The tiny country of the south eastern Europe is an emerging destination for tourists world over
Montenegro, one of the most beautiful and emerging new destinations of the world, is a sovereign state in South Eastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the north- west, Serbia to the northeast, Kosovo to the east, and Albania in the south east.
It was founded on 03 Jun 2006 and has a population of 6,22,400 (2015) with a GDP of $4.250 billion USD (2016). Montenegro Capital city is Podgorica and Cetinje is designated as the Old Royal Capital. The country is having area of 13,810 km² (5,333 sq miles) with a density of 45/km2 (116.5/sq mi). The country’s present president is Filip Vujanović and prime minister Duško Marković. Its legislature is called Skupština.
After the breakup of yugoslavia in 1992, the republics of Serbia and Montenegro together established a federation as the Federal Republic of yugoslavia, although its status as the legal successor to yugoslavia was opposed by other former republics and denied by the United Nations; in 2003, it renamed itself Serbia and Montenegro. On the basis of an independence referendum held in 21 May 2006, Montenegro declared independence on 3 June.
Classified by the World Bank as an upper middle-income country, Montenegro is a member of the UN, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the Central European Free Trade Agreement and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. Montenegro is also a candidate negotiating to join the European Union and NATO.
On 2 December, 2015, Montenegro received an official invitation to join NATO, hereby it would be the 29th member country.
The status of the union between Montenegro and Serbia was decided by a referendum on Montenegrin independence on 21 May 2006. A total of 419,240 votes were cast, representing 86.5% of the total electorate; 230,661 votes (55.5%) were for independence and 185,002 votes (44.5%) were against. This narrowly surpassed the 55% threshold needed to validate the referendum under the rules set by the European Union. According to the electoral commission, the 55% threshold was passed by only 2,300 votes. Serbia, the member-states of the European Union, and the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council all recognised Montenegro’s independence.
On 3 June 2006, the Montenegrin Parliament declared the independence of Montenegro, formally confirming the result of the referendum. Serbia did not object to the declaration. On 12 July 2011, the Parliament of Montenegro passed the Law on the Status of the Descendants of the Petrović Njegoš Dynasty that rehabilitated the Royal House of Montenegro and recognized limited symbolic roles within the constitutional framework of the republic.
In 2015, the investigative journalists’ network OCCRP has named Montenegro’s long time President and Prime Minister Milo Đukanović ‘Person of the year in Organized Crime’. The extent of Đukanović’s corruption led to street demonstrations and calls for his removal. In October 2016, a coup was attempted by 20 people, including some Serbian and Russian nationalists; the coup was thwarted.
foreign relations of Montenegro
After the promulgation of the Declaration of Independence in the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro on 3 June 2006, following the independence referendum held on 21 May, the Government of the Republic of Monte- negro assumed the competences of defining and conducting the foreign policy of Montenegro as a subject of international law and a sovereign state. The implementation of this constitutional responsibility was vested in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was given the task of defining the foreign policy priorities and activities needed for their implementation. These activities are pursued in close cooperation with other state administration authorities, the President, the Speaker of the Parliament, and other relevant stakeholders.
Integration into the European Union is Montenegro’s strategic goal. This process will remain in the focus of Montenegrin foreign policy in the short term. The second strategic and equally important goal, but one attainable in a shorter time span, is joining NATO, which would guarantee stability and security for pursuing other strategic goals. Montenegro believes NATO integration would speed up EU integration.
Military of Montenegro
The military of Montenegro is a fully professional standing army under the Ministry of Defence and is composed of the Montenegrin Ground Army, the Montenegrin Navy, and the Montenegrin Air Force, along with Special Forces. Conscription was abolished in 2006. The military currently maintains a force of 1,920 active duty members. The bulk of its equipment and forces were inherited from the armed forces of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro; as Montenegro contained the entire coastline of the former union, it retained practically the entire naval force.
Montenegro is a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program and is an official candidate for full membership in the alliance. Montenegro applied for a Membership Action Plan on November 5, 2008, which was granted in December 2009. Montenegro is also a member of Adriatic Charter.
Montenegro was invited to join NATO on December 2, 2015 and is expected to be NATO’s 29th member in 2017. On May 19, 2016, NATO and Montenegro conducted a signing ceremony at NATO headquarters in Brussels for Montenegro’s member- ship invitation, despite Russia’s objections. The government plans to have the army participate in peacekeeping missions through the UN and NATO such as the International Security Assistance Force.
