The official visit of the Committee on European Integration to Republic Italy upon the invitation of the Italian Senate has ended today.
The Committee members were first received by Mr Giuseppe Maria Buccino Grimaldi, Director General of the Directorate General for the European Union at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr Buccino Grimaldi said that the accession process of the countries in the region should not be referred to as an enlargement of the EU, but as a unification of the European continent, adding that this process represented a clear strategic goal and a national interest of Italy. Mr Buccino Grimaldi also discussed the key issues that needed to be addressed in the Brexit negotiations. On behalf of the delegation, member of the Committee Mr Mihailo Anđušić pointed out the strong parliamentary cooperation between the two countries, which is also achieved through concrete measures such as this visit. Mr Anđušić said that in the negotiation process, Montenegro first of all appreciated the quality of the reforms implemented, adding that our country was openly committed to the "regatta" principle in the relationship of the EU with the candidate countries. He pointed out that Montenegro deserved a leadership position not only because of the overall progress in negotiations, but also because of its excellent cooperation with its neighbours and its success in withdrawing funds from the IPA.
The delegation then met with Mr Paolo Corsini, Deputy Chairperson of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr Corsini pointed out that the accession process should take place through the observation of the "regatta" principle and that Italy would make efforts to accelerate Montenegro's EU integration. As he said, the enlargement would provide the Union with the necessary balance and strengthen the Mediterranean component of the Union. Mr Corsini also pointed out the significance of the Parliament’s operation at full capacity as a prerequisite for the stability and integrity of the institution. The members of the Committee highlighted the historic friendship between the two states and thanked Italy for the support given to Montenegro on its path towards the EU. The MPs also discussed the current political situation in Montenegro, and reminded of the process of the renewal of its statehood, which was a clear indicator of the democratic nature of the Montenegrin society.
The visit to the Italian institutions ended with a meeting with Mr Sandro Gozi, State Under Secretary of EU Policy at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Mr Gozi praised the continued cooperation with the Government of Montenegro, reminding that during the Italian presidency in the second half of 2014, our country had opened four negotiating chapters. He pointed out that Montenegro's participation in the EU programs should be increased in the pre-accession period, and voiced hope of the fruitful cooperation of the two countries within the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative, chaired by Italy since June 2017. Chairperson Vuksanović said that the process of negotiations with the EU was actually a process of improving the quality of life of citizens, and precisely for that purpose, Montenegro was actively working on the use of IPA funds in order to achieve a high level of success in the withdrawal of funds in the current financial perspective. Mr Vuksanović thanked the Italian Government for its concrete political, administrative and technical support within the enlargement process.
Delegation of the Committee visiting the Republic of Italy consisted of Chairperson of the Committee Mr Adrijan Vuksanović and members Ms Marija Ćatović, Mr Mihailo Anđušić, and Mr Momčilo Martinović.