PM promises to hasten EU integration as Montenegro gets new government

Pm Promises To Hasten Eu Integration As Montenegro Gets New Government
Milojko Spajic, © Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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By Predrag Milic, Associated Press

Montenegro’s new government was confirmed on Tuesday with the prime minister promising to unblock the Balkan nation’s stalled European Union integration process.

The move came as a top EU official was set to hold talks in the small Nato member country.


Parliament approved the new Cabinet with 46 votes in favour and 19 against after a session that lasted all night. Montenegro’s assembly has 81 members but not all were present at the vote.

The government was formed after months of political bickering that followed an election in June.

Montenegro Government
The new speaker of parliament Andrija Mandic holds anti-western views (AP Photo/Risto Bozovic)


The centrist Europe Now party of Prime Minister Milojko Spajic won the election, but without enough support to form a government on its own.

To form the government, the winning coalition received backing from staunchly anti-Western groups under the condition that one of their leaders, Andrija Mandic, was elected as the speaker of parliament — an influential political position.

Mr Spajic said his government will be pro-European despite Mr Mandic’s election. He dismissed reports that his Cabinet will be influenced by neighbouring Serbia, from which Montenegro split in 2006 after an independence referendum.

“We can’t wait to make a result for our country,” Mr Spajic told reporters. “We hope to unclog the European integration, move forward quickly and become the next member of the European Union.”


He spoke shortly before EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen was set to hold talks in the capital, Podgorica, as part of a tour of Western Balkan nations aspiring to join the 27-nation union.

Ms Von der Leyen visited North Macedonia and Kosovo before Montenegro and is slated to travel to Serbia later on Tuesday.

Six western Balkan countries are at different stages on their path to join the EU, in a process expected to take years.

As the war rages in Ukraine, EU officials recently have sought to push the process forward and encourage Balkan nations to boost reform in order to join.


Ms Von der Leyen was discussing details of the 6.0 billion euro (£5.25 billion) package for western Balkan countries, along with tensions that still exist in the region long after ethnic wars of the 1990s.

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