Friday

21st Sep 2018

Montenegro hopes to apply for EU membership next year

Montenegro is hoping to lodge an official application for EU membership in the first half of 2008, the country's prime minister Zeljko Sturanovic said on Monday (15 October).

Mr Sturanovic made the announcement during a press conference after having signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU earlier in the day in Luxembourg.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Montenegro is the fourth country of the so-called Western Balkan region – including Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania – to sign a SAA after Macedonia and Croatia in 2001 and Albania in 2006.

"Montenegro is much closer to Europe today than it was yesterday and our future is more certain than ever", Mr Sturanovic said welcoming the signing of the agreement, which constitutes a first step towards EU membership.

"For the first time ever in its history Montenegro has institutionalised its relations with the EU and has provided proof that it belongs to Europe not only in terms of geography, history and civilisation, but also because we share the same values and the same goals", he added.

The Montenegrin premier also expressed hope that his country would officially apply for EU membership as early as the first half of next year, under the Slovenian presidency.

The Slovenes, who will be at the head of the EU for six months from January to July 2008 have already stated their wish to push for further Balkan integration during their presidency.

Macedonia, which is currently an EU candidate country, also hopes to open accession talks during that period.

Mr Sturanovic said that he hoped his country would get all the "help and support" from the EU in order to achieve the ambitious goal.

Montenegro is still lagging behind in many fields and its EU membership is not planned to happen in a very near future.

Among other issues, it needs to reform further its public administration, its judicial system and to make more efforts as regards the fight against corruption – problematic areas common to all Balkan states.

While acknowledging the need to implement more reforms, EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn welcomed the signing of the SAA calling it "an important milestone" and a possible "inspiration" for other countries of the region.

The days preceding the signing of the agreement were full of drama for the small Adriatic state as Bulgaria had threatened to block the signing unless the translation of the text contained the Cyrillic spelling of the euro - namely "evro".

A temporary compromise on the issue was reached during the weekend, however.

Montenegro has a population of some 650,000 people and has been an independent state for only a year and a half. It split from Serbia in May 2006, after a majority of Montenegrins voted in favour of the move in a popular referendum.

Its SAA has now to be ratified by all EU member states.

Bulgaria euro row may come up at summit

Sofia has said it will not block the signing of a political agreement between the EU and Montenegro later today, after a temporary compromise solution was found regarding the Bulgarian spelling of the euro. However, Bulgaria is set to raise the issue at EU treaty talks later this week.

Slovenian EU presidency to push for further Balkan integration

Keen on pushing forward EU integration of the Balkan countries during its presidency of the bloc from January to July next year, Slovenia has sent a letter to EU leaders and the European commission calling for "brave decisions" regarding the region.

News in Brief

  1. UK's Brexit plan 'won't work', says EU's Tusk
  2. Austria ex-chancellor hints at running for Juncker's job
  3. Greece to move asylum-seekers from overcrowded Lesbos camp
  4. Transatlantic soya trade soars due to trade wars
  5. EU tables strategy for connecting Europe and Asia
  6. Bulgaria backs Hungary in dispute with EU
  7. Trump urged Spain to build Sahara wall to stop migrants
  8. EU-Arab League summit proposed for February in Egypt

Opinion

EU should brace for a more authoritarian Erdogan

The new blend of religious nationalism will be more anti-West and anti-EU, as Brussels has anything but leverage on Turkey. The first signs of this strong rhetoric are already visible.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us