30th Jul 2021

EU sets high threshold for Montenegro referendum

  • The EU has invested heavily in bringing stability to the Western Balkans (Photo: Council of the European Union)

The EU will endorse the result of Montenegro's referendum on independence if 55 percent or more of participants vote in favour of the move, Balkans agency DTT-NET.COM writes.

EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak gave the news to Podgorice on Wednesday night after consultations with member states' diplomats in Brussels, but EU officials have not confirmed the move so far.

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Montenegro government sources added that the EU proposed pushing the referendum back from April to 14 May.

Mr Lajcak had said earlier in Brussels that the EU "won't impose a solution", but that the union will "suggest" a formula that would give full legitimacy to the referendum process.

Pro-independence campaigners led by Montenegran prime ministers Milo Djukanovic say that a majority of 25 to 40 percent should be sufficient for the results to stand.

But Serbian-led opposition parties favour a figure of 50 percent or above, with recent opinion polls showing that 41 percent of people support independence and 32 percent are against.

The Council of Europe has also said that a turnout of 50 percent of registered voters is another basic criterion for international legitimacy, while urging all sides to reach consensus on the thresholds.

The Montenegran law on referendums merely states that the decision is to be taken by a majority of citizens eligible to vote, but doesn't fix any exact figure.

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