posted by usha on 2005/08/24 13:27

[ Montenegro ]

It is time to start this new topic which I announced already 2 months ago. It is the historical Montengro of the 19th and 20th century which I am professionally interested in, but I start the new topic with current affairs, nevertheless.

The union of Serbia and Montenegro obviously did not work well since its creation in 2003. The constitutional charter foresaw that either republic could call a referendum on independence after three years – that is, in February 2006, but the recent constitutional amendments postpone the elections to October 2006 – well after the referendum that will likely spell the end of the union. According to a poll by the think tank Group for Change, 43 % of Montenegrins would vote for independence while 41 % would vote against. And 16 % of the 705 adults polled said they were undecided. The poll cunducted by CEDEM showed that about 40.5 % of Montenegrins favor independence for their republic, while 36 % want it to remain in a Serbia-Montenegro union together with the much larger senior partner. The agency interviewed 1,010 people.

For a long time the EU did not at all favor a independent Montenegro, since it was linked to the question of the future state of Kosova. EU officials were afraid of being forced to take a premature decision on Kosova. The EU's strong recommendation to maintain the state union and to postpone the referendum caused a lot of bad feelings in Montenegro. Maybe now, as there has to be decided over Kosova anyway, Montenegro's independence has better chances for EU approval. Still, it seems as if the EU would prefer the perpetuation of the state union Serbia-Montenegro. Thus, Austria's negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro implicitly support the union, although the secretary of state, Helmut Fischer, does not advise against the referendum for the union of two independent sates or Montenegro's independence. Very useful for this topic is the round-table on Serbia and Montenegro's future presented by the Bosnia Report, New Series 45/46.


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