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  • Author: Krševan Antun Dujmović
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: The general elections held in Montenegro on 30 August 2020 has once again drawn the attention of the Western Balkans to the smallest, measured by population, among seven nations that emerged after the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This attention is due to a number of factors. Back in May of 2018 Montenegro has opened the last of the thirty-three chapters in the negotiation process with the European Union, making it a harbinger among Western Balkans nations on the path to Euro-Atlantic integrations, especially as the country had joined the North Atlantic Alliance in June 2017. Other countries in the region linger behind Montenegro – Albania and North Macedonia, both NATO members, are still waiting for the opening of the negotiations with the EU. Serbia has no intention to join NATO, and in spite of EU negotiations and ambitions, sees itself in balance between the West on one side, and Russia and China on the other. Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina are far from NATO membership and have merely the status of potential candidates for EU membership. This is why all eyes of the region and of the advocates of continuation of EU enragement policy are on Montenegro. The second factor are strong historical ties of this country on the Adriatic coast with its northern neighbor Serbia. Serbian minority makes up to one third of Montenegro’s population, and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC- Srpska Pravoslavna Crkva) plays a vital role in Montenegrin society, as this country does not have its own autocephalous Church recognized by other Orthodox Churches in Eastern Christendom. This gives Serbia and the SPC a significant clout within borders of its southern neighbor. The third factor is the involvement of global players in this country. The United Sates has advocated strongly to include Montenegro in NATO in order to stretch the line of NATO’s southern flank in the Northern Mediterranean from the Iberian Peninsula to the west to Greece and Turkey in the east. On the other hand, Montenegro’s authorities accused Russia of meddling in the general elections held in October 2016 when the alleged coup d’état occurred on the election day. Many feared a similar scenario on the eve of 30 August 2020 election, fathoming the outbreak of riots and violence that could ignite the powder keg in the Balkans. Although none of these happened, Montenegro is not ceasing to be the subject of the geopolitical chessboard. Considering these factors, the attention of neighbors to the events in this Balkan country is understandable. The unfolding situation after the elections in which the government of Montenegro is backed by a very thin majority in the Parliament (Skupština Crne Gore) and with no clear vision nor strategy for further political and economic development of the country, is only fueling the wariness of its neighbors and of Brussels about Montenegro as a success story.
  • Topic: NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Elections, European Union, Transition
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans, Montenegro
  • Author: Izabela Albrycht
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Launched in 2016, the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) is designed to build cooperation and interconnectivity between 12 CEE countries through new cross-border infrastructures. The aim of the region’s political leaders is to leverage the economic growth to the extent in which it Kitarović, President of the Republic of Croatia at the Third 3SI Summit in 2018. She added: “substantial projects, such as energy supply corridors and communications infrastructure, as well as modernization of our economies through an extension of transportation links, will allow for the full integration of Central can contribute to the EU’s greater prosperity and at the same time tighten transatlantic bonds. Let us wish the 3S region yet another good year in which the 3S countries will see the materialisation of hopes”, stated Kolinda Grabar- Europe with the remainder of our continent. It will annul the artificial, but still lingering division between old and new, West and East Europe and it will most definitely contribute to a higher level of prosperity of Europe as a whole.”
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans, Croatia, Central Europe
  • Author: Krševan Antun Dujmović
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: As Serbia braces itself for the presidential election on 2nd April 2017, the international community �inds itself puzzled with the prospect of future political orientation of this Balkan country. The biggest republic of ex-Yugoslavia, Serbia still bears the burden of the wars in the nineties, unde�ined relations with Kosovo and NATO bombing of 1999, due to which the country is still somewhat cautious toward Euro-Atlantic integration and the United States. It seems that Serbia seeks to join the European Union (EU), and at the same time to foment its relation with its traditional ally, the Russian Federation. In that respect, the current trends of foreign policy in Serbia are also visible in other Balkan countries, namely Macedonia and Montenegro, which like Serbia have strong links to their big Orthodox patron in the East, while striving to make progress on the path to the EU. This dichotomy between pro-European and pro-Russian forces in Serbia was exacerbated to a new level with Brexit and stalemate in the EU enlargement process, growing Russian in�luence in the region and expectations in Serbia that the newly inaugurated US president Donald Trump will bring a thaw in relations with Russia and allow a regionally more dominant Serbia, while curbing ambitions of Kosovar Albanians. This dichotomy has created a division in the country torn between its Western and Eastern ambitions that is visible in many aspects of Serbian society, candidates bare hallmark, or in Obradović, the leader of the Serbian Movement Dveri (Srpski pokret Dveri) is a clear example of a pro-Russian politician in Serbia, while independent candidate SašaJanković represents the voice of a civil and pro-European Serbia. The rest of the presidential candidates are positioned on a wide spectrum dividing Obradović and Janković, thus contributing to the rather short but at the same time very electri�ied presidential campaign.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Elections, Europe Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Serbia, Balkans