Vienna, 16 May 2013 – "The European Union stands by its word. The states of the Western Balkans have a tangible and realistic accession perspective, and Montenegro is an outstanding example in this respect. As the only one of the candidates at the negotiating table, it has already achieved first successes in the negotiations between Podgorica and Brussels”, the Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister said today following discussions with his Montenegrin counterpart Igor Lukšić in Vienna.
“It is now important that the efforts are maintained and that new reforms are initiated with thorough dedication, so as not to lose momentum on the journey to the EU. Justice and the rule of law are of particular importance here, as areas where Montenegro still has some catching up to do”, Spindelegger continued and assured Foreign Minister Lukšić full support from Austria. All other countries of the region can also rely on this support. “I am convinced that the European Union cannot do without that which the Western Balkans will one day be able to contribute to the EU”, the Foreign Minister said. In this context Spindelegger underlined the significance of the agreement recently reached between Belgrade and Pristina on northern Kosovo, which will make possible further progress for the two countries on their way towards Europe.
Finally Spindelegger drew attention to the economic ties between Austria and Montenegro and said that while these were close, they could still be developed further. “Our economic ties are good, but there is still plenty of room left at the top for improvement”, Spindelegger said. The framework conditions, such as a secure investment climate, would need to be ensured to make progress in the field of economic cooperation. Spindelegger visited Montenegro in July last year, where in addition to numerous bilateral discussions, he also met representatives of the Austrian business community in Tivat.
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