The delegation of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the European People’s Party (EPP) to the European Parliament on Tuesday condemned incidents that occurred during the inauguration of Metropolitan Joanikije of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro at the weekend.
“We condemn all the incidents that took place during the inauguration of the Joanikije Metropolitanate of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, especially those in Cetinje, the spiritual and cultural center of Montenegro,” the HDZ / EPP delegation said in a statement signed by four HDZ MEPs – Carlo Ressler, Sunčana Glavak, Željana Zovko and Tomislav Sokol. They also “expressed concern that several dozen people had been injured in the incidents,” the state-run HINA agency reported.
He said that any questioning of the existence of the Montenegrin nation and its identity is unacceptable because Montenegro has a long history of independence and coexistence of different religious and ethnic groups in its territory.
The HDZ / EPP delegation said that anti-European political forces in Montenegro are undermining respect for human rights, stressing the need to protect the right of the Croatian people to preserve Montenegro’s rich customs and cultural heritage.
They urged the Montenegrin government to make more efforts to ease tensions so that the country can successfully continue its path towards EU membership.
About 30 police and protesters were injured in riots during the inauguration in Cetinje on Sunday when people against the ceremony taking place in the historic Montenegrin capital erected barricades at the entrance to the city and clashed with police. Protesters saw the ceremony as an act of provocation and humiliation of Montenegrins and demanded that it be held elsewhere in the country. Police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd.