The EU resolution on Montenegro demonstrates the double standard of the EU. Last week the European Parliament Committee for Foreign Affairs (AFET) adopted a resolution on the political and institutional crisis in Montenegro, which reveals Brussels’ politically inconsistent attitude towards Balkan countries.
During Macedonia’s political crisis in spring 2015, EU institutions sought to serve as political mediators by supporting mass rallies in Skopje as well as boycotting the Macedonian parliament. At that time, the EU even demanded the resignation of Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.
However, since late 2015 the EU has acted completely differently with respect to Montenegro’s democratic protests: in the case of Montenegro the EU has refused to be mediator, and indirectly supported the regime in power and the marginalization of Montenegro’s political opposition. For instance, the EU has ignored the brutal riots and actions of special operation forces against peaceful protesters in Podgorica.
While publically praising the “parliamentary dialogue” in Montenegro, the EU has in fact neglected the absence of the main opposition leaders at this “dialogue.” Moreover, it has ignored the political corruption of Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic. Protesters of Movement for Changes (PZP) 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.
Since the cases of Macedonia and Montenegro are very similar to each other, it is hard to explain why the EU treats the two Balkan countries so differently, without using a political double standard. In both cases protestors have demanded for the same reasons that their Prime Ministers resign, so that a transitional government can be formed which will organize free and fair elections.
One AECR member PZP has protested against the Montenegrin government on this specific issue since months. In October 2015 AECR has expressed its deep concerns about the brutality of Montenegrin police forces in an open letter to the government of Montenegro.