Update No: 124 - (28/09/07)
The newest nation
Montenegro is the world's latest country. One year after independence how is it
It is doing very well. All sorts of people are coming to the aid of the party,
including some of the world's most inveterate party-goers, the Rolling Stones
among them, who gave a concert recently. It is attracting those who are beguiled
by beautiful scenery, with long romantic associations.
It is of course a country of brigands and smugglers, high on the list of
corruption on international comparisons.
Everyone who has heard of it knows that it belonged to the former Yugoslavia.
Unlike the other republics of the same, it was never really subdued by the
Turks. Its mountainous redoubts were ideal for guerilla resistance, just as they
are for brigandage.
But it belonged to the Roman Empire. Indeed, it was then part of Illyrium, a
central and prosperous province of the empire, which, as it so happened, gave it
three great emperors, Aurelian, Diocletian and Constantine.
It could be now about to have another heyday. It is the new great tourist spot
in Europe, with its most rapidly booming property market. Russians have come in
droves, having as we have previously observed, bought up most of the property
and many businesses .
But the Germans are still wary, preferring their beloved Croatia.
Problems still abound
Poor roads, a high crime rate and uncomfortable hotels are just some of the
perceived problems that are discouraging German holidaymakers from visiting
Montenegro, according to a new survey.
The report, compiled by the Munich Institute for Leisure Economics, also
contained fears about complicated entry regulations, the language barrier and
rubbish in the streets. Among those polled, only Turkey was considered less safe
It was based on interviews with more than 3,000 Germans who regularly take
holidays in Europe, only two-thirds of whom were yet aware of Montenegro's
location on the map. The results of the survey show that it was Germans aged 50
and above that tend to be more interested in Montenegro. These were, in the
main, people with secondary or university education, and having average monthly
incomes of €2,000-5,000.
On the other hand, Montenegro came first on the list of destinations with an
unspoilt nature, and third for its mild climate, friendly people and low prices.
It is also the country where terrorist attacks are considered the least likely,
while the riskiest destinations are held to be Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and Spain.
"Montenegro is not properly presented on the German holiday market, and we
propose changing the situation through regular and positive reports,
high-quality offers, campaigns and manifestations", the Institute's staff
The survey was conducted at the request of the Montenegrin National Tourism
Organization (NTO). Its manager, Danica Ceranic, said on September 26th that the
NTO "is satisfied with the results of the survey, and will try to inform
the German people about some misconceptions they have about Montenegro".
"For example, they need just two or three minutes to enter Montenegro, as
they do not even need passports, just ID cards", Ceranic told Balkan
The Chinese are interested
China is taking an interest in new small nations in Europe. It seems interested
in having a sort of string of mini-Hong Kongs inside the EU already or likely to
become so. During the long communist years Albania, just a little further along
the coast line, was effectively just that. A Chinese enclave in Europe.
Montenegrin Prime Minister Zeljko Sturanovic said on September 26th that his
country wishes to strengthen dialogue with China and explore new ways of
co-operation. Montenegro wants to boost this with China in such areas as the
economy, trade, and tourism, Sturanovic told Chinese Foreign Minister Yang
Jiechi on the sidelines of the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly.
He thanked China, which recognized Montenegro shortly after its declaration of
independence, for the precious support to the Montenegrin people.
This encounter came after a visit by the Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister,
Kong Quan, in mid-September, who also visited Slovenia and that 'Hong Kong of
the North', Latvia. In Podgorica, capital of the Republic of Montenegro, the
minister held separate talks with Montenegro's Prime Minister Sturanovic,
Foreign Minister Milan Rocen and other senior officials. He expressed China's
willingness to further reciprocal cooperation with the world's youngest republic
in various fields. Montenegro said it is ready to enhance cooperation with China
in economy, trade and tourism based on favourable political relations.
Prime Minister Zeljko Sturanovic and Foreign Minister Milan Rocen also vowed to
participate in the Beijing Olympic Games next year as an independent nation for
the first time. They expressed belief that the Beijing Olympics will be a great
Corruption Perception Index
This year's global Corruption Perception Index shows most Balkan countries have
moved up in the international league table, but they remain among the more
The latest survey by the corruption watchdog, Transparency International, TI,
shows Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia climbing up in
the rankings, while Bulgaria has fallen back.
In one of the first local reactions to the report, Montenegrin Minister of the
Interior Jusuf Kalamperovic stated that the results of the fight against
corruption in Montenegro were limited, and there was a need to change
"We'll do our best to make conditions for an efficient fight against
corruption and organized crime", Kalamperovic stated at a conference on key
strategies for successful criminal persecution of corruption", held in
Milocer in September.