Montenegro EU plans get 'No' from Geert Wilders
Geert Wilders' Freedom Party PVV and the opposition Socialist Party SP are calling on Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to oppose any moves that help Montenegro join the European Union.
Freedom Party MP Louis Bontes said in parliament today that Montenegro is rife with corruption and that this extends to the small Balkan country's government institutions. Socialist Party MP Harry van Bommel says that, in his view, Montenegro does belong to 'the European family', but as long as there are concerns about crime and corruption, it should not be recognised as an official candidate for EU membership.
During an EU summit on Thursday and Friday, European leaders are set to recognise the former Yugoslav state as a candidate member - a move which the Dutch government will also support. The Dutch minority coalition - made up of Mark Rutte's free-market conservative VVD party and Maxime Verhagen's Christian Democrats CDA - relies on parliamentary support from the Freedom Party. CDA MP Henk Jan Ormel admitted that his party is supporting Montenegro's candidacy "with difficulty".
The country's path to EU membership is likely to take many years as it will first have to convince the member states that it is serious about tackling crime. Only one of the republics of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia, has become an EU member so far. Croatia may complete accession negotiations as soon as next year.
Prime Minister Rutte has been urged to insist at this week's summit that EU member states which rely on a financial bail-out adhere to the conditions laid down for the euro. Mr Rutte says he is in favour of sanctions against countries that do not comply with the rules, but added that the euro is still one of the most stable currencies in the world.
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