Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic has made formal presentation for Montenegro to join the European Union. The country of 650,000 people on the Adriatic Sea put in its bid to France, the presiding nation of the EU until the end of this year.
Montenegro’s move is expected to encourage Balkan neighbours Albania and Serbia to file EU applications. Since the turmoil of the 1990s, several Balkan countries have applied for EU membership. Slovenia is now in the bloc; Croatia looks like the next in line. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said Montenegro’s candidacy reflected its attachment to fundamental European values. After an independence referendum the Republic of Montenegro dissolved its union with Serbia in 2006 and declared independence. Since then, the former Yugoslav republic has posted economic growth averaging eight percent per year. Last week Brussels said Montenegro had made progress on reforms but still had further to go.