European Café with Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) has today, in cooperation with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), in the framework of the project «European Café» organized a meeting of representatives of non-governmental organizations with H.E. Gudrun Steinacker, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Montenegro, by principle of the World Café method, on the topic “Three years from the opening of negotiations between Montenegro and the EU – a view from the EU”.

European Café was opened by Daliborka Uljarevic, CCE Executive Director, who stated that «EU accession process has introduced Montenegro to the intensive legislative process resulting in the so-called institute of unfounded legal optimism». She emphasized that there are «rather more important obligations whose fulfillment must contribute to substantial strengthening of state institutions and their measurable results. Only those institutions that are open for quality of human resources, and free from undue political influence, are guarantee of genuine reforms. Formal fulfillment of obligations gives percentages, but it does not bring us substantially closer to democratic values to the necessary extent». She has concluded that there is «less and less patience in Montenegrin society for systemic and political obstruction of the process, which these days can be seen also as a potential security problem».

H.E. Gudrun Steinacker has, during her addressing the participants, assessed that «significant progress has been made in technical aspect of the EU accession process of Montenegro, with more than half of the opened negotiation chapters », but that in the coming phase «there are challenges in the form of the specific requirements which have to be fulfilled in order to start closing of the negotiation chapters». Focus was on European Union policies related to the migrations, employment and social issues, science and education. Furthermore, accent was also on migrant crisis and the manner in which European Union is trying to resolve this issue in near future. In discussion with the participants, the ambassador especially reflected on NATO integration speaking about the necessity of comprehensive fulfilment of all stipulated conditions, in the framework of the invitation to Montenegro for full membership in this military alliance, which is expected in December.

Ana Vujosevic, coordinator of the European integration programme at the CCE, has closed the today’s European Café with the reminder that «the process of European integration of Montenegro is partly more open than the experiences that some other countries have had in negotiations, but it is necessary to make this process additionally open, with even more specific role of civil society in it, and that precisely this kind of meetings are highly important for strengthening civil society to effectively act but also for understanding the position of civil society in the EU member states that are quite interested in the ongoing reforms».

The objective of the European Café is creation of a platform for open and fruitful informal discussions that will contribute to improvement of cooperation between civil society organizations and institutions, intensifying communication, mapping existing problems and challenges, defining proposals for overcoming and informing on specific aspects of the accession process. In particular, this was an opportunity to share, in an informal discussion, assessments on current state of affairs concerning negotiations, role and importance of NGOs in this process, position of the member states and their representatives in Montenegro, especially the Embassy of Federal Republic of Germany in Montenegro.

European Café on the topic “Three years from the opening of negotiations between Montenegro and the EU – a view from the EU”, is third in a series of events of this type, that CCE will organize during 2015 with representatives of Montenegrin institutions, negotiating structures, diplomatic corps and other national and international experts from this field. The meeting was attended by 25 representatives of civil society organizations.

Svetlana Pešić, programme associate