EU, Montenegro make progress in accession talks
(BRUSSELS) - The European Union held a first round of accession talks with Montenegro on Tuesday and approved one of the 35 chapters of its application for membership, which premier Milo Djukanovic has made his top priority.
The talks marked the start of negotiations on Montenegro's membership after the two sides agreed to begin the process in June.
The European Commission said progress has been made as Montenegro begins to work through 35 chapters covering all aspects of the EU and its regulations which must be satisfactorily concluded to win membership in the 27-nation bloc.
A commission statement said Chapter 25 on science and research required no further work while there had been "good progress" since June on Chapters 23 and 24 -- Judiciary and Fundamental Rights and Justice, Freedom and Security.
The EU insisted in June that these two chapters should be tackled early in the negotiations given their importance in ensuring the rule of law in the tiny Balkan state, part of the former Yugoslavia.
Veteran Prime Minister Djukanovic said earlier this month that EU membership was the main objective of his government.
"Every step towards the EU means an improvement in the quality of life and better conditions for (economic) development," Djukanovic said.
The next round of talks will be held in the first half of 2013.