Getting the IBAR is a historic day for both Montenegro and the EU

At the EU-Montenegro Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels on Wednesday, Montenegro received a positive Interim Benchmarks Assessment Report (IBAR).

The IGC note that it was a historic day for both Montenegro and the European Union.

According to a press statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Conference underlined that Montenegro’s success over the past year was proof that reforms pay off, that the enlargement process is alive and that merit-based progress is possible.

Spajic said that the positive IBAR would finally unlock an opportunity for Montenegro to start closing the remaining negotiating chapters, for the first time in the past seven years. “This is a cause for celebration, but also a source of new hope for our EU path”, Spajic said.

The PM said that a lot of work remains to be done for Montenegro to become the European Union’s 28th member state.

Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib recalled that the Belgian Presidency started with a political intergovernmental conference with Montenegro in January. “You have listened to our call and delivered impressive results”, the Belgian MFA said.

She said that, over the past five months, the Montenegrin government has adopted the key laws and reforms necessary to meet the interim benchmarks of chapters 23 and 24.

“We are now ready to move on to the final stage of Montenegro’s EU integration and, as you very well know, the European Union stands ready to support you every step of the way”, said Minister Lahbib.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said that the EU-Montenegro IGC has demonstrated that the EU is ready to move ahead on enlargement. “Now we will open the final phase of accession negotiations with Montenegro, meaning that accession is imminent”, the Commissioner said.

Commissioner Varhelyi added that, looking ahead, it is now very important for Montenegro to use the momentum and proceed with closing negotiation chapters.