Milatovic at UN: Montenegro’s EU accession would show enlargement is possible

ReutersS/Brendan McDermid

Montenegrin President Jakov Milatovic told the General Debate of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that Montenegro remains determined on the course of a Euro-Atlantic future, good neighborly relations and multilateralism.

He said he was convinced that the European Union (EU) accession of Montenegro, as well as of the entire Western Balkans region, would further strengthen their international position, and ensure lasting peace and prosperity.

Milatovic said this year’s General Debate topic depicts the key challenge lying before the United Nations – the rebuilding of trust and global solidarity, and that it accelerates action on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. He noted that the ongoing geopolitical crisis represents a grave challenge to international peace and security, and that it is an alarming indicator of the need to fully return to the provisions of the UN Charter and values on which the rule-based world order rests.

„I reaffirm and reiterate our strong support and commitment to the goals and principles of the United Nations – particularly in times like these when global unity and solidarity are greatly needed. To efficiently address global problems, we need wise leadership. Rather than uniting in joint efforts, most often we share only our joint concerns. Yet, the only way of tackling widespread crises is to be united in action,” a press release issued by Milatovic’s office quoted him as saying.

He said that, in recent elections, Montenegrin citizens made a resounding choice for change, providing an unprecedented level of support for a “new era of our country´s democratic development.”

“This leaves me with no doubt about the political direction our citizens want to see: strengthening the rule of law, developing prosperity, ensuring social cohesion and equal opportunities. I am highly aware of how vital these objectives are in safeguarding our young democracy and freedom, especially at a time when de-democratization processes are becoming increasingly apparent worldwide. Let me particularly emphasize the importance of the rule of law as the key to unlock the economic potential and improve the living standards. Building truly democratic and independent institutions is crucial along that path. Thus we are committed to a zero tolerance on corruption and organized crime. To better achieve our wider policy goals, we base our foreign policy on three pillars: accelerating our integration into the European Union, further strengthening the credibility of Montenegro as a NATO member, fostering the best possible relations with all our neighbors in the Balkans,” said Milatovic, the Montenegrin daily Vijesti reported.

The Montenegrin President said his country is devoted to safeguarding lasting peace in the Balkans, which is why he commenced his term in office by strengthening the friendships with Balkan neighbors.

“We have also intensified the discussion with the European Union, thus extensively elaborating on the need of Montenegro’s speedy accession into the EU, as the best possible signal for all other aspiring states that the EU perspective is still alive. Following these principles, in the four months’ period of my mandate, we opened a meaningful dialogue with the civil society and vulnerable communities, with the aim of pursuing and ultimately achieving a truly inclusive society where nobody is left behind. Creating an environment of equal opportunities where life success is primarily determined by education and hard work is my goal. That is my story, which I believe can become the story of Montenegro,” said Milatovic.

He reaffirmed Montenegro’s clear-cut position in condemning unprovoked and unjustified Russia’s aggression, and its firm support to Ukraine.

“Besides devastating Ukraine, this war caused an energy, food, and financial crisis that especially harmed the least developed countries in the world. To that end, and in accordance with the UN Charter and the adopted General Assembly resolutions, we share the desire for comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine,” said the Montenegrin President.

He reiterated that Montenegro is firmly committed and determined to actively and constructively contribute and support collective efforts to preserve world peace and security and welcomed the “New Agenda for Peace,” where the Secretary General outlined the very founding stones to rebuild the new international system based on trust and solidarity.

“Montenegro remains determined on the course of a Euro-Atlantic future, good neighborly relations and multilateralism. Having this in mind, we have launched our candidacy for the non permanent seat of the UN Security Council for the period 2026-27. As a European country, not only geographically, but more importantly in terms of values and principles, we are convinced that the EU accession of Montenegro, as well as of the entire Western Balkan region, will further strengthen our international position and ensure lasting peace and prosperity. Hence, the accession of Montenegro in the EU, is a story significant not only for Montenegro itself, but it would provide a positive example to all aspiring countries all the way from the Balkans to the East of Europe, that EU enlargement is alive and still possible,” said President Milatovic.