Business Environment In the Spotlight Macroeconomic Outlook Capital Market Banking Sector Montenegro in EU Accession Negotiation Process Privatization and Investments What are the negotiations about? Economic Freedom The negotiations determine the conditions under which each applicant country will Business News join the European Union. On joining the Union, applicants are expected to accept the In the Spotlight "acquis", i.e. the detailed laws and rules adopted on the basis of the EU's founding treaties. Coming up...
What is the negotiation process?
Accession negotiations are a process by which a candidate country accedes to the European Union and adopts its founding treaties. The close of accession negotiations is followed by the signing of an international treaty between the EU Member States and the candidate country. This is called the Accession Treaty. Participants involved in the negotiation process are the candidate country on one side and the EU Member States on the other. During the course of negotiations, the negotiating position of the EU is represented by the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, on behalf of the Member States. Negotiations on behalf of the candidate country are conducted by the State Delegation for Negotiations. Apart from the Head of the State Delegation (in most cases elected at a ministerial level), the State Delegation for Negotiations of the candidate country includes a Chief negotiator and a negotiating team. Negotiations with each applicant proceed on the basis of their own merits. The pace of each set of negotiations depends on the degree of preparations made by each applicant country and also on the complexity of any issues that need to be resolved. For this reason, it is not possible to estimate the likely length of the negotiation process in advance. Negotiating positions are approved unanimously by the Council. The results of the negotiations are incorporated into an accession treaty. This is submitted to the Council for approval and to the European Parliament for assent. After signature, the accession treaty passes to the member states and to the applicant country/ies for ratification. This involves, referenda. When ratification takes effect, the applicant country becomes a member state on the date of its accession.
The negotiations focus on the terms under which applicants will adopt, implement and enforce the acquis, and, notably, on the granting of possible transitional arrangements which must be limited in scope and duration. Under similar arrangements in previous accession negotiations, new Member States have been able to phase in their compliance with certain laws and rules by a date agreed during negotiations. For the purposes of the negotiation process, the overall legal acquis of the European Union is divided into 35 thematic chapters, which are referred to as negotiation chapters. The formal opening of the negotiation process is followed by an analytical overview and evaluation to establish the degree to which harmonization of national legislation with the Acquis Communautaire, known as screening, is required. The main purpose of the screening process is to determine the differences that exist between the national legislation and the acquis communautaire; this applies to every chapter with which the national legislation needs to be harmonized by the date of accession. After the screening has been completed, a decision on the opening of negotiations for individual chapters, depending on the evaluated readiness of the candidate country, is made. With the opening of negotiations for individual chapters, the substantive phase of the negotiations begins. During this phase, the subject of negotiations is the conditions under which the candidate country will adopt and implement the acquis communautaire in each respective chapter. After agreement has been reached between the EU and the candidate country on the individual chapters of the negotiations, and once the set benchmarks have been met, the respective chapters are considered temporarily closed.
Where is Montenegro in the EU Accession Negotiation Process? At the beginning of December 2011, the European Council launched the accession process with Montenegro with a view to opening accession negotiations in June 2012, providing that certain conditions related to the rule of law were met. By the end of December 2011, Montenegro appointed Mr. Aleksandar Pejović as Chief negotiator. In February 2012 a decision was made to establish a negotiation structure for Montenegro’s accession to the European Union. Following this, six new official bodies were established. They are as follows: State Delegation, College for Negotiations, Negotiating Group, Working Groups on Individual Negotiating Chapters, Office of the Chief Negotiator and a Secretariat for the Negotiating Group. Working groups for Chapter 23, Judiciary and Fundamental Rights, and for Chapter 24, Justice, Freedom and Security, will be the first two to be established. The establishment of the structures for conducting negotiations was followed by the formation of working groups for Chapter 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights) and for Chapter 24 (Justice, Freedom and Security). Consultations with experts from the Croatian negotiating team, responsible for Chapters 23 and 24, took place in March with the aim of getting a better picture of the forthcoming screening and negotiations. With regard to the European Council’s conclusions, made in December 2011, the European Commission will deliver its opinion regarding Montenegro at the opening accession negotiations in June 2012. The report will refer to seven key priority areas, identified as the European Commission Opinion, on Montenegro’s progress from 2010. Montenegro and EU in timeframe: 15 October 2007 - Montenegro signed the Stabilisation Association Agreement (SAA). 15 December 2008 - Montenegro submitted its application for EU membership. 12 April 2010 - Montenegro submitted answers to the Commission’s questionnaire. 9 November 2010 - European Commission replied to the answers provided in the questionnaire in a positive manner. 17 December 2010 - Montenegro received official candidate status. 12 October 2011 - Commission recommended the start of negotiations. 9 December 2011 - In order to open negotiations with Montenegro in June 2012, the European Council instructed the Council to discuss Montenegro’s progress regarding implementing reforms with a special focus on the rule of law and on fundamental rights; particularly in the fight against corruption and organized crime. Based on reports of the Commission, this will be presented in the first quarter of 2012.