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Delegation to the EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee

The European Parliament's relations with the Skupština, Montenegro's parliament, are channelled through its Delegation to the EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, abbreviated as D-ME.

As the name of the delegation indicates, a specific forum - a "Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee" - has been established to bring together elected representatives from the European and Montenegrin legislatures.

The 14-member D-ME delegation, created in 2014, represents half of this committee.

Members and Chair

In addition to its 14 full members, the European Parliament's Montenegrin delegation counts a number of substitute members.

Montenegro's delegation to the parliamentary committee should also include 14 members, providing a balanced counterpart to the European Parliament's group. However, because part of the country's opposition has boycotted the Montenegrin parliament since elections were held in October 2016, some seats of the Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee that are reserved for the opposition still remain empty.

This section will be updated after the constitution of the delegation for the 9th EP parliamentary term.

Delegation work

The delegation meets on its own occasionally in Brussels or Strasbourg.

These meetings focus on preparations for the Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee sessions and on exchanges of views with important interlocutors from Montenegro, people working on Montenegro, outside experts, Montenegro's ambassador to the EU and staff from other EU institutions.

The meetings also address administrative matters, such as the election of the delegation's Chair and Vice-Chairs.

Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee meetings

The lion's share of the delegation's work is invested in the Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee.

The committee meets twice a year, either in Montenegro or within the European Parliament, usually in Strasbourg. Each event normally continues for two half days and includes, in addition to regular parliamentary work, discussions with representatives of Montenegro's executive branch of government, the European Commission, the European External Action Service and the EU's rotating presidency.

An agenda of each meeting usually focuses on 5-8 topics important to bilateral relations. Each topic is introduced by a "first speaker" - usually a member of the joint committee. The first speaker's introduction is followed by an exchange of views with all the committee members.

Each SAPC meeting addresses specific themes. These include:

  • Montenegro's EU accession negotiations and bilateral relations,
  • fundamental rights,
  • environmental concerns,
  • the fight against corruption and against organised crime,
  • economic development.

At the end of its sessions, the committee generally adopts a set of "declaration and recommendations". These must be approved by a simple majority of the members of each delegation who are present at the meeting.

At each of the 12 committee meetings held before Montenegro's October 2016 elections, the committee adopted recommendations. However, during the 13th and 14th encounter, held in 2017, the committee decided not to attempt adopting a joint position because Montenegro's opposition was not represented. During the last three SAPC meetings, held in July and November 2018 and March 2019 respectively, a joint text was adopted again due to the gradual return of the opposition members both to the Parliament of Montenegro and the SAPC.

Committee meetings conclude with a press conference of the Co-Chairs.

The committee sessions are public. Minutes of the committee meeting are adopted at the following meeting, and audio recordings of the meetings are available on request. Some meetings may be webstreamed on the web page of the European Parliament or of the Skupština.

Travelling

The European Parliament's delegation usually travels to Montenegro once a year for meetings of the Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee. These trips generally include additional discussions with ambassadors from the EU, NGOs and Montenegro's highest officials. These provide useful and informed - though also sometimes divergent - views of the local situation.

MEPs also participate in field visits to projects financed from EU sources. This allows them to scrutinise how EU funds are used abroad and report back to the European Parliament's appropriate committees, in order to help the committees fulfill their budgetary and legislative responsibilities.

Article 125 of the EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Agreement

Stabilisation and Association Agreement
between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Montenegro, of the other part

Article 125

A Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee is hereby established. It shall be a forum for Members of the Parliament of Montenegro and of the European Parliament to meet and exchange views. It shall meet at intervals that it shall itself determine.

The Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee shall consist of members of the European Parliament and of members of the Parliament of Montenegro.

The Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee shall establish its rules of procedure.

The Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee shall be chaired in turn by a member of the European Parliament and by a member of the Parliament of Montenegro, in accordance with the provisions to be laid down in its rules of procedure.