Update No: 113 - (26/10/06)
The world has a new country
'Montenegro' means 'black mountain' in English. Montenegro is, indeed, a very
rugged and mountainous country. But it is green, indeed verdant in its numerous
valleys, while it has a resplendent coastline on the magnificent blue of the
The whole country is green in another sense. It has just acquired independence
and is not quite sure what to do with it, although the main drift is clear
enough, join the West beyond that magnificent sea, leaving the murkily black
history of its annexation to the now defunct Yugoslavia behind.
The Montenegrins voted on September 10th in the first parliamentary elections
since their tiny Balkan state split from Serbia on May 21. It was predictably
won by the pro-independence, pro-presidential bloc. Although the vote in May was
on a knife edge, popular opinion has swung strongly in favour of independence
now that it is an established reality. There is something exhilarating about
being master of one's own fate, as they now are.
The vote for the 81-seat assembly was key to Montenegro's hopes for joining the
European Union and NATO, as the new parliament will be charged with drafting and
passing a new national constitution for the world's newest country.
All of Montenegro's main political parties are united in their support for EU
membership. Analysts said that Djukanovic, the longest-serving prime minister in
the Balkans, owed his victory to the failure of the pro-Serbian opposition to
recover from defeat in the referendum in May that saw Montenegro emerge as an
independent state and break its ties with Serbia.
Djukanovic's new government is expected to push for a new constitution. The
prime minister has also promised speedy entry into the Partnership for Peace, a
first step toward NATO membership, and a deal on closer political and economic
ties with the European Union.
The new government also has to eradicate a reputation for corruption and weak
institutions. The margin of Djukanovic's victory would help the pace of reforms,
but some questioned whether his government would have the resolve to implement
A cloud on the horizon- dark and menacing
What will the new fate of Montenegro be? Ironically, it will probably be
decided from outside.
Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic long advocated integration with the West as the
goal. But there is a problem. Montenegro still has a black aspect - it is rife
with corruption, smuggling and crime, in the traditional Balkans mountain style.
It is most unlikely that the EU will want to permit its worst elements to enter
unopposed. There is a need for clarification all around.
The new country is attracting a great deal of interest from abroad, particularly
from Russia, the implications of which could be significant. It is a fabulously
beautiful place right on the Adriatic. In a sense it is the most traditionally
Balkans state in the region never having been fully occupied by the Turks.
Montenegro Promised Slovenia's Assistance in EU Bid
President Janez Drnovsek has promised Slovenia's assistance in Montenegro's
efforts to join the EU as he held talks with his Montenegrin counterpart Filip
Vujanovic in Ljubljana on 12th October.
The two countries have a long record of cooperation, political and economic
relations are good and they will remain so in the future as Slovenia supports
Montenegro on its path towards the EU, Drnovsek told the press. Drnovsek
believes that Montenegro should join the EU soon, however it is uncertain when
the EU will admit new members.
They almost certainly will have to wait. President of the European Commission
Barroso made that clear at the end of September. Montenegro is a great place,
but has the Balkan vices as well, as we have seen, corruption and crime,
especially massive smuggling. Steps will be needed to combat them before EU
entry can be put on the agenda, but the EU itself is in a state of uncertainty
about enlargement generally.
Meanwhile, Vujanovic pointed out that Montenegro fulfils all the conditions for
joining the Partnership for Peace and voiced his hope that Slovenia will support
its efforts at the NATO summit in Riga in November.
Discussing the economic cooperation between the countries, Vujanovic said that
Slovenian companies have a good name in Montenegro and a good chance to
participate in infrastructure projects that Montenegro is planning. Slovenian
companies represent an important share of foreign direct investments (FDI) in
Montenegro, which wants to build the reputation of a safe country, open for
Vujanovic moreover thanked Slovenia for recognising Montenegro's independence
and for establishing diplomatic relations quickly after the country declared its
independence on 3rd June 2006.
Slovenia recognised Montenegro's independence on 21st June, the two countries
formally established diplomatic relations on 22nd June, and on 23rd June the
Slovenian embassy was opened in Montenegro's capital Podgorica. However the
embassy is still headed by a charge d'affaires Branko Rakovec, and Drnovsek
expressed his hope that Slovenia's government will nominate an ambassador soon.
Vujanovic's first official visit to Slovenia since Montenegro declared
independence from Serbia was labelled by Drnovsek as "historical."
Drnovsek, being the first foreign statesman to do so, visited Podgorica only one
day after the 21st May referendum at which just over 55% of those that took part
voted for Montenegro's independence.
Montenegro's efforts to join the EU and NATO also topped Vujanovic's talks with
Prime Minister Janez Jansa along with the situation in the Western Balkans and
bilateral relations. Jansa also congratulated Vujanovic on a peaceful and
democratic referendum on independence.
HPB purchases 35% of shares in CDA
Croatian postal bank (HPB) purchased 35 per cent of shares of Montenegro's
Central Depository Agency (CDA) for 1.23 million Euro, Montenegrin independent
portal Vijesti said, Croatia Today reported on September 27th.
HPB was buying a stake in CDA as a broker for one of Croatia's investment funds,
the reports said. The starting price in the race for 35 per cent of CDA was
90,000 Euro, and has hiked 14 times by the time the bidding was over, news
website reporter.gr cited.
CDA is the only database on shares in Montenegro. Montenegrin Central bank holds
a 35 stake in CDA, 25 per cent is held by business banks, while the remaining
portion is held by company Fin invest. The chief CDA sources of revenues are
commissions from stock exchange transactions.
Telekom Crne Gore now known as Crnogorski Telekom
Montenegro's biggest fixed-line phone, mobile and internet operator, Telekom
Crne Gore, completed its re-branding and will now be known as Crnogorski Telekom,
Under an agreement with Germany's Deutsche Telekom, it will also adopt the
internationally renowned T-Mobile brand on the local market. Deutsche Telekom is
a majority owner of the Hungarian Magyar Telekom, which in turn controls a
76.53% stake in the Montenegrin telco.