Slovenia pledges support for Montenegro’s EU membership

Slovenia firmly supported Montenegro’s efforts for the accession to the European Union (EU), Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk said on Wednesday after meeting his Montenegrin counterpart Filip Vujanovic.

Tuerk said at the Brdo castle in the suburbs of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana that Slovenia was promoting the idea that the EU foreign ministers should discuss Montenegro’s candidate application this month, the Slovenian news agency STA reported.

He said that Slovenia’s idea was also supported by the Czech Republic, the current presiding country of the EU Council, although not everything depends on Slovenia and the countries that firmly support Montenegro.

“One should understand that there are uncertainties within the EU about the tempo of the enlargement,” Tuerk said at a joint press conference with Vujanovic.

Vujanovic, who arrived in Slovenia on Wednesday for a two-day official visit, said that the accession to the EU was a priority for Montenegro, and expressed the hope that his country would get the status of EU candidate country as soon as possible.

“We understand the internal issues in the European Union, but we believe that in this phase the application (for EU candidate status) should be sent to Brussels,” said Vujanovic.

After signing the Stability and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU in October 2007, Montenegro filed the application on Dec. 15, 2008. The initiative, however, has not moved forward as EU member states have still not asked the European Commission for its opinion on the application, which is the next step in the EU accession procedure.

Slovenia, which joined the EU in May 2004, is the first former Yugoslav republic to join the pan-European bloc. Other former Yugoslav republics including Montenegro are in different stages of EU accession process.

Slovenia’s support for Montenegro’s EU bid was also expressed by Prime Minister Borut Pahor.

Besides the EU’s enlargement to the Western Balkans including Montenegro, the leaders also discussed measures for alleviating the impact of the current economic and financial crisis, Pahor’s office said.

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