Economy of Montenegro
Montenegro uses the Euro as its national currency. The economy of Montenegro is mostly service-based and is in late transition to a market economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, the nominal GDP of Montenegro was $4.114 billion in 2009. The GDP PPP for 2009 was $6.590 billion, or $10,527 per capita. According to eurostat data, the Montenegrin GDP per capita stood at 41% of the eU average in 2010. The Central Bank of Montenegro is not part of the euro system but the country is euroized using the euro unilaterally as its currency.
GDP grew at 10.7% in 2007 and 7.5% in 2008. The country entered a recession in 2008 as a part of the global recession, with GDP contracting by 4%. However, Montenegro remained a target for foreign investment, the only country in the Balkans to increase its amount of direct foreign investment. The country is expected to exit the recession in mid-2010, with GDP growth predicted at around 0.5%. However, the significant dependence of the Montenegrin economy on foreign direct investment leaves it susceptible to external shocks and a high export/import trade deficit.
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 tour- ism) in January 2006.
In May 2013, the Montenegrin Government raised the higher level VAT rate to 19%. Podgorica Airport.
In 2007, the service sector made up for 72.4% of GDP, with industry and agriculture making up the rest at 17.6% and 10%, respectively. There are 50,000 farming households in Montenegro that rely on agriculture to fill the family budget.
Montenegro Airlines was founded on 24th October 1994. The company is licensed to operate scheduled domestic and international passenger transport and charter operations, as well as for carriage of cargo and mail. Over the years, as the company, its fleet and the number of employees has grown, Montenegro Airlines has developed into a modern institution, operating in accordance with modern global standards. This assertion is backed up by our satisfied loyal passengers and numerous certificates and awards of merit.
Today, Montenegro Airlines operates scheduled flights to Zurich, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Rome, Paris, Ljubljana, Vienna, Belgrade, Moscow, Lyon, Copenhagen, London and Saint Petersburg successfully establishing an air bridge between Montenegro and Europe.
In addition to scheduled flights, we also operate charters to many destinations, including: Helsinki, Tel Aviv, Bratislava, Graz, Nantes, Teheran, Bari, Naples and others. The Montenegro Airlines fleet consists of 5 modern aircrafts; of which three of them type Embraer 195 and two other are Fokker 100. Future development plans for Montenegro Airlines include further modernization and enlargement of our fleet with more Embraer 195s. The company is committed to conquering new markets, opening new routes, increasing flights to current destinations and increasing the number of passengers served.
The Montenegrin road infrastructure is not yet at Western European standards. Despite an extensive road network, no roads are built to full motorway standards. Construction of new motorways is considered a national priority, as they are important for uniform regional economic development and the development of Montenegro as an attractive tourist destination.
The backbone of the Montenegrin rail network is the Belgrade – Bar railway. This railway intersects with Nikšić Tirana (Albania) at Podgorica; however, it is not used for passenger service. Montenegro has two international airports, Podgorica Airport and Tivat Airport. The two airports served 1.1 million passengers in 2008. Montenegro Air- lines is the flag carrier of Montenegro.
The Port of Bar is Montenegro’s main seaport. Initially built in 1906, the port was almost completely destroyed during World War II, with reconstruction beginning in 1950. Today, it is equipped to handle over 5 million tons of cargo annually, though the breakup of the former yugoslavia and the size of the Montenegrin industrial sector have resulted in the port operating at a loss and well below capacity for several years. The reconstruction of the Belgrade-Bar railway and the proposed Belgrade-Bar motorway are expected to bring the port back up to capacity.
Montenegro has both a picturesque coast and a mountainous northern region. The country was a well-known tourist spot in the 1980s. yet, the yugoslav wars that were fought in neighbouring countries during the 1990s crippled the tourist industry and damaged the image of Montenegro for years. With a total of 1.6 million visitors, the nation is the 36th (out of 47 countries) most visited country in Europe.
The Montenegrin Adriatic coast is 295 km (183 mi) long, with 72 km (45 mi) of beaches, and with many well preserved ancient old towns. National Geographic Traveller (edited once in decade) features Montenegro among the "50 Places of a Lifetime", and Montenegrin seaside Sveti Stefan was used as the cover for the magazine. The coast region of Montenegro is considered one of the great new "discoveries" among world tourists. In January 2010, The New york Times ranked the Ulcinj South Coast region of Montenegro, including Velika Plaza, Ada Bojana, and the Hotel Mediteran of Ulcinj, as among the "Top 31 Places to Go in 2010" as part of a worldwide ranking of tourism destinations.
