behind the headlines

Montenegro accepted as a EU-candidate member | I can't believe it

Saturday, December 18, 2010 · Category Politics · comments 0


Montenegro is really a beautiful place; a small pearl on the Balkans; once in the 1970's and 1980's it was the second "Costa Smeralda" in the Medditerean. It lost it's attraction during the Balkan wars of the 90's and was completely neglected by the EU-members, yet adopted by the Russians.

Montenegro officially awarded EU candidacy status | 17th of December 2010

Declared independent from Serbia on the 6th of June 2006. Since than the country focussed on the EU, while Russians have bought out all major industries in the meantime and the country is by large known as the "Smugglers heaven". Montenegro is the sixth European country to receive EU candidate status following the adoption of this year's enlargement package by EU member states. In the conclusions adopted at the meeting on 14 December, the EU ministers called on Podgorica to step up efforts to implement reforms in seven areas, where substantial progress is needed for the accession talks to be launched. Once having received official EU candidate status, Montenegro is likely to become EU member in four or five years. This was concluded by the Belgium Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stevan Vanackere, who chaired the meeting.

So what's the case really?

All around Western-Europe people are retreating to their own country, turning away from being Europeans, mostly fed by populist parties who share among them the rightwing liberal ideas and a left-wing social agenda. We see it in Holland, in belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, France and even in germany there are now strong movements against the Euro and in favour of the good old Deutsche D-Mark. In short: Many "Europeans" feel that the changes coming over us are going way to fast. We worry about the future for our children and what does the EU-commission and parliament do? They keep talking about further expansion while we throw billions of euros to save such countries lie Greece, Ireland and who knows Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Belgium TV Show: Canvas TerZake 17 December 2010

Friday night I watched a special about Europe on Belgium state television show Canvas Terzake. Although I don't see the point of having to conduct numerous "interviews" with people on the street, the show did have some impact and good background information supporting the idea that the EU (commission and parliament) is basically living in a cocoon, a tower far away from what we think on the street. The ultimate proof being the fact that inside the EU buildings there is even a special hair-saloon for all those European officials making the need to go outside of their protected area close to zero.

Montenegro: An overview

Montenegro emerged as a sovereign state after just over 55% of the population opted for independence in a May 2006 referendum. Montenegro last experienced independence nearly 90 years earlier. It was absorbed into the newly-formed Yugoslavia at the end of World War I. The country officially applied to join the EU on 15 December 2008. Another important milestone on Montenegro's path to EU membership was reached towards the end of 2009, when Montenegrin citizens were granted the right to visa-free travel within the Schengen zone.

Montenegro: Economy and main industries

Among with Aluminium, Montenegro has significant deposits of bauxite, iron, and petroleum. There has also been a huge increase in tourism in the last 10 years, mainly from Russians who do not need a VISA to enter the tiny country. In the 1990s, smuggling is said to have supplied about a third of the government's revenues. There is high unemployment, and the country has a severe trade deficit. Switzerland, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Greece are the main trading partners.

Prices in Montenegrin economy are largely determined by market forces. The government, however, exerts influences over prices of some commodities, including energy, utility and transport, through state-owned enterprises. The government also invests heavily in the economy. According to the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, the government spending, including transfer payments and consumption, was about 39.0% of the nation’s GDP.

Despite persistent efforts, Montenegro’s economic growth has been slower than anticipated as a result of hidden bureaucracy and corruption in the system. Regional disparities and unemployment are other key factors hindering Montenegrin economic growth. Also, the global financial crisis has weighed in heavily on the economy of Montenegro, primarily because of a decline in Montenegrin aluminum exports.

Montenegro: Some facts and figures

  • Full name: Republic of Montenegro
  • Population: 625,000 (UN 2010)
  • Administrative capital: Podgorica
  • Area: 13,812 sq km (5,333 sq miles)
  • Main religions: Christianity, Islam
  • Languages: Serbian, Montenegrin
  • Life expectancy: 73 years (men), 77 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: euro
  • Main export: Aluminium
  • GNI per capita: $6,550 (World Bank 2009)
  • Internet and .cg.yu
  • International dialling code: (+382)


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