The State Union “Serbia and Montenegro”, in place since 2003, was finally dissolved following a declaration of independence by Montenegro’s parliament on 3. June 2006. Before that step was taken, more than half of Montenegro’s population had voted for independence at a referendum held on 21. May 2006. Relations with the former Union partner Serbia came under pressure but have been normalizing since.
Montenegro’s independence was recognized by the Member States of the European Union on 12. June 2006. Austria established diplomatic relations with the young State when opening an embassy in Podgorica on 12. June 2006.
Since its independence, Montenegro has dedicated considerable efforts not only to building up its State structures and establishing neighbourly relations but also to enhancing its Euro-Atlantic integration in the European Union and NATO. On this basis, Milo Djukanovic was elected for the sixth time in a row as Prime Minister of Montenegro when early parliamentary elections were held in March 2009. Montenegro’s rapprochement to the European Union is well on track: on 15. October 2007, a Stabilisation and Association Agreement was signed. Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements entered into force in January 2008 and since 19. December 2009, Montenegrins are entirely exempted from the short term visa requirement. On the 15th of December 2008 Montenegro forwarded its EU accession application. In December 2010 Montenegro was awarded EU candidate status. Concrete Accession discussions will begin once Montenegro shows improvements in certain reform-areas.
In December 2009, Montenegro was also offered a Membership-Action-Plan (MAP) by NATO.