Update No: 110 - (27/07/06)
At the moment the Montenegrins are still celebrating their new-found
independence. Montenegro formally celebrated its independence on July 12th
following a referendum that voted to break from long-time partner Serbia,
despite reluctance from Belgrade.
In a referendum on May 21st this year, about 55.5 per cent of voters supported
independence for the small Balkan republic which had previously been in a
federation with Serbia. In June, independence was proclaimed and also recognized
by the EU.
Also, polls have shown that many former opponents of Montenegrin independence
now supported a sovereign state.
President Filip Vujanovic and Prime Minister Milo Jukanovic led the campaign for
a 'yes' vote. They said that independence would improve the Adriatic state's
economy and international relations.
Foreign Minister Miodrag Vlahovic said big challenges faced the new state with
its approximately 620,000 population. 'We must show now that the independent
statehood we demanded in past years was not merely for its own sake.'
The most important aim was an improvement in the legal system. 'We must prove
that we are a country in which the political structures are transparent, and the
government is aware of its responsibility.'
NATO and EU membership beckon
Montenegro wants to be a member of NATO in three years' time, Vlahovic said
in an interview in the Vienna newspaper Die Presse.
'At the latest in September, we want to continue the talks with the EU about a
stabilization and association agreement, and in about three years we want to be
a NATO member,' Vlahovic said.
Asked about the deep split in Montenegrin society in the independence question,
he said the best way towards reconciliation between the two camps was 'a joint
'Ninety per cent of Montenegrins have the view that accession to the EU must be
the highest strategic goal. That links us all,' Vlahovic said.
IMF membership too
Montenegro has applied to join the International Monetary Fund following its
secession, the IMF said on July 21st. But for now, the IMF said it would
continue to recognise Serbia as the continuing state of the old "Serbia and
Montenegro" with full membership rights in the Washington-based
The IMF said in a statement that it had received a membership application from
Montenegro on July 18th, and the application would be considered "in due
In the meantime, "Serbia continues the membership of the former Serbia and
Montenegro in the International Monetary Fund and retains all of this member's
quota in the Fund, and all assets in, and liabilities to, the IMF."
If Montenegro's bid wins approval from the IMF board of governors, which
represents the body's full membership, it would become the Fund's 185th member.
Montenegro Elections to Be Held September 10th
President Filip Vujanovic and Prime Minister Milo Jukanovic led the campaign
for a 'yes' vote. They said that independence would improve the Adriatic state's
economy and international relations. President Vujanovic has set the date
September 10th for the parliamentary and local elections at 12 municipalities,
according to Montenegrin newspaper, Vijesti.
From the statements the leaders of the parties represented in parliament made
after holding consultations with the President, it may be concluded that most of
them wanted the elections to take place at the very end of the legal term, which
runs out October 5th.
Using his constitutional and legal authority Filip Vujanovic set a date for the
elections at which the constituents will vote for 81 MPs, as well as for
municipal councillors and chairs of municipalities of Andrijevica, Bar, Beran,
Bijelo Polje, Danilovgrad, Kolasin, Plav, Pluzine, Plevlja, Rozaje, Ulcin and
The people will also vote for municipal councillors and mayor of the capital, as
well as for members of the municipal parliaments of Golubovac and Tuzi.
For more than a decade, Montenegro's government has been dominated by Prime
Minister Milo Djukanovic's Democratic Party of Socialists.
Djukanovic, who also led Montenegro's drive for independence from Serbia, is
widely considered a favourite for the September election.
Vujanovic said campaigning for the vote could start and last until September
Green Party forms
New parties are also coming onto the scene. The Green Party of Montenegro
was established in late July, which in coalition with some other small party
will take part in the elections. This is what the party's founder Dragan
Hajdukovic stated, cited by the Montenegrin newspaper, Pobeda.
Dragan Hajdukovic explained that at the moment they have been collecting
signatures and added that the constituent assembly was held in town of Cetinje.
The Green Party is the fourth new party to take part in the elections in the
autumn, the newspaper notes.
Platform set on free flow of goods with Serbia
The Montenegrin government has set a platform for an agreement with Serbia on
the free flow of people, goods, services and capital, to maintain the current
situation in these fields, Italian news agency ANSA reported.
Assistant Interior Minister, Svetozar Djurovic, told journalists after the
government session that the platform will be sent to the Serbian government very
Djurovic pointed out that the Montenegrin government wished to maintain the
current status quo to avoid certain problems, adding that this will be the
government's starting point in the talks with Serbia. He explained that this
means fully open borders and the free flow of people, goods and capital. When
asked whether he expected problems in the negotiations, he failed to give a
specific answer, but said there was the possibility of several agreements being
Moreover, the two countries' finance ministers and central bank governors
recently reached an agreement in principle, according to which Serbia will keep
its membership in international financial organisations and return to Montenegro
some of the funds it used for their previous joint membership. In Podgorica, the
finance ministers of Serbia and Montenegro, Mladjan Dinkic and Igor Luksic, the
Chairman of the Council of the Central Bank of Montenegro Ljubisa Krgovic and
the governor of the National Bank of Serbia Radovan Jelasic agreed about the
division of property inherited from the former SFR Yugoslavia, ANSA reported.
According to the agreement, Serbia will continue its membership of the IMF, the
World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and of the
Development Bank of the Council of Europe with the existing quota, that is,
membership investment. "We agreed for Serbia to pay Montenegro US$260,000,
which this republic paid when the state union became a member of the EBRD,"
Dinkic was quoted as saying. Luksic said he expected the IMF and the World Bank
to transform the membership of Serbia-Montenegro into that of Serbia and verify
Montenegro as a new member, in September or October this year, at the latest.