Tuesday, December 16, 2008
On Monday, December 15, Montenegro filed its official application to become the 28th member of the European Union (EU). Montenegro hopes to gain candidate country status sometime in 2009. Montenegro was part of the former Yugoslavia, but declared its independence in 2006. It then signed a Stabilisation and Accession Agreement (SSA) with the EU in 2007 in preparation for filing its membership application. Before Montenegro can join the EU, however, it must work on further reforms to its public administration and judicial systems and on reducing corruption. Approval of its membership application requires an unanimous affirmative vote by the existing members of the EU.
With respect to the EU membership status of other former Yugoslav states, Croatia and Macedonia have had their membership applications pending since 2004 and 2005, respectively. Croatia began its accession talks with the EU in 2005 and hopes to conclude them in 2009. Macedonia has yet to begin its accesssion talks. Slovenia is the only former Yugoslav state to have successfully joined the EU, which occurred in 2004.