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EU, Montenegro to sign Stabilization and Association Agreement

Montenegro and the European Union are set to sign the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) on Monday, which will bring the Balkan country a step closer to the EU.

Bulgaria threatened to block the signing of the Agreement between Montenegro and the EU if its demands on using the Cyrillic spelling of the “euro” are not met. In the Bulgarian translation of Montenegro’s SAA, the European currency would be written as "euro" instead of “evro”, which is how it is transcribed in Cyrillic. Bulgaria and the Portuguese EU presidency overcome the differences last weekend with a special declaration, which foresees that the linguistic-technical problem be solved as soon as possible.

EU foreign ministers are expected to underline the importance that Montenegro shows persistent and tangible results in the implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA). EU foreign ministers will encourage Montenegro to speed up the comprehensive reform agenda and also will call on the Montenegrin politicians to unite the efforts to step up this process. Draft-conclusions of the EU ministerial meeting call on Montenegro to strengthen the public administration capacity and the rule of law, to step up the fight against organized crime and corruption, and establish independent judiciary.

Montenegro will become a fourth Balkan country - along with Macedonia, Croatia and Albania - to sign the SAA. In the period 2007-2009, Montenegro can count on €30 million assistance from the EU’s new program on the Western Balkans (IPA). The Agreement will enable Montenegro an access to pre-accession funds, which are provided by the EU to candidate-countries of the western Balkan region. (