The righting alliance comprising 50 MEPs and one European Commissioner on Tuesday said the EU’s latest resolution on Montenegro last week demonstrated double standards and has ignored the “corruption of Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic”.

 

Last week, the European Parliament’s Committee for Foreign Affairs adopted a resolution on the political and institutional crisis in Montenegro, but the AECR said it revealed a “politically inconsistent attitude towards Balkan countries”.

 

After the crisis erupted in Macedonia in the spring of 2015, the EU effectively supported the opposition’s rallies and boycott of the Macedonian parliament, the group claimed, even demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

 

“However, since late 2015, the EU has acted completely differently with respect to Montenegro’s democratic protests,” the alliance said.

 

Since the cases of Macedonia and Montenegro are similar, the group said, it is hard to explain why the EU treats the two Balkan countries differently.

 

In both cases, opposition protesters have demanded that their Prime Ministers resign and the formation of transitional governments to organize free and fair elections.

 

In the case of Montenegro, however, the EU has declined to play the role of mediator and has indirectly supported the regime in power and the marginalization of the opposition, it added.

 

“For instance, the EU has ignored the brutal riots and actions of special operation forces against peaceful protesters in Podgorica,” the alliance said.

 

While praising the “parliamentary dialogue” in Montenegro, the AECR said the EU had in fact neglected the absence of the main opposition leaders from the dialogue.

 

“Moreover, it has ignored the political corruption of Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic. Protesters of the Movement for Change argue that the recent EU resolution confuses cause and effect: that the resolution falsely implies that the political crisis in Montenegro is the result of protests, rather than their cause,” the statement reads.

 

The Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists is a pan-European party with members in 17 countries, 12 of which are EU member states.

 

British Conservatives, led by the Prime Minister David Cameron, are the dominant political force in the group, as is the Czech Civic Democratic Party, ODS, and the Polish Law and Justice Party, PiS.

 

In 2013, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, also has joined the alliance.

 

Montenegro’s opposition Movement for Change, PZP, joined the conservative alliance in May 2015. The Movement, together with the three opposition parties, began 24-hour monstrations in September, demanding the creation of an interim government and Djukanovic’s resignation.

 

The protest first turned violent on October 17, when police fired tear gas to disband the crowds. More violence broke out on Saturday 24, after opposition MPs attempted to enter the parliament but were prevented from doing so by police.

 

Balkan Insight