Foreign policy and defense
Montenegro is a nation in Southern Europe. Its capital city is Podgorica. Since Montenegro left the Union with Serbia and declared its independence in 2006, this was quickly recognized by most countries, including Serbia. As Serbia automatically took over all the Union’s membership in international organizations, Montenegro had to seek its own membership in them, which proved to be no problem. Subsequently, Montenegro’s main foreign policy goal was to become a member of the EU and NATO as well. Negotiations with the EU are ongoing while the NATO membership became reality in June 2017.
In 2008, the country submitted an application for full membership to the EU. One year later, the EU lifted the visa requirement for citizens of Montenegro when entering the Schengen area. In 2010, Montenegro became a candidate country, and in 2012 it was given the go-ahead to start negotiations on EU membership. The EU Commission noted in its autumn 2016 report on reform activities in Montenegro on the road to membership that some progress had been made, but that action had to be taken against corruption and organized crime.
- Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Montenegro for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Relations with Serbia have sometimes been quite chilly due to the issue of dual citizenship for the many Serbs living in Montenegro (Montenegro has so far refused to do so) and for Montenegro to recognize Kosovo as an independent state. The Serbian Orthodox Church’s strong position in Montenegro has also caused controversy (see Religion). An alleged coup attempt in connection with the parliamentary elections in autumn 2016, with Serbian (and Russian) intervention (see Current policy) has further clouded relations.
With other neighboring countries, the relationship is generally good, although there are small outstanding border disputes with both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.
However, the previously friendly relations with Russia have deteriorated in recent years. Russia does not appreciate the government’s west-friendly policy and, above all, has been opposed to a Montenegrin NATO membership (see below). Nor is Montenegro (unlike Serbia) behind the EU sanctions on Russia after the annexation of Crimea is not seen with gentle eyes. At the same time, large parts of the opposition are Russian-friendly, Russian money is involved in a large part of the business privatization in Montenegro and Russians constitute an overwhelming proportion of foreign tourists in the country.
In April 2012, the country joined the World Trade Organization (WTO).
After independence, Montenegro decided to abolish the general military duty and establish its own professional army. At the end of 2006, the country joined the NATO Partnership for Peace (PFF) and in 2008 Montenegro received an invitation to become a member after the necessary reforms. Montenegro was approved as a full NATO member in 2016 and the only thing remaining was that all NATO members would also give their sign. In the spring of 2017, the Montenegrin opposition tried to persuade the US new leadership to deny Montenegro’s membership, but in vain (see Calendar). In early June 2017, the country was admitted as NATO’s 29th member. Already a week later, Montenegro made its first official appearance when the country’s ÖB, General Ljubisa Jokić, visited the NATO-led forces in Kosovo (Kfor).
FACTS – DEFENSE
Army: 875 man (2017)
The air Force: 225 men (2017)
The fleet: 350 men (2017)
Military expenditure’s share of GDP: 1.7 percent (2017)
Military spending’s share of the state budget: 3.3 percent (2017)
Plan for NATO membership
NATO draws up an action plan for Montenegro that is intended to lead to membership in the organization.
Visa-free travel within Schengen
Montenegrins, like Serbs and Macedonians, are granted visa-free travel within the Schengen area – ie 22 EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
DPS wins new election
Prime Minister Milo Đukanović’s center-left coalition, where his party dominates the DPS, wins a grand victory in the earlier parliamentary elections. The Government Coalition receives 48 of the 81 parliamentary seats. The turnout is just over 66 percent.