Report by the Head of OSCE Mission to Montenegro: UK response, July 2024

UK Acting Ambassador Deirdre Brown thanks the OSCE Mission to Montenegro for work supporting Montenegro's efforts on the Euro-Atlantic path.

This was published under the 2022 to 2024 Sunak Conservative government
Deirdre Brown MBE

Thank you, Madam Chair. 

Firstly, I would like to welcome Ambassador Waag back to the Permanent Council. Thank you, Ambassador, for the work of your team over the last year, and for this comprehensive report on the Mission’s activities and achievements.

The UK recognises the busy political context in Montenegro over the last 12 months, and the commitment to economic growth and EU accession under the new coalition government led by Prime Minister Spajić. We welcome the positive Interim Benchmark Assessment, and continue to fully support Montenegro’s efforts on the Euro-Atlantic path. We encourage all branches of government to continue working together to achieve positive results.

In this context we positively note the Mission’s continued engagement and support to Montenegro, building capacity and sharing expertise across a wide range of areas in support of the government’s national strategic objectives, in line with the Mission’s mandate and OSCE commitments and principles. The work of the Mission has many areas of complementarity with the UK’s own work and priorities.

In particular, we commend your continued support to the State Election Commission during this period, including for the administration of parliamentary elections in June 2023. We welcome your ongoing commitment to accessibility of polling stations for persons with disabilities, and your support to voter education campaigns. Your continued positive engagement with the State Election Commission will be important in addressing remaining ODIHR recommendations, including from the recent gender audit.     

The UK also recognises the Mission’s excellent level of cooperation with Montenegro’s newly elected parliament, in particular your support to the Gender Equality Committee and to the digitalization of records. We similarly welcome your ongoing engagement in combatting serious and organised crime and countering trafficking in human beings, including through training to law enforcement agencies on specialised investigative methods and forensics.

Ambassador Waag, we particularly commend the Mission’s continued focus on gender, and your ongoing progress in mainstreaming a gender perspective into programmatic activities. Your report highlights some important areas of support, including towards a more gender sensitive parliament, to women in the police service, and in analysing examples of gender stereotyping in educational textbooks.

Madam Chair, we regret that it is again necessary to underline the hugely negative impact the continued non-agreement of the Unified Budget is having on the work of OSCE field missions, including through cancelled programmes and staff attrition. We urge again that participating States obstructing agreement look beyond a narrow national focus and ensure all OSCE institutions have the funding they need.

In conclusion, I would like to thank you, Ambassador Waag, for your leadership of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro during your time in the role, and wish you all the best in your future endeavors. 

Thank you, Ambassador Waag. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Published 9 July 2024