Montenegro was also listed in ‘10 Top Hot Spots of 2009’; to visit by yahoo Travel, describing it as ‘Currently ranked as the second fastest growing tourism market in the world (falling just behind China)’. It is listed every year by prestigious tourism guides like Lonely Planet as top tourist destination along with Greece, Spain and other world touristic places.
It was not until the 2000s that the tourism industry began to recover, and the country has since experienced a high rate of growth in the number of visits and overnight stays. The Government of Montenegro has set the development of Montenegro as an elite tourist destination a top priority. It is a national strategy to make tourism a major contributor to the Montenegrin economy. A number of steps were taken to attract foreign investors. Some large projects are already under way, such as Porto Montenegro, while other locations, like Jaz Beach, Buljarica, Velika Plaža and Ada Bojana, have perhaps the greatest potential to attract future investments and become premium tourist spots on the Adriatic.
Education in Montenegro
Education in Montenegro is regulated by the Montenegrin Ministry of Education and Science. Education starts in either pre schools or elementary schools. Children enroll in elementary schools (Montenegrin: Osnovna škola) at the age of 6; it lasts 9 years. The students may continue their secondary education (Montenegrin: Sred- nja škola), which lasts 4 years (3 years for trade schools) and ends with graduation (Matura). Higher education lasts with a certain first degree after 3 to 6 years. There is one public University (University of Montenegro) and two private (Mediterranean University and University of Donja Gorica).
Elementary education in Montenegro is free and compulsory for all the children between the ages of 6 and 14. Secondary schools are divided in three types, and children attend one depending on choice and primary school grades: Gymnasium (Gimnazija / Гимназиjа), lasts for four years and offers a general, broad education. It is a preparatory school for university, and hence the most academic and prestigious.
Professional schools (Stručna škola / Стручна школа) last for three or four years and specialize students in certain fields which may result in their attending college; professional schools offer a relatively broad education. Vocational schools (Zanatska škola / Занатска школа) last for three years and focus on vocational education (e.g., joinery, plumbing, and mechanics) without an option of continuing education after three years.
Tertiary level institutions are divided into ‘Higher education’; (Više obrazovanje) and ‘High education’ (Visoko obrazovanje) level faculties. Colleges (Fakultet) and art academies (akademija umjetnosti) last between 4 and 6 years (one year is two semesters long) and award diplomas equivalent to a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree.
Post-graduate education (post diplomske studije) is offered after tertiary level and offers Masters’ degrees, PhD and specialization education.
Montenegrin cuisine is a result of Montenegro’s long history. It is a variation of Mediterranean and Oriental. The most influence is from Italy, Turkey, Byzantine empire Greece, and as well from Hungary. Montenegrin cuisine also varies geographically; the cuisine in the coastal area differs from the one in the northern highland region. The coastal area is traditionally a representative of Mediterranean cuisine, with seafood being a common dish, while the northern represents more the Oriental.
Media of Montenegro
The media of Montenegro refers to mass media outlets based in Montenegro. Television, magazines, and newspapers are all operated by both state-owned and for-profit corporations which depend on advertising, subscription, and other sales-related revenues. The Constitution of Montenegro guarantees freedom of speech. As a country in transition, Montenegro’s media system is under transformation.
State-funded national radio-TV broadcaster operates 2 terrestrial TV networks, 1 satellite TV channel, and 2 radio networks; 4 public TV stations and some 20 private TV stations; 14 lo- cal public radio stations and more than 40 private radio stations (2007)
The person instrumental in shaping India Montenegro ties is Dr Janice Darbari, a Delhi-based author has been selected for the position of Honorary Consul General for Republic of Montenegro in New Delhi.
Darbari, who also contested the Lok Sabha polls in 1999 and 2004 from South Delhi, was appointed as the Special Representative – Emissary of the Republic of Macedonia to India in 1993. She also played key role in establishing formal diplomatic relationship with Former yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia (FyRO) in 1995.
The Republic of Montenegro hon- oured her with the designation of Honorary Consul General Head of Mission for the Republic of Montenegro in India in 2007. After that the Indian government on its part recognized Darbari as the Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Montenegro in New Delhi with immediate effect from January 1, 2008.
-BY OPINION EXPRESS