PODGORICA, Montenegro — Montenegro’s pro-Western president criticized the European Union for allegedly permitting Russia to unfold its affect within the Western Balkans, saying Tuesday that the risky area has turn into a “platform” for anti-EU insurance policies because of the bloc’s “negligence.”
President Milo Djukanovic spoke to the Related Press as he prepares for a Sunday runoff election with a political newcomer who has the assist of the Montenegrin authorities, which incorporates events looking for nearer relations with Serbia and Russia.
“Russia has merely walked into an open house left by the European Union,” Djukanovic stated of the EU’s place towards the Balkans. “The European Union prior to now 10 years didn’t know what to do with the Western Balkans, however Russia did. It has developed its community within the Balkans.”
Djukanovic, who has held Montenegro’s largely ceremonial presidency since 2018, received probably the most votes within the first spherical of the nation’s presidential election, which was held March 19. Analysts in Montenegro suppose his challenger within the two-candidate runoff, former Financial system Minister Jakov Milatovic, stands probability of successful as a result of he has the backing of different candidates and political events.
With an early parliamentary election scheduled for June 11, this weekend’s vote is taken into account an vital indicator of the long run path of Montenegro, a small NATO member nation of 620,000 folks. A political stalemate has stalled the nation’s EU path and raised fears of instability because the warfare rages in Ukraine.
Djukanovic informed the AP the presidential contest presents a alternative between his pro-EU insurance policies and the “brutal populism” of the present coalition authorities, which is dominated by events that favor nearer ties with Serbia and Russia.
His Democratic Social gathering of Socialists ruled the nation kind of unchallenged for 3 many years. The president alleged that the the ruling coalition that got here to energy after a 2020 parliamentary vote has devastated Montenegro economically and financially.
“For the previous 2 1/2 years, now we have witnessed severe stumbling by Montenegro,” Djukanovic stated.
The coalition authorities has pledged that Montenegro would stay on its European Union path. Milatovic, the president’s challenger, additionally has expressed assist for the nation pursuing EU membership.
Analysts say the Western-educated Milatovic, 36, is seen as the favourite on Sunday towards Djukanovic, 61, who as prime minister took Montenegro to independence from Serbia in 2006 and defied Russia in 2017 to safe NATO membership.
Jovana Gec in Belgrade, Serbia, contributed to this report.