Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro
After restoration of independence on May 21, 2016, Montenegro has taken a clear foreign policy course that, as the time behind us confirmed, was the driving force of democratic breakthroughs, what resulted in overall reforms in the society and the international position of our state that we enjoy today. We are about to complete the procedure to join the NATO as a full-fledged member, we have been fulfilling the European Integration agenda in accordance with the plans, and we have no open issues with the neighboring countries.
Although a small state with a small number of population, we play a prominent role in the regional context and we are more often recognized as a factor of stability and the Western Balkans region as an inseparable part of Europe’s future, which is reflected also through the Berlin process that through economic leads also to the much-needed political stability.
In all these processes, the role of Romania that supported us at every step, exactly as we expected – friendly and without compromise, is immeasurable.
Relations between Montenegro and Romania can be undoubtedly described in three maybe most interesting dimensions for the reader – geo-political characteristics, demographic and cultural similarity and, last but not least, extremely fruitful mutual relations that characterized the decade after the renewal of Montenegrin independence.
Geographically and demographically speaking, the two countries are not characterized by a large number of similarities, particularly in terms of territory and population. The exception here is perhaps the fact that both countries have access to the sea, which certainly provides certain geo-strategic and economic advantages to both of them. As regards the political system, although parliamentary system is represented in Montenegro, as well as in Romania, citizens elect the President of the state in direct elections. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, both countries have also gone through a painstaking process of democratic transition, where Romania has certainly had a much more challenging task when it comes to consolidating the democratic system, which was successfully brought to an end. Romania is today one of the models and one of the most important partners of Montenegro in terms of the achievement of its internal and foreign policy objectives.
In addition, we can say that, proportionally speaking, both countries make equal efforts in terms of their cultural heritage, and in this respect one can draw a parallel between the significance of the Romanian Cultural Center Sibiu – the capital of Transylvania, and Montenegrin cities of Kotor and Cetinje, the local historical and cultural centers.
Bilateral and multilateral cooperation are well developed and comprehensive, and, although there is room for their further development (especially in the field of defense as well as in the field of economy, tourism, and health care), they are certainly a confirmation of absolute mutual sympathy and good intentions from which they arise and which have been strengthening at the same time. We should not omit to mention here the expert and political support of friendly Romania in the context of European integration of Montenegro, nor wholehearted support in terms of its membership in the NATO alliance. Political contacts at the highest level are relatively frequent and not limited only to mere expressions of good will, a good example of which is the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Parliament of Montenegro and Romanian Parliament, in December 2015, on the occasion of the visit of the President of the House of Representatives to Podgorica.
In the end, what is most important, both countries aspire to stability in Europe and each of them in their own way contributes to its strengthening. In addition, they are looking for safety and security through the Euro-Atlantic structures and, primarily, through good neighborly relations, which are a precondition for any further progress of individual countries as well as the organizations, which are their integral part.