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Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic

07/21/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/22/2021 01:03

State Secretary Martin Klus in Podgorica: “Slovakia will continue to be one of the most vocal supporters of Montenegro and the other countries of the Western Balkans on their[...]

'Montenegro has all the prerequisites to become a success story of European integration, not to mention the fact that the absolute majority of the country's population wishes for membership in the European Union (EU). This is also in Slovakia's interest, which is why we persistently support our partners in Podgorica in their reform efforts, for example, by transferring Slovak experience from the accession and transformation processes to the EU. It would be beneficial for Slovakia and the rest of the Union if Montenegro became part of the European family as soon as possible. Among other things, it would enhance the possibilities for mutual cooperation and strengthen economic relations. However, the path to the EU is, first and foremost, a path leading to the maintenance of peace and even greater stability and democratic developments in the region.'

This was stated by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Martin Klus, during his official visit to Montenegro on 19 and 20 July 2021. The working visit took place at the invitation of the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro, Ljubomir Mišurović, with whom the State Secretary of the Slovak Foreign Ministry, Martin Klus, held bilateral consultations. He also took part in the talks with other Montenegrin partners - Montenegro's Chief Negotiator for negotiations with the EU, Zorka Kordić, and the Speaker of the Parliament of Montenegro, Aleks Bečić. The main topics discussed covered the possibilities for further development of bilateral relations with an emphasis on their enhancement in the economic sphere, the integration of Montenegro into the EU, the cooperation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as well as the developments in the Western Balkans region.

The partners noted the high level of relations between Slovakia and Montenegro. At the same time, they see room for strengthening economic cooperation in the areas of tourism, energy, digital technologies, infrastructure development and investments.

'We see Montenegro not only as an important ally but also as a friend. I am glad that the political contacts between our countries are not retreating and there is a will to turn them into concrete projects in the trade and economic areas. For this reason, we support the idea of a second meeting of the Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation in Podgorica, which should take place as soon as possible. The aim of the meeting should be to identify areas of common interest and connect companies from our countries,' said State Secretary Martin Klus during the talks in Podgorica.

During the meeting with Montenegro's Chief Negotiator for EU accession, Zorka Kordić, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Martin Klus, described Montenegro as an example for other candidate countries of the Western Balkans, as it has progressed the furthest in the EU-integration process. At the same time, he encouraged the partners in Podgorica not to slow down with the reforms, especially in the area of the rule of law, so that they can move closer to membership in the Union.

'I remember how difficult our pre-accession reform process was, but I can also confirm that membership in the EU is worth all the difficult changes made or measures taken. I can assure the people of Montenegro that if the reforms that have been leading the country to the EU remain your strategic goal, Slovakia will not only support you but also, should you be interested, share its experiences so that you may avoid the mistakes that were made then and move faster towards the Union,' said State Secretary Martin Klus.

He also added that the countries of the Western Balkans, as future EU member states, should certainly be actively involved in the pan-European debate as part of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

During his visit to Podgorica, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Martin Klus, was also received by the Speaker of the Parliament of Montenegro, Aleksa Bečić. They discussed the possibilities of reviving interparliamentary cooperation with a view of returning to its initial high intensity during the period from before the pandemic. At the same time, they agreed that maintaining the EU prospects for the countries of the Western Balkans is key for the stability of the whole region.

Montenegrin officials expressed their gratitude not only for Slovakia's long-term and outspoken support of their Euro-integration ambitions but also for the specific assistance, which has exceeded 100,000 euros since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.