Montenegrin government to urgently impose sanctions on Russia and stop threatening Montenegro’s path to EU

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) appeals to the Government of Montenegro to adopt, as soon as possible, a decision imposing effective sanctions on Russia and to prevent further damage to the state of Montenegro in that context. Further flirting with the fundamental values of civilization is unacceptable, as hesitation in practical condemnation of Russian aggression is support for the aggressor, and this is not a tradition of the state of Montenegro, nor it can be a recommendation in relation to European partners.

The damage that the Government of Zdravko Krivokopić did by not adopting the package of sanctions against Russia, due to alleged procedural shortcomings of the internal process, is already immeasurable because Montenegro has presented itself as a non-credible partner of NATO and the EU.

Montenegro was, so far, fully aligned with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, which ranked it among the progressive forces of the Western Balkans region. Unfortunately, any deviation from that path and delay in the implementation of commitments has the potential to seriously jeopardize our European perspective, but also to encourage the construction of a different value framework, contrary to the one nurtured in developed, democratic Western countries. With this dangerous and destructive policy of the Government, Montenegro is proving to be unprepared for further integration phases, and the already weak credibility continues to collapse. There is no doubt that this “effect” of this policy will be found in the relevant EU reports, and that assessment will not be good for us as a country.

CCE also reminds that the EU, through the statements of its highest officials, made it clear to Montenegro, but also to the countries of the region, that during the current events on the eastern wing of Europe, did not forget the Western Balkans and further integration into the EU. The European Foreign Minister, Josep Borell, stated that concrete assistance should be provided to the countries of the Western Balkans to prevent the consequences of the war in Ukraine, and that this is the right moment to give impetus to the enlargement process in the region. On the other hand, the EU and member states do not look favorably at Serbia’s non-compliance with EU policy towards Russia in this situation, and some EU officials even assessed that such a de facto positioning disqualified it from the EU accession process.

CCE underlines that the Union’s policy of credible partnerstrust and perspective, and not crediblesanctions, must be a warning to Montenegro that the countries of the region are under serious scrutiny, under the watchful eye of the EU, and the position towards this issue will significantly determine our European future.

CCE also points out that we should not have the illusion of accelerated membership, because the change of one geopolitical reality in Europe, itself, will not make the EU accept us into its arms overnight. Only by understanding that there are no shortcuts in accession, unconditional skipping of negotiations, or avoidance of commitments, we can move faster towards the EU. This means that now, exclusively sincere and responsible action in the concrete application of the sanctions policy towards Russia and fulfillment of the assumed membership criteria can put us back on the right path and mitigate what could be irreparable consequences of the outgoing Government’s actions.

Milica ZINDOVIĆ, Programme associate