Thursday

24th May 2018

Montenegro swings towards independence

The Balkan republic of Montenegro is set to become Europe's newest state with initial results showing it voted ‘yes' to independence on Sunday, which could dissolve its union with neighbouring Serbia.

On Monday morning (22 May) unofficial results show that 55.3 percent voted in favour and 44.6 voted against secession from Serbia.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

55.3 percent is just above the threshold for secession to be legitimate according to EU-imposed standards.

88 percent of Montenegrins turned out to vote at the around 1100 ballot stations, the highest turnout since the country's first democratic elections in the 1990s.

Prime minister Milo Djukanovic claimed early on Monday that his aim for independence of the small Adriatic republic had been successful.

"Today, the Montenegrin citizens voted to restore their statehood," said the prime minister after the vote, according to Associated Press.

Mr Djukanovic added that he was confident of winning "a clear majority that will lead Montenegro to its independence."

In the capital, Podgorica, crowds of independence supporters swarmed the city centre, sounding car horns and waving red Montenegrin flags in a victory celebration ahead of any official poll results.

But the opposition leader and head of the "no" campaign, Predrag Bulatovic, said his camp would not declare defeat because of an "arbitrary estimate by a monitoring group."

"The results are not final until they are confirmed by the state referendum commission," he said urging the government to ask its supporters to leave the streets, according to BBC News.

The pro-union camp says Montenegro with its 650,000 inhabitants is too small to survive alone without the jobs, education and healthcare its larger neighbour has to offer.

Mr Djukanovic, on the other hand, has argued that an independent Montenegro will have a stronger economy and will be a better candidate for admission into the EU.

EU threshold

The 55 percent threshold, set by the EU, has been questioned by some, however,

"We should not forget that the EU community is of sovereign states. That also means that the EU should not engage in a nation's internal business. It is therefore completely dissatisfactory that the EU has involved itself in Montenegro's referendum for independence," said Danish Liberal MEP Karin Riis-Jorgensen.

The MEP also said the EU would have a "big moral problem" if 54 percent of Montenegrins voted for independence.

Montenegro originally wanted to decide the referendum by a simple majority but Brussels had it changed so that a 55 percent qualified majority is needed.

A quick road to EU membership

The EU has accepted that if Montenegro votes for independence, the current joint state of Serbia-Montenegro can pursue EU membership separately.

Montenegro's loose union with Serbia was established in 2003, replacing what was left of the former Yugoslavia.

Analysis

GDPR does not (yet) give right to global oblivion

The 'right to be forgotten' will become enshrined in EU law on Friday, but it is not yet clear to what extent it will apply. Will the EU's law determine how the internet looks globally?

News in Brief

  1. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  2. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  3. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  4. UK households hit with Brexit income loss
  5. Report: EU faces 10% cut in steel exports to US
  6. Australia wants more access to EU agricultural market
  7. CV of Italian PM candidate under scrutiny
  8. Puigdemont Spain extradition rejected by German court

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. GDPR does not (yet) give right to global oblivion
  2. Privacy Shield less relevant given GDPR, says data chief
  3. Unknown academic to lead Italy into EU clash
  4. 'Killer robot' projects eligible for EU defence fund
  5. Funding for European values needs radical changes
  6. Feeble EU format deflates Zuckerberg 'hearing'
  7. Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?
  8. EU pessimistic on permanent US trade exemption