Montenegro’s EU accession bid threatened by controversial resolution

A controversial vote in Montenegro’s parliament to condemn the crimes committed by Croatian fascists during World War II has cast a shadow over the country’s hopes of joining the EU. This was reported by Politico.

Before his parliament voted on a non-binding resolution that Croatia swiftly denounced, Montenegrin Prime Minister Milojko Spajic declared, “It hurts us; it definitely doesn’t help us.”

The resolution centers on the fascist regime in Croatia, which collaborated with Nazi Germany to run the World War II death camp in Jasenovac, Croatia. The camp claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Roma, and other minorities.

The vote overshadowed a positive week for Spajic’s pro-European center-left government. The prime minister described his administration as “really optimistic and inspired” after clearing a major hurdle in EU accession talks at an intergovernmental conference in Luxembourg on June 26.

Spajic wants his country to become an EU member by 2028 and says he intends to close “quite a few chapters” by the end of the year while Hungary holds the EU Council presidency.

Montenegrin MPs expanded their resolution at the last minute to include other historical crimes, such as the Nazi concentration camps of Dachau and Mauthausen.

The Croatian government condemned the Montenegrin parliament’s resolution as “unacceptable, inappropriate, and unnecessary,” saying it was “adopted with the aim of devaluing and relativizing the UN resolution on the Srebrenica genocide” and that it risks derailing Montenegro’s EU membership bid.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that Podgorica’s resolution shows “a targeted, deliberate policy of division within Montenegro” and sends “an even worse signal about mutual respect and the desire for good neighborly relations.”

Spajic also appeared to link the resolution’s timing to Russia’s efforts to destabilize the Western Balkans and compromise his government.

He stated, “In Montenegro, there is a Russian narrative that the European Union and the Western world support Nazi or fascist history,” implying that his government would have faced consequences if it had voted against the resolution.

Serbia’s pro-Russian President Aleksandar Vucic congratulated Montenegro on the resolution and announced that he would visit the country this month.

Ana Brnabic, the speaker of the Serbian parliament and the country’s longest-serving former prime minister, criticized Croatia for opposing the resolution, calling the criticism of Croatian officials “extremely sad.”

The EU Council President Charles Michel postponed his visit to Podgorica “to a later date in order to ensure successful discussions with key interlocutors in the country, which should not be overshadowed by recent events,” an EU official said.

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