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Statement by D-ME Chair, following the 30 August 2020 elections in Montenegro

Statement by MEP Vladimír Bilčík, Chair of the EU-Montenegro SAPC, following the 30 August 2020 elections in Montenegro

Brussels, 31 August 2020

I would like to congratulate the citizens of Montenegro for turning out in large numbers to decide on their future and for casting their ballots in a peaceful manner.

Turnout of over 76% of voters is historically impressive. Voting on election day during the state of ongoing pandemic required adherence to health recommendations and guidelines. Montenegro managed to conduct competitive elections in these trying times and I would like to applaud both the citizens and the Montenegrin authorities for taking up their respective roles responsibly.

We in the European Parliament have been following the pre-election cycle, the campaign and election day very closely and we will await the publication of the final, comprehensive report from OSCE/ODIHR's election observation mission.

Yesterday citizens of Montenegro took part in one of the most important elections since the country's independence in 2006. In a tightly fought democratic contest, the citizens have asked for political change.

We therefore strongly hope that the new Parliament and new government will keep in strategic focus Montenegro's European future and accelerate the corresponding reform process thereby demonstrating in political practice strong commitment to pro-European values. Montenegro, a front-runner in EU accession negotiations, has to step-up domestic reforms and start "running" towards EU membership.

I am looking forward to working with Members of the Montenegrin Parliament and to providing support to Montenegro on its European path.

Statement ahead of the Parliamentary elections in Montenegro on 30 August 2020

Statement of MEP Vladimír Bilčík, Chair of the EU-Montenegro SAPC and MEP Tonino Picula, EP Standing Rapporteur on Montenegro ahead of the Montenegrin Parliamentary elections on 30 August 2020

We acknowledge the great responsibility of all relevant public institutions ahead of the Montenegrin parliamentary elections on 30 August 2020. Conducting elections during the current pandemic has been a challenging task across Europe. The state must ensure that citizens are able to express their vote freely and exercise their constitutional rights in unrestrained manner, while respecting stringent health recommendations and guidelines for the sake of public safety. We urge the Montenegrin authorities to apply their utmost efforts in these extraordinary times in order to organise the upcoming parliamentary elections fully in line with international standards for free and fair elections.

We hope that Sunday's vote will contribute to Montenegro's stability and represent a further step in achieving its European future. Already a member of the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization, Montenegro is anchored in Europe's security structures and needs to continue and strengthen its commitment towards EU membership. We acknowledge and appreciate the progress achieved by Montenegro on the country's EU path so far, including the opening of all negotiating chapters. It is now important to concentrate urgently on accomplishing crucial domestic reforms. We are ready to assist and work closely with our future partners in the Montenegrin Parliament in their important tasks and look forward to resuming our political cooperation once the country's new institutions are in place after parliamentary elections.

We would like to express our deepest sympathies to all people in Montenegro who have lost their family members and friends in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a symbol of the EU's solidarity during these difficult times we have mobilized unprecedented medical and financial support for the country. We wish all citizens of Montenegro a peaceful and safe election day on 30 August.

Westerns Balkans summit must bring step-change and strengthen democracy

5 May 2020

The Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, delegation chairs and standing rapporteurs for the Western Balkans countries confirm EU´s commitment to continue transforming the region.In a joint statement, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the standing rapporteurs and the chairs of delegations of the European Parliament for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia welcome the Western Balkans summit of 6 May as an opportunity to reconfirm the EU's historical, political and financial commitment to the region. They consider the summit to also be an opportunity for the Western Balkans participants to affirm their adherence to the rule of law, democracy and continued reforms.

"We welcome the virtual Western Balkans summit, which can deepen ties between the EU and Southeastern Europe.

It shows that any hurdle can be overcome in the commitment to the enlargement process and that fully-fledged EU membership is the ultimate goal. Such public expressions of solidarity are more important than ever, as disinformation campaigns attempt to create divisions.

During these difficult times, the European Parliament stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its Western Balkans partners and we reaffirm our unprecedented political, financial and medical assistance to the people of the region." (...)

The full text of the press release in the below link.

Interparliamentary delegations start establishing their bureaus

Delegations are electing their bureaus, each of them consisting of a Chair and two Vice-Chairs.

At the constitutive meetings on Thursday, 26 September, most of 44 interparliamentary delegations of the European Parliament decided on their Chairs and Vice-Chairs. Once the elections have taken place, the names of the new Bureaus' members will be published on the Delegations' website. (Check the respective homepage of each delegation.)

Interparliamentary delegations maintain relations and conduct policy dialogues with parliamentarians in other countries, regions and organisations to promote the EU's core values: liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.

There are 44 standing interparliamentary delegations in this legislative period, the same number as in the last parliamentary term. Most of them have the same structure: they have a Chair and two Vice-Chairs, except for delegations to parliamentary assemblies (such as ACP, Eurolat, Euromed and Euronest), which are led by larger bureaus. Parliament's diversity in terms of geography and gender must be reflected in the composition of the bureau of each delegation; it shall not be permissible to have an all-male or all-female bureau or for both of the vice-chairs to come from the same member state (Rule 223 and Rule 213).