Montenegro is now closest to entering the EU, but we think you shouldn’t be bothering thinking about the deadlines. You should rather think about carrying out the reforms faster, primarily because of your citizens, says in the interview for “Pobjeda” Director of the Višegrad Fund, Mr Andor David.
Višegrad Fund is the international organization founded by the governments of Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, countries of the Višegrad group, with the aim of promoting cooperation among the members as well as among the countries which cover wider region of Western Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe and South Caucasus.
The basic objective of the Fund is providing financial support for the projects in six priority areas: culture, education, scientific cooperation, exchange of young people, cross-border cooperation and promotion of tourism.
Mr David says that their presence is felt in various projects, but they are mostly working on the promotion of the Fund for WB.
“Višegrad Group has always been supporting the WB countries. We support the regatta principle which means that the most prepared country will enter the Union first. At this very moment, we must say that Europe is standing still, overwhelmed by its own problems. I’d say the EU is going through some sort of crisis. However, Montenegro shouldn’t be easily discouraged but you should rather give stronger impulse to the reforms related to the rule of law and freedom of speech. Those reforms shouldn’t be carried out because of Brussels, but we need to do that for ourselves”, says Mr David.
He points out that the Višegrad Fund is supporting the region through many projects and that already €3 million have been invested into the development of civil society.
“The basis of any democracy is freedom of speech and strong civil society. Our objective is to strengthen societies of WB through strengthening the capacities of civil society. The crucial thing is that the Fund for Western Balkans becomes financially more stable and stronger. This international organization, seated in Tirana, needs stronger support of the governments from the region. What’s most important is the fact that the Fund isn’t pushed by anybody from Brussels but it’s rather a will of the countries from the region so that they connect even more. Furthermore, the Fund is independent, because it’s financed by member states. I’m lobbying for the €100.000 budget for the Fund from every state at annual level. This region needs such Fund”, says Mr David.
He points out that the election to the European Parliament are going to change the EU, but that Montenegro should keep carrying out the reforms.
“There are indicators that it’s going to be a different EU. I think it’s important that countries from the region get ready and plan the communication with the new EU authorities, with the support of V4”, says Mr David.
Enlargement will still be the priority of the EU, he says.