Montenegro has opened chapter 27 of EU membership negotiations, which deals with the environment and climate change. To provisionally close the most demanding and expensive chapter of EU accession talks, Montenegro will have to meet benchmarks concerning matters from air quality to the water sector and the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), according to a press release from the Council of the EU.
The air quality benchmark Montenegro must meet to provisionally close chapter 27 envisages, among other matters, fully aligning with the revised Directive on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants (NEC Directive 2016/2284/EU) and presenting an analysis of cost-effective emission control strategies for 2020 and 2030, which shall serve as a basis for final agreement between the EU and Montenegro on its reduction obligations under the NEC Directive.
Montenegro further needs to decide on its waste management system and dedicate appropriate funding to infrastructure investments, as well as make significant progress on acquis alignment in the water sector, including drinking water legislation and marine environmental policy. Concerning the water benchmark, the country also needs to develop river basin management plans.
In the area of nature protection, Montenegro needs to submit the list of proposed Natura 2000 sites and demonstrate the capacity to manage the Natura 2000 network, including by affording the Ulcinj Salina the appropriate protection status. Montenegro must further continue its alignment with the acquis in the chemicals, noise, and civil protection sector.
On climate change, Montenegro needs to continue its alignment with the acquis, notably by adopting legislation on the functioning of the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), in line with the EU ETS Directive 2003/87/EC and its successive amendments. Montenegro should further align with relevant secondary legislation on monitoring and reporting, accreditation and verification, the Union Registry, free allocation, and auctioning. The country needs to make sure that the appropriate framework is in place to implement the EU ETS in its entirety regarding the monitoring, reporting, and verification of greenhouse gas emissions.
Montenegro adopts decision on establishment of Eco Fund
In late November, the Montenegrin government adopted a decision on the establishment of the Environmental Protection Fund, also known as the Eco Fund, with the aim of creating a legal framework for the future investments in the area of environmental protection and climate change, Sustainable Development and Tourism Pavle Radulović said at the opening of chapter 27, according to a statement from the government.
According to earlier reports, meeting obligations under chapter 27 will require EUR 1.4 billion in investments by 2035, and the Eco Fund, set up as a legal entity, is expected to be a key financing mechanism.