STA, 5 June 2019 - Montenegro's EU integration and the situation in the Western Balkans featured high on the agenda as Speaker Ivan Brajović began an official two-day visit to Slovenia by meeting his counterpart Dejan Židan in Ljubljana on Wednesday. The pair sees the visit as a means of strengthening the excellent relations.
Židan congratulated Brajović on Montenegro's progress towards the EU, hoping the integration process would be completed as soon as possible.
He is convinced this will contribute to stability in the region and give hope to some other countries aspiring to join the EU.
"Montenegro can count on Slovenia's support," Židan was quoted as saying in a press release from the National Assembly.
Brajović said Slovenia understood the situation in the Western Balkans very well, and was able to see the progress Montenegro had made since independence.
He also said that as NATO's contact point for Montenegro in 2011-2014, Slovenia had contributed significantly to the country's NATO membership.
He also pointed out that Slovenia still provided a lot of assistance to Montenegro on its path towards the EU.
Having closely followed the recent EU elections, Montenegro also hopes Slovenia's MEPs will be its supporters and allies who understand EU consolidation is a process parallel to the EU enlargement, Brajović was quoted as saying.
"We also believe they will contribute their share so that enlargement becomes a priority of the European Commission and the European Parliament."
Brajović said Montenegro counted on becoming the first new EU member when the EU expands.
The two speakers also discussed economic cooperation, with Židan noting bilateral trade was growing.
What is more, the two countries are also political allies "because we understand that the Western Balkans must have better prospects", he said.
Both speakers are convinced bilateral relations should be nurtured, which is why they agreed on today's visit as they met in March at a conference of speakers from countries of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative in Montenegro's Budva.
Practically the same topics were also discussed as Brajović was received by Foreign Minister Miro Cerar.
Both officials noted Slovenia and Montenegro were interested in further expanding the positive and diversified cooperation, according to the Foreign Ministry.
Development cooperation was also highlighted as an area of common interest, with the ministry saying Montenegro remained a priority in this respect.
Brajović thanked Slovenia for the support it provided to his country on its way towards membership of Euro-Atlantic organisations, and Cerar pledged further support.