Information about Montenegro
The use of the name Crna Gora or Black Mountain (Montenegro) began in the 13th century in reference to a highland region in the Serbian province of Zeta. The later medieval state of Zeta maintained its existence until 1496 when Montenegro finally fell under Ottoman rule. Over subsequent centuries Montenegro managed to maintain a level of autonomy within the Ottoman Empire. From the 16th to 19th centuries, Montenegro was a theocracy ruled by a series of bishop princes; in 1852, it transformed into a secular principality. Montenegro was recognized as an independent sovereign principality at the Congress of Berlin in 1878. After World War I, during which Montenegro fought on the side of the Allies, Montenegro was absorbed by the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929; at the conclusion of World War II, it became a constituent republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. When the latter dissolved in 1992, Montenegro federated with Serbia, creating the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and, after 2003, shifting to a looser State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. In May 2006, Montenegro invoked its right under the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro to hold a referendum on independence from the state union. The vote for severing ties with Serbia barely exceeded 55% - the threshold set by the EU - allowing Montenegro to formally restore its independence on 3 June 2006.
Montenegro's economy is slowly transitioning to a market system, but the state sector remains large and additional institutional changes are needed. The economy relies heavily on foreign tourism and the export of refined metals. Unprofitable state-owned enterprises, especially the Podgorica Aluminum Kombine, the country’s largest exporter, weigh heavily on public finances. During the MILOSEVIC era, Montenegro severed its economy from Serbia, maintained its own central bank, adopted the Deutsche Mark, then shifted to the euro - rather than the Yugoslav dinar - as official currency, collected customs tariffs, and managed its own budget. The 2006 dissolution of the loose political union between Serbia and Montenegro led to separate memberships in several international financial institutions, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In January 2007, Montenegro joined the World Bank and IMF. Montenegro became the 156th member of World Trade Organization in December 2011. The European Council (EC) granted candidate country status to Montenegro at the December 2010 session. 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. Unemployment and disparities in regional development, especially in the north, remain key political and economic problems. The global financial crisis had a significant negative impact on the economy, due to a credit crunch, a decline in the real estate sector, and a fall in aluminum exports. The Government of Montenegro increased value added tax (VAT) from 17% in 2012 to 19% in 2013 and raised income tax rates from 9% to 15% for those earning over €480 a month. In 2013, the government also retrenched by freezing pensions and limiting salary increases for public enterprises and members of the parliament.
Issues in Montenegro
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin):
6,967 (Kosovo) (2013)