European Parliament's rapporteur for Montenegro, Tonino Picula, and the European Green Party co-chair, Thomas Waitz, said on Tuesday that the European Union had to help Montenegro with its debt to China that had been incurred with regard to the construction of the country's motorway.
Montenegro took out a loan in 2014 for the construction of one of three sections of the motorway between its coastal city of Bari to its border with Serbia at an interest rate of 2% and a six-year grace period which expires this year, while the deadline for the construction of the motorway has been delayed several times.
Montenegro’s Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic called for help from the EU at the end of April to pay €1 billion to the Chinese Exim Bank which, he said, would help reduce China’s influence on the country.
In mid-April, the EU made it clear that it did not repay third party’s debts.
Croatian MEP Tonino Picula said during Tuesday’s online briefing for reporters that the “EU should assist in an effort to keep Montenegro.”
His colleague, Austrian MEP Thomas Waitz, said that at the European level he strongly advocates that European financial institutions consider the possibility of rescheduling the debt, adding that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) or European Investment Bank (EIB) could be included.
As shadow rapporteur for Montenegro’s progress on its journey to the EU, on behalf of the Greens in the European Parliament, Waitz added that there was a possibility of using funds from the (IPA II) pre-accession instrument, to complete the motorway.
Picula said that influences of somebody else on the EU neighbourhood should worry the Union.
He pushed for revising the agreements and investigating suspected corruption that is being mentioned during the time of the conclusion ofcontracts.
Waitz said he believes there are sufficient legal reasons to re-examine the validity of those contracts.
Waitz and Picula agree that Montenegro is implementing reforms on EU journey
Montenegro embarked on the journey towards European standards, particularly in the environment protection segment, Waitz said.
He underlined that authorities had launched a revision of public tenders regarding hydro-power plants, national parks and wind parks with an “appropriate” analysis of the impact to the environment.
Picula stressed that Montenegro’s foreign policy “has for years now been completely adjusted to Europe’s foreign policy.”