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In December 2010, Montenegro became candidate country for European Union (EU) membership. At the Summit in Brussels, heads of state and government of the EU confirmed the opening of negotiations on Montenegro’s accession on 29th June 2012. After a positive decision, a new negotiations approach had been started with Montenegro, according to which Chapter 23 – Judiciary and fundamental rights and Chapter 24 – Justice, freedom and security will remain open until the end of negotiating process. In that regard, the explanatory and bilateral screening meetings for these two chapters were the first to be held. For chapters 23 and 24 the explanatory screening meetings were held from 25th to 29th March 2012, while the bilateral screening meetings were held from 23rd to 25th May 2012 for chapter 24 and from 30th to 31st May 2012 for chapter 23.

In the negotiation process so far, two chapters had been opened and temporarily closed – on 18th December 2012 the chapter 25 – Science and research had been opened and temporarily closed, and in April 2013 the chapter 26 – Education and culture had been opened and temporarily closed.

History of EU – Montenegro relations

At the referendum held on 21st May 2006, Montenegro’s independence had been voted. In June 2006, the European Council confirmed the European perspective of the country by recognising its independence. In that same year in September, a political dialogue at the level of ministers had been established between the Government of Montenegro and the EU institutions. On the 22nd January 2007, the EU Council adopted the decision on adoption of the new European partnership with Montenegro. The Government’s response was adoption of the Action Plan for implementation of recommendations of the European partnership in May 2007.

Montenegro signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) on 15th October 2007, which came into force on 1st May 2010, after ratification by the EU member states. The Agreement was ratified by the Parliament of Montenegro on 13th November 2007. Meanwhile, Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related matters, which came into force on 1st January 2008, was being implemented.

The procedure regarding the agreements between the EU and Montenegro on visa liberalisation and readmission followed, which started 1st January 2008. Visa liberalisation came into force on 19th December 2009, for all the Montenegrin citizens travelling to the Schengen zone countries.

Montenegro submitted its application for the EU membership on 15th December 2008. In accordance with the Article 49 of the EU Agreement, on 23rd April 2009, all member states requested from the European Commission to prepare its opinion on the application.

On 22nd July 2009, the European Commissioner for Enlargement Mr Olli Rehn, submitted to the Government of Montenegro the Questionnaire to assist in preparation of assessment of the country’s readiness to fulfil the obligations imposed by the EU membership. The replies had been delivered on the 9th December that year.

As of 2007, the European Commission has been regularly issuing Progress Reports on Montenegro. The last one was published on 10th October 2012. The report states that the country achieved progress in establishing a functional market economy, improved capability of undertaking commitments stemming from the EU membership and still fulfils political criteria for the EU membership.

Montenegro received financial assistance from the EU under the Instruments for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). In the period from 2007 to 2013, Montenegro will receive assistance in the total amount of 235.2 million euros from IPA funds. Multi-annual Indicative Planning Document for Montenegro was adopted in November 2011, and entered into force on 1st March 2012. The EU has provided financial support for development of civil society within the Mechanism for Support to Civil Society. Montenegro participates in the following EU Programmes: the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for Research and Technological Development, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP) and the Information and Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme (ICT-PSP), both within the framework program for competitiveness and innovation, as well as the Programmes Culture 2007 - 2013 and Customs 2013.

Diplomatic relations between Montenegro and the European Community are led via Montenegro’s Mission in Brussels, which is completely operational since 2006, and the EU Delegation to Montenegro, in Podgorica, which started working in November 2007.

Important dates in Montenegro’s accession to the EU process



21st May 2006

Montenegro’s independence voted at the Referendum

3rd June 2006

The Parliament declared independence of Montenegro

22nd January 2007

The Council adopted the European partnership for Montenegro

15th October 2007

Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Montenegro and EU signed in Luxembourg

1st November 2007

Delegation of the European Commission in Podgorica started its work

1st January 2008

Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related matters, Agreement on Visa Liberalisation, and Agreement on Readmission came into force

15th December 2008

Montenegro submitted an application for EU membership

23rd April 2009

The Council submitted the request to the European Commission to prepare the opinion on Montenegro’s membership application

22nd July 2009  

In Podgorica, the Commissioner Rehn presented the Prime Minister Mr Milo Đukanović with the European Commission’s Questionnaire

26th November 2009

The Government considered and adopted the Final Report on implemented activities regarding preparation of the answers to the European Commission’s Questionnaire

9th December 2009

Prime Minister of the Government of Montenegro Mr Milo Đukanović submitted answers to the European Commission’s Questionnaire to the European Commissioner for EU Enlargement Ollie Rehn in Brussels

1st May 2010

Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) came into force

9th November 2010

The European Commission issued a positive Opinion on readiness of Montenegro for membership, recommending to have the Council award the candidate status to Montenegro

17th December 2010

The European Council awarded Montenegro the candidate status

9th December 2011

The European Council welcomed the assessment of the European Commission on the good progress of Montenegro; in order to open negotiations with Montenegro in June 2012, the European Council put the Council in charge of considering progress of Montenegro in implementing reforms with special focus on the fields of legal state and fundamental rights, especially in combating corruption and organised crime, and based on the Commission Report presented in the first half of 2012

8th March 2012

The Government of Montenegro adopted a Decision on forming the Working Group for preparation of Montenegro’s accession to the EU in the area of acquis communautaire relating to the negotiation chapters 23 – Judiciary and fundamental rights and 24 – Justice, freedom and security

25th - 29th March 2012

Explanatory screening meetings for chapters 23 and 24 held in Brussels

26th June 2012

The European Council supported the assessment of the Commission that Montenegro meets the membership criteria and that it should start the accession negotiations, on 29th June 2012

29th June 2012

Accession negotiations started

18th December 2012

Temporarily closed chapter 25 – SCIENCE AND RESEARCH

15th April 2013

Temporarily closed chapter 26 – EDUCATION AND CULTURE

18th April 2013

The European Parliament adopted the Resolution on Montenegro