The European Central Bank (ECB) has recently introduced a Eurosystem cooperation program with the Central Bank of Montenegro. The funding of the program will be covered by the European Union’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance which will allocate almost 300,000 euros to the initiative. The program aims to help the Central Bank of Montenegro get ready to join the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) after the country has already qualified for the EU membership. Under the initiative, both parties will prepare a needs-assessment report that will identify strengths and weaknesses towards achieving the goals required to meet the EU’s central banking standards.
Frank Moss, the ECB’s Director General for International and European Relations said that the program with the Central Bank of Montenegro was part a broader strategy of both the ECB and the EU regarding Western Balkan and especially Montenegro, which is a potential EU Member State. In his opinion, the launch of the initiative signals the readiness of the EU’s central banking community to contribute to Montenegro’s EU integration process by assisting the country’s central bank to align its operations with ESCB standards.
Milojica Dakic, Governor of the Central Bank of Montenegro, commented that the launch of the program had commenced a very important moment not only for the bank but also for the country. The signing of the memorandum of understanding with the ECB is believed to open the remaining chapters of negotiations for the EU membership. The project is significant also because it ensures economic and financial cooperation for the central bank. “It will moreover identify necessary policies through an analysis that will be the basis for creating strategic plans and models for the alignment of the Central Bank of Montenegro’s operations with the ESCB standards,” Mr Dakic added.
Following the first meeting of the program’s Steering Committee that took place earlier this week in Podgorica, experts from the Eurosystem have started assessing the functions of the Central Bank of Montenegro against EU and international standards. The consistency of EU’s legal framework with respect to Montenegro’s legal regime will be also assessed in the following seven months. The initiative is being implemented by the ECB itself along with other ten national central banks of the eurozone.