Montenegro is on its way to EU membership by being the fastest growing economy in the Balkans and the social reforms it provides. The country is expected to become a full member of the European Union by 2021 at the latest as a result of the negotiations for harmonization with EU criteria. Montenegro declared its independence in 2006 and applied for membership to the European Union on 15 December 2008.
The European Commission and the Council of the Balkans have been negotiating extensively to ensure that not only Montenegro but also all Balkan countries receive EU membership as soon as possible. The EU supports the completion of these procedures as soon as possible in order to prevent the Balkans from entering a period of instability as in the 90s. The majority of the Montenegrin population (76%) supports the country's EU membership.
The next member of the European Union will certainly be Montenegro.
The reforms of the Montenegrin government in the last decade, foreign direct investments, the growing construction and tourism sectors in general contributed to the further acceleration of Montenegro's EU accession process. As also stated in the World Bank and IMF reports, Montenegro has been working hard to provide better opportunities for its citizens in economic and social fields.
When Will Montenegro Will Enter the EU
Montenegro is expected to become an EU member by 2021 at the latest. After this date, many things will change in the country. The most important of these is the current residence and work permits laws.
Montenegro has the most flexible immigration laws in the world compared to all developed countries. No distinction is made between the foreign investors and the Montenegrin citizens before the law. Apart from this, it is possible to obtain a residence and work permit in Montenegro without any hassles in 21 days either by establishing a company or buying real estate.
European Union Criteria
In order to ensure social development according to the criteria of the European Union, it is envisioned that the public revenues obtained should be distributed equally across the society. Economic growth cannot be perceived as development if it is only realized by the prosperity of one segment while another segment is barely living under the hunger limit. On the other hand, if an individual with low income can benefit equally from services such as education and health then this is recorded as positive growth.
Human development conditions can be described with the rights to a healthy life, the power to be able to compensate for basic needs such as food and drink, and the easy access to information. The criteria for human development are framed around these fundamental rights for the EU. Since 1990, the Human Development Report has been published by the United Nations on a yearly basis. The European Union evaluates the countries which will be given new membership around these criteria in terms of social and economic aspects. EU gives notifications through negotiations and makes comparisons according to the indices it has established within the country in order to reach the required level.
Montenegro ranked 54th according to the High Human Development Index and became the most progressed country in the Balkans.
Balkan countries approved the Copenhagen Criteria, cooperation with the International Criminal Court and the IOS obligations in the evaluation of membership applications within the framework of the Salzburg Declaration adopted in 2006. These criteria generally cover topics such as national law, human rights, minority rights and the free economy. The focus is on stability rather than democratization in the policies of the European Union towards the Balkans.
Main requirements for European membership:
• Sufficient number of small and medium-sized companies
• Infrastructure improvements and required capital allocation to energy, telecommunications, and transportation
• Capability to adapt to technology
• Macroeconomic stability
• To comply with the decisions and laws of the European Union
• To adopt the objectives of the European Union’s economic coalition
The European Union helps candidate countries such as Montenegro on five different issues:
• Rural development
• Territorial development
• Human resources development
• Cross-border union
• Conversion and institution building
Foreigners who immigrate or get a residence permit before Montenegro becomes an EU member can benefit from this once in a lifetime opportunity. In the near future, when Montenegro becomes an EU member, it may not be possible to obtain a residence and work permit under the current favorable conditions. For this reason, the best time to get a residence and work permit in Montenegro is the period before the country is granted the right to join the EU.
After Montenegro becomes an EU member, its citizens will be able to stay in Europe indefinitely without any Schengen visa requirement.
What EU Membership Will Bring to Montenegro
The conditions set out in the Copenhagen criteria generally aim to establish conditions for EU members to live as a full social and economic community. It is a prerequisite to make the community legislation effective and implemented through administrative and judicial structures. One of the main objectives is to ensure that the public sphere and resources are shared equally by all citizens for the peace, welfare, health and development of society. Various mechanisms have been developed in order to fulfill these basic criteria in economic and social terms. Negotiations for candidate countries to fully comply with these requirements are to ensure and maintain the general standard in EU countries.
When Montenegro becomes a member of the European Union, it shall have equal rights with all other members. The chapters for EU membership include:
1. Free movement of goods
2. Free movement of persons
3. Freedom to serve
4. Free Movement of Capital
5. Company Laws
6. Chapter 8: Competition policy
9. Transportation policy
11. Economic and monetary union
13. Social Policy and Employment
15. Industrial policy
17. Science - Research & Development
18. Education and Training
19. Telecom and information technologies
20. Cultural policies
21. Regional policies
23. Consumer rights
24. Justice cooperation
25. Customs unions
26. Foreign economic relations
27. Common security policy
28. Financial Control
29. Finance and budget
Montenegro fulfilled most of the chapters mentioned. There are no major obstacles for its EU membership in the near future, provided that the country proceeds with the implementation of set reforms.
Montenegro, which is currently operates in the currency of the Euro, has high standards that are equivalent to EU countries in many aspects. The country's educational, social and health services are highly developed. Health tourism has also progressed in recent years due to advanced health services throughout the country. Montenegro has facilitated further acceleration of the EU process with its NATO membership.