The EU has earmarked EUR 21.3 million to support Montenegro on its way towards the EU accession. The funds will focus on key reform areas, including strengthening of the justice system and public administration, better protection of the environment, and rural development. They will also further help align Montenegrin laws to EU standards in such important areas as food safety, veterinary and phyto-sanitary standards, competition and free movement of services.
“Over the last years Montenegro has made good progress on its EU path and as a result we have opened accession negotiations in June. These new funds will help the country to move forward on the necessary reforms, bringing closer the prospect of EU membership and producing concrete results and new opportunities for Montenegrin citizens,” Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle said after the European Commission adopted the decision about the new financial allocation.
As well as supporting priority areas, the funds will also set the ground for development of networks between Montenegrin researchers and those from the region and from the EU, and will support measures to promote entrepreneurship and innovation, including the use of information and communication technologies in high growth sectors of public interest such as health or public administration. Finally, the programme will help Montenegro better use energy and natural resources, mitigate natural disaster effects and identify durable solutions for displaced persons and residents of Konik camp.
The funding comes under a two year national programme for Montenegro of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). Since 2007, the EU has made available more than €150 million of pre-accession assistance to Montenegro.
The IPA money is allocated based on the actual needs of the countries to implement reforms necessary for entering the EU (political reforms, such as judicial reform, human rights etc.; economic, social and territorial development, with a view to a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth; ability to fulfil the obligations of membership and alignment with EU law; regional integration and cross border cooperation). With this funding, the aspiring countries can carry out the necessary reforms and get ready for implementing European standards and policies.