of the EU and “entails the abolition of any discrimination based on nationality between workers of the Member States as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment.”

Orav emphasised that ensuring the free movement of workers is a shared responsibility – of both those who send and those who receive workers. “We are counting on the Montenegrin institutions to ensure they make the best of this EU-funded intervention by coordinating their activities expediently and gradually implementing the corresponding acquis,” said Orav.

The Minister of European Affairs, Aleksandar Andrija Pejovic, explained that this is a complex area that will enable the citizens of Montenegro, after the country enters the EU, to exercise without limitation the rights related to working in any EU Member State and enjoy the same privileges as the citizens of these countries.

“We see different developments, while in the first years we saw the outflow of labour to older member states, today we are see a return back. This is also the point of the internal market, to enable the smooth flow of labour within the EU,” Pejovic said.

The State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and Head of the Working Group for Chapter 2, Vukica Jelic, stressed that work needed be done to strengthen the competitiveness of the economy and of Montenegrin citizens when it comes to knowledge and skills, so that in the EU our country will become organised and use the benefits that will be available to it.

The president of the Union of Montenegrin Employers, Svetlana Vuksanovic, believes that there is still more work to be done in this area, especially when it comes to applying innovative solutions and continuing work on harmonisation with EU legislation and the further development of administrative capacities.

The Secretary General of the Union of the Free Trade of Unions of Montenegro, Srdja Kekovic, stressed that it should be noted that the first effects from Montenegro’s membership of the EU, as a country with a small economy and a small number of inhabitants, can be both positive and negative. “It will depend on all of us who will take the lead. In the EU accession process, we need to act preventively and anticipate and weigh up the expected flows in this area in order to make the effects more positive for our country,” Kekovic added, pointing out that the government and its social partners must pay special attention to Chapter 2.

Chapter 2: Freedom of Movement of Workers, was opened at the Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels late last year.