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Montenegro: country overview

03 September 2012
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 29 January 2017

In 2006 Montenegro's parliament declared independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. In 2008, the new country applied for EU membership. In 2010, the Commission issued a favourable opinion on Montenegro's application Choose translations of the previous link, identifying 7 key priorities that would need to be addressed for negotiations to begin, and the Council granted it candidate status. In December 2011, the Council launched the accession process with a view to opening negotiations in June 2012. The accession negotiations with Montenegro started on 29 June 2012.



Member of Schengen area: 

Political system: Republic

Capital city: Podgorica

Total area:  14 026 km²

Population: 0.6 million

Currency: euro

Country overview

MontenegroMontenegro is a candidate country for membership to the European Union. The EU recognised the independence of Montenegro in June 2006.

A European partnership between the EU and Montenegro agreed in 2007 identifies areas in which the country needs to introduce reforms or to step up efforts before EU membership is possible. A formal application for membership was submitted in December 2008. A Stabilisation and Association Agreement setting out a framework for cooperation entered into force in May 2010.

Visa requirements for Montenegro citizens visiting the EU were relaxed in December 2009.

Economy overview

Montenegro's economy is transitioning to a market system. From the beginning of the privatization process in 1999 through 2015, around 85% of Montenegrin state-owned companies have been privatized, including 100% of banking, telecommunications, and oil distribution. Tourism brings in twice as many visitors as Montenegro's total population every year. Several new luxury tourism complexes are in various stages of development along the coast, and a number are being offered in connection with nearby boating and yachting facilities.

Montenegro uses the euro as its domestic currency, though it is not an official member of the euro zone. In January 2007, Montenegro joined the World Bank and IMF, and in December 2011, the WTO. Montenegro began negotiations to join the EC in June, 2012, having met the conditions set down by the European Council, which called on Montenegro to take steps to fight corruption and organized crime.

The government recognizes the need to remove impediments in order to remain competitive and open the economy to foreign investors. The biggest foreign investors in Montenegro are Italy, Norway, Austria, Russia, Hungary and the UK. Net foreign direct investment in 2014 reached $483 million and investment per capita is one of the highest in Europe.

Montenegro is currently planning major overhauls of its road and rail networks, and possible expansions of its air transportation system. In 2014, the Government of Montenegro selected two Chinese companies to construct a 41 km-long section of the country's highway system. Construction will cost around $1.1 billion. Montenegro first instituted a value-added tax (VAT) in April 2003, and introduced differentiated VAT rates of 17% and 7% (for tourism) in January 2006. In May 2013, the Montenegrin Government raised the higher level VAT rate to 19%.

Useful links

Delegation of the EU to Montenegro

Government of Montenegro

Tourist information

EU membership

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