On EU Integrations in the Age of Coronavirus on Radio of Montenegro

Our Dina Bajramspahić, as a guest in the show on European integrations on Radio of Montenegro, commented on the reaction of European institutions to the coronavirus pandemic, the EU’s position towards the Western Balkans in the new situation as well as the potential impact of a pandemic on European Integration of Montenegro.

Interview with journalist Olivera Slavnić you may listen here:

Some highlights from the interview:

“The slow and passive reaction of European institutions to the coronavirus pandemic was caused, among other things, by the fact that democratic systems are generally slower than non-democratic ones and that European institutions depend on national reflexes they receive from key EU governments”, said Bajramspahić for Radio of Montenegro. She added that “European passivity did come at a price and that they began to act only when they became aware of the consequences of such a situation”.

Bajramspahić also believes that such a response from Brussels can be attributed to a kind of fear, but not of Brussels itself as a symbol of the EU, but before national governments whose first reactions were to keep all their resources to themselves and turn to a national solution. “But you can not have a national solution to a global problem”, she said, and concluded that it took a long time to several national governments, especially the northern states of the EU, to realise the consequences of such a position.

Answering the question whether the support to the countries that are not yet members and the WB was expected, Bajramspahić states that it was not completely expected. And that the quick and dynamic reaction of China influenced Brussels to ask what will be the consequences of insufficient solidarity policies, led to the policies towards the Western Balkans being favourable in our favour as well.

Bajramspahić also emphasised that at this moment there is no publicly available information on monitoring the spending of money that Montenegro received from the European Union, which is extremely important, and that the Government should show responsibility and make spending of that money as fair and transparent as possible.

“We fought for transparency regarding the spending of the funds citizens donated for fight COVID-19, where some progress has been made as the Government now publishes some kind of reports once a week. This is only the first step, and we will continue to monitor the situation in that regard and in general the situation in relation to the budget at the national and local level”, Bajramspahić said.

Asked if we can guess whether this will shake the current framework of the Union in financial and form terms, Bajramspahić said: “There are many parallel problems that occurs at the same time and shake the European Union. Starting with the first and inadequate EU reactions, medical equipment export ban of certain countries, as well as the crisis of the rule of law in some member states, especially in Hungary”.

“Despite all the criticism and all the problems we have discussed, the EU is still the best possible solution for us and must be our priority. Even if enlargement is not a priority for the EU we need to accomplish our tasks and we have no excuse and we shouldn’t have them “, Bajramspahić concluded.

What are the current positive things concerning the countries of the Western Balkans? Will progress reports will be published in regular time? What will happen with Chapter 8, and whether we have progress in key Chapters 23 and 24?

Answers to these and other questions listen by click on audio clip.

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