Written question to the European Commission

Following the 30 August 2020 parliamentary elections in Montenegro, there was civil unrest and a worrying set of events where people – primarily from the Muslim community – were attacked verbally and physically, hate graffiti appeared and mosques were attacked. The situation was especially worrying in the town of Pljevlja. In that community, there are divisions between the supporters of the current ruling party and the opposition coalition, which won the majority of the votes.

1. Is the Commission aware of the anti-Muslim rhetoric and attacks against the Muslim community that followed the elections in Montenegro?

2. What will it do to safeguard the interests, freedoms and safety of everyone in Montenegro?

Answer given by Commissioner Várhelyi on behalf of the European Commission

The Commission is aware of incidents targeting the Muslim community in the run-up to and following the 30 August 2020 parliamentary elections. The Commission expects a thorough investigation and legal follow up, as for all attacks and acts of violence .

As an EU candidate country in accession negotiations, Montenegro is expected to ensure the effective protection of persons belonging to national and religious minorities under negotiating Chapter 23 (judiciary and fundamental rights).

The rule of law is one of the EU’s fundamental values and, as such, a crucial element of the EU accession process, which determines the overall pace of Montenegro’s EU accession negotiations.

Under Chapter 23, Montenegro has to fulfil — among others — a specific benchmark related to strengthening the effective application and enforcement of human rights and alignment of its legal framework with the EU acquis and international human rights standards. This also includes effective protection of minorities and of freedom of religion.

On 6 October 2020, the Commission published its 2020 report providing inter alia for a detailed assessment of Montenegro’s respect of fundamental rights. The Commission will continue to regularly monitor the fulfilment of Montenegro’s commitments in this area.

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