Montenegro and the European Union

In December 2010, Montenegro became a candidate country for EU membership. On 29 June 2012, at the Summit in Brussels, heads of states and governments of the EU confirmed the opening of negotiations on Montenegro’s accession to the EU. A new approach to negotiations was initiated with Montenegro, according to which negotiation chapters 23 - Judiciary and fundamental rights and 24 - Justice, freedom and security had been opened first and they would remain open by the end of the negotiation process.

In the course of negotiations so far, two negotiation chapters have been opened and provisionally closed: on 18 December 2012 chapter 25 - Science and Research, and on 15 April 2013 chapter 26 - Education and Culture. In addition to that, by the end of 2016 negotiations have been opened in 24 more chapters.  

History of the EU - Montenegro relation

Montenegro’s independence was voted for in the referendum held on 21 May 2006. This was followed by numerous instances of bilateral recognition of independent Montenegro by EU member states.

On 15 October 2007 in Luxembourg, Montenegro signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), which entered into force on 1 May 2010, after ratifications by EU member states. In the meantime the Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related issues was being applied, which entered into force on 1 January 2008.

On 30 November 2009, the EU Council adopted a decision to abolish visas for Montenegro, Macedonia, and Serbia, thus enabling the citizens of these countries to travel without visas to all 25 member states of the Schengen zone (now 26), but also to three non-EU countries (Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland).

On 15 December 2008, Montenegro submitted its application for EU membership. On 22 July, Montenegro received the Questionnaire of the European Commission with questions from all fields of the EU acquis, and that the responses to the Questionnaire represented a basis for the Commission’s assessment of Montenegro’s readiness to take up commitments arising from the EU membership. On 17 December 2010, the European Council to Montenegro granted Montenegro the status of EU candidate country.

On 29 June 2012, Montenegro officially began its EU negotiations.

Since 2007, the European Commission has regularly published annual reports on Montenegro’s progress. The latest report was published on 9 November 2016 (as of 2015, this report was renamed to the Report on Montenegro).

As a candidate country, Montenegro has been receiving financial support from the EU within the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). In the period 2007-2013 (IPA I), Montenegro had 235.2 million euros at its disposal, while for the period 2014-2020 (IPA II) 270.5 million euros was allocated for Montenegro. 

Diplomatic relations between Montenegro and the European Union are maintained through the Mission of Montenegro to the EU in Brussels, which has been operational since 2006, and the EU Delegation to Montenegro in Podgorica, which has started its work in November 2007.

Important dates in Montenegro’s accession process to the European Union:

Date

Event

21 May 2006

Independence of Montenegro voted for in a referendum

15 October 2007

Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SSA) signed between Montenegro and the EU

01 January 2008

Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related matters, Agreement on Visa Facilitation, and Agreement on Readmission entered into force

15 December 2008

Montenegro submitted its application for EU membership

22 July 2009

Montenegro received the Questionnaire of the European Commission

01 May 2010

Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SSA) entered into force

17 December 2010

The European Council granted Montenegro the status of EU candidate country

26 June 2012

The European Council confirmed the assessment of the European Commission on readiness of Montenegro to begin the accession negotiations 

29 June 2012

The beginning of the EU accession negotiations

18 December 2012

Chapter 25 - Science and research opened and provisionally closed

15 April 2013

Chapter 26 - Education and culture opened and provisionally closed 

June 2013

Screening process for all chapters completed

18 December 2013

Five chapters opened: 5 – Public procurement, 6 – Company law, 20 – Enterprise and industrial policy, 23 – Judiciary and fundamental rights, and 24 – Justice, freedom and security

31 March 2014

Two chapters opened: 4 – Free movement of capital and 10 – Information society and media

24 June 2014

Three chapters opened: 7 – Intellectual property law, 31 – Foreign, security and defence policy, and 32 – Financial control

16 December 2014

Four chapters opened: 18 – Statistics, 28 – Consumer and health protection, 29 – Customs union, and 33 – Financial and budgetary provisions

30 March 2015

Two chapters opened: 16 – Taxation and 30 – External relations

22 June 2015

Two chapters opened: 9 – Financial services and 21 – Trans-European networks

21 December 2015

Two chapters opened: 14 – Transport policy and 15 – Energy

30 June 2016

Two chapters opened: 12 – Food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy and 13 – Fisheries

13 December 2016

Two chapters opened: 11 – Agriculture and rural development and 19 – Social policy and employment