One of the youngest countries in Europe, Montenegro is leader European integration, with open negotiations on membership in EU, in the framework of new approach in this process (chapters 23 and 24 opened at the very beginning). Montenegro started its activities in this challenging field with full responsability and readiness, which resulted in opening of overall 7 out of 33 chapters, with 2 chapters already temporarily closed – Chapter 25, Science and Research (December 18th 2012.) and Chapter 26 – Education and Culture (April 15th 2013.).
This is a result of a decade long work of state institutions. Montenegro started its way to European integration, with a full membership to this organization as its primary goal, recently after its independence in 2006, placing it on the top of its foreign policy agenda. The European perspective is confirmed on European Council in 2006, and on the basis of the Decision of the Council of ministers from September 15th 2006 regular political dialogue between the EU and Montenegro is established.
Signing the Agreement on stabilization and association by then Prime Minister Mr. Željko Šturanović, on October 15th 2007, Montenegro joined first agreement with the European Union. After the ratification in Montenegrin Parliament, as well as all the EU members, the Agreement on stabilization and association came to force on May 1st 2010.
Decision of the Council of ministers to abolish visas for Montenegrin citizens from November 30th 2009, which came to force on December 19th same year, represents major step on European way of Montenegro. Montenegro fulfills its obligations deriving from visa liberation regime in a responsible manner. With the aim of acquiring candidate country status in the European Union, Prime Minister Milo Đukanović submitted request for membership to the French president, Nicholas Sarkozy, on December 15th 2008. In order for the European Commission to deliver the opinion on readiness of Montenegro to take up obligations deriving from membership, the Questionnaire is delivered to the relevant Montenerin institutions on July 22nd, 2009. Montenegrin administration has succesfully finished the procedure of filling the questionnaire with answers to more than 4000 questions from all fields of the acquis communitaire, which were submitted to the Brussels on December 9th 2009. by Prime Minister, Milo Đukanović. Montenegro acquired the candidate country status on December 17th 2010.
After the European Commission recorded in its yearly report that Montenegro made progress in fulfilling political criteria and establishing functional market economy, in May 2012, Commission issued a recommendation for opening of negotiations with Montenegro. The official beginning of the negotiations was the first Intergovernmental conference between Montenegro and the EU (June 29th 2012.) State delegation of Montenegro was headed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Milan Roćen.
Montenegrin government appointed ambassador Aleksandar Andrija Pejović as Chief Negotiator for negotiations with the EU. Establishment of Montenegrin negotiation structure was succesffully finished during the 2013, through forming of the 33 work groups for preparation of negotiations and appointment of 10 negotiators. Montenegro has broad negotiating platform and it is the first country which negotiating structure includes the representatives of the civil society and the Parliament (out of nearly 1300 members of the work groups, civil sector takes up almost one-third).
The first phase of negotiating process was successfully finished at the last, 64th meeting of analytic review of harmonization of the national legislation with the acquis communitaire, June 27th 2013.
At the Intergovernmental Conference, held on December 18th 2013, Montenegro started negotiations for 5 chapters – 5 - Public Procurement, 6 – Company Law, 20 - Enterprise and Industrial Policy. On this occasion, the state delegation, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Lukšić, PhD, and consisted of Deputy Prime Minister Duško Marković and Minister for the Interior, Raško Konjević, opened Chapter 23 – Judicial Reform and Human Rights and Chapter 24 – Justice, Freedom and Security, thus fulfilling the obligations from the new EU approach to the rule of law.
Since joining the Partnership for Peace, at the NATO summit un Riga in 2006, Montenegro is fully dedicated to fulfilling the conditions for NATO membership. As a result of the efforts in implementation of this key foreign policy priority, Montenegro has started conducting Membership Action Plan in 2009. Currently, Montenegro is successfully conducting IV šhase of MAP, after presenting IV Annual National Program (ANP) on October 28th 2013. in Brussels. Also, as country that supports the efforts in establishing the stability in Afghanistan, Montenegro is the 44. non-NATO country contributor in ISAF mission in Afghanistan, by Northatlantic Council of NATO (NAC), on February 23rd 2010. Along with the engagement in the ISAF mission, representatives of the Montenegrin army forces are also engaged in two international peace missions: UN mission in Liberia – UNMIL (currently two Montenegrin army officers), EU NAVFOR ATALANTA in Aden Bay, maritime EU operation, while police force members are included in UN mission in Cyprus UNFICYP. Currently, the preparations are being made for one military officer to join the mission EUTM in Mali. Having in mind the significance of the regional cooperation, Montenegro is highly active in regional safety plan, particularly in the framework of the American-Adriatic Charter (A5).
Montenegro is fully dedicated to the fulfilling of the conditions to join the Alliance, particularly having in mind the expectations of the NATO summit which will be held on September 4th and September 5th 2014. in Great Britain. The Government is focused on the rule of law, reforms of the safety sector and defence sector, as well as raising the public support to the Euroatlantic integration. Council for the Partnership for Peace is renamed to Council for the NATO membership, headed by the Prime Minister Milo Đukanović. Prime Minister's advisor for foreign policy, Nebojša Kaluđerović, is appointed as the National coordinator for NATO.
Regional cooperation is one of the key foreign policy priorities. Montenegro is member to all the regional political, economic, security and other initiatives, recognized by Brussels, Washington and other key international addresses, as an important pillar of stability in Western Balkans and successful European story.At the bilateral level, along with the cooperation with neighbors and EU countries, Montenegro keeps building good relations with the most powerful states in the world – USA, Russia, China. Montenegro also dedicates attention to cooperation with India, Japan, Australia, Brazil etc. However, realtions with small countries are of particular importance. The experience of small economies and small successful administrations are precious for Montenegro in its process of reform and institution building, while approaching the EU and NATO. Montenegro is also very successful at the multilateral level. Montenegro is member to all globally significant political and financial organizations and institutions.