Picula: Moscow can’t overpower Brussels in the region


I think the new coalition perfectly understands that giving up on the current foreign policy of your country is unlikely to happen just like that, having in mind that almost three-quarters of Montenegrins support the EU accession. If members of the coalitions really agree on their joint political goals, they might even set up a permanent government, but the relatively small majority in the parliament would definitely represent a challenge, the EP Rapporteur for Montenegro, Mr Tonino Picula, told in an interview for Pobjeda daily.

The former Croatia’s Chief of Diplomacy underlines that Russia’s influence on the Western Balkans will be present but won’t overpower the West’s.

Asked to comment on the post-election situation in MNE, and whether the opposition might be able to establish a stable govt despite their program differences, Mr Picula noted: “Last week, the coalitions that won the recent elections have signed an agreement on the obligations of the new government. They pledged not to launch any initiatives for changing the country’s national symbols, and more important – they committed to honoring all current international obligations, such as fostering the cooperation with NATO Alliance and carrying out reforms for the successful continuation of the EU accession.”

On the EU’s position regarding the Church interventions in elections, he said: “First of all, I wouldn’t underestimate the possibilities of the Montenegrin state to maintain and develop its secular profile. The religious affiliation of citizens and the democratic system of the state do not and should not be in conflict. However, this is about the high politicization and mobilization that followed the adoption of one particular law. The EU didn’t encourage it, but told it was the right of the state to autonomously regulate the matter. The escalation of the problem that has happened and brought to certain political consequences is certainly not Brussels’ fault.”

Mr Picula also touched on the assessments that the Kremlin’s impact on Montenegro might overpower the Brussels’ now, saying that he has no doubts that “the EU still represents an attractive project for the majority of Montenegrins, as the recent research has suggested.”



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