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 Full text 
Wednesday, 15 March 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

2016 Report on Montenegro (debate)

  Anneliese Dodds (S&D). – Madam President, it was good to see EU leaders reaffirming their commitment to the Western Balkans during the last European Council. Ahead of the meeting, as we know, some EU leaders voiced concerns about external destabilising influences on the region, and these have been mentioned again tonight. I believe our response has to be ever more visible and strong engagement in the region to support those forces that fight for human rights and the rule of law.

The EU is a peace project, a project that aims to end frequent and bloody wars between neighbours, horrible experiences that the Western Balkans know only too well. The prospect of European integration for Montenegro and the Western Balkans is therefore essential for peace in the region and across Europe. As the Commissioner noted, Montenegro continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to EU integration. Its steady progress in opening chapters is not only bringing it closer to EU accession, but, as many others have said, is also providing a positive example for other countries in the region.

My group tabled a number of amendments to the report, specifically focused on enhancing human rights. I am pleased that many of these are reflected in the report, covering topics from ensuring media freedom to improving working conditions for civil society, to better arrangements for victims of gender-based violence, to eliminating obstacles to health care, education, housing and employment for Roma people. Finally, I would like to thank the rapporteur and the shadow rapporteurs for their very constructive collaboration during all stages of the report.

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