Foreign Minister Schallenberg and his Slovenian Counterpart Travel to Montenegro on Behalf of the EU

Diplomacy ♦ Published: December 21, 2022; 23:55 ♦ (Vindobona)

On behalf of the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Foreign Minister Schallenberg and his Slovenian colleague Tanja Fajon traveled to the previous model country among the accession candidates. It is currently going through a constitutional crisis.

Foreign Minister Schallenberg (l) and his Slovenian Counterpart Tanja Fajon (r) met with Montenegrenian Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic (m) / Picture: © Govermnent of Montenegro

The previous EU role model student Montenegro is now threatened with a halt to the accession talks. If the current constitutional crisis in the country is not resolved, "in January or February we could discuss stopping the whole process in Brussels," said Slovenian Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon on Wednesday in Podgorica. She traveled with her Austrian colleague Alexander Schallenberg on behalf of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, according to Kurier.

According to Der Standard, the background to the mission are attempts by the pro-Serbian parliamentary majority to overturn the constitutional order in Montenegro. Because President Milo Ðukanović has refused to appoint a new government, a law in this regard should take his powers away from him. However, the obvious unconstitutionality of this undertaking cannot be determined because the Montenegrin Constitutional Court is currently unable to act due to four vacant judge positions.

According to Kurier, during their visit, which lasted a few hours, Fajon and Schallenberg spoke to President Đukanović, Prime Minister Dritan Abazović and Speaker of Parliament Danijela Đurović. The two EU ministers did not want to give details of the talks, but they did give their demands. Specifically, they demanded that the procedure for filling the four positions at the Supreme Court should start this week and be completed "by the end of January at the latest".

The Kurier further states that both ministers stressed that Austria and Slovenia are among the biggest supporters of the Western Balkans and Montenegro on their way to the European Union. “We want this country to continue on the EU path. Anything else would be bad for the government and a catastrophe for the people of this country," said Schallenberg. "Nobody wants that," assured Fajon, with a view to the imminent halt to the accession talks. She pointed out that polls show that three-quarters of Montenegrins support their country's EU membership.