Wednesday

27th Jan 2021

No starting date for Montenegro's EU accession talks

Montenegro will be declared an EU candidate country in December but no date will be set for the start of accession talks, according to diplomatic sources.

The declaration will be made at European Council meeting of heads of state next month, but actual negotiations are unlikely to begin before 2012.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The Netherlands, the only country that still has reservations about awarding Macedonia candidate status, could pose a last-minute stumbling block as the Lisbon Treaty requires unanimity on all decisions on enlargement.

"Most enlargement-friendly countries believed that the greatest obstacle to granting Montenegro candidate status had been removed when Berlin made clear that – with the Lisbon Treaty in force – it did not need extra time to let the matter pass the German parliament," a diplomat told WAZ.EUobserver.

"So internal procedures of the Bundestag would not constitute a reason to delay the decision in the December European Council. The door seemed open until the Dutch position put everything into question again."

But diplomats working for the member states and the European Council believe there is still room fr optimism.

"The fact that the European Council is going only to give candidate status and no date for the start of accession negotiations with Montenegro relaxed the atmosphere a lot," said an EU official. "In the case of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia we saw that awarding candidate status without a date for the start of accession negotiations is an important decision – but not as important as adding a date.

"So, I believe that the Hague's reservations on candidate status for Montenegro demonstrate a general conviction that the enlargement process should be highly conditional, strict and fair and not too fast. Bear in mind that we have new a government in The Hague and that they are still fine-tuning their foreign and enlargement policy."

One official said that accession negotiations will not start in 2011. "The list of required results in the EU's key areas is so long and tough that even the most optimistic officials in Brussels and Podgorica don't believe that the talks will kick off next year," they daid.

"But with a very positive European Commission progress report next year and perhaps additional evaluation in the spring or summer of 2012, the negotiations with Podgorica could start in autumn 2012."

Rift widens on 'returns' deadline in EU migration pact

Negotiations on the European Commission's asylum and migration pact among EU states continues. But a rift is widening on the eight-month deadline for capitals to sponsor returns of failed asylum seekers.

Coronavirus

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Opinion

Migrants in Bosnia: a disaster foretold on EU doorstep

Ultimately, the European Pact on Migration and Asylum, only unveiled in September, risks reinforcing bottlenecks and misery at the borders, should be thoroughly amended before final agreement.

MEPs call for workers to have 'right to disconnect'

MEPs called for a new law guaranteeing workers can 'disconnect' outside work hours, without repercussion. But they also passed a last-minute amendment, calling on the commission to delay any legislation for three years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. Giuseppe Conte: scapegoat or Italy's most cunning politician?
  2. Borrell to meet Lavrov, while Navalny behind bars
  3. Too few central and eastern Europeans at top of EU
  4. Rift widens on 'returns' deadline in EU migration pact
  5. EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map
  6. Migrants in Bosnia: a disaster foretold on EU doorstep
  7. Navalny protests sharpen EU sanctions talks
  8. Why Russia politics threaten European security

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us