Monday, June 17, 2013

Montenegro

In a couple of weeks I'm headed off to spend a couple of days in Dubrovnik, Croatia, with a day trip to Montenegro.  Of all the countries that used to be a part of Yugoslavia, this is the only one I have yet to visit.  So here's a little bit about Crna Gora.


Montenegro, "Black Mountain", sits on the Adriatic Sea and is bordered by Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania.  It is a little smaller than Connecticut with a population just over 653,000 people.  The capital and largest city is Podgorica.

Montenegro was under the Ottoman Empire but maintained a level of autonomy.  A series of bishop princes ruled the nation as a theocracy from the 16th to 19th centuries.  In 1878, Montenegro was internationally recognized as an independent sovereign principality.  Montenegro fought with the Allies in WWI and afterwards it was absorbed by the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes which later became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.  After WWII, it became one of the six republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

When Yugoslavia broke up in 1992, Montenegro joined Serbia to become the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  Then in 2003, it became part of a decentralized state union called Serbia and Montenegro.  In 2006, Montenegro declared its independence.  Today, the country is a republic with a president and a prime minister.  It is a candidate to join both the European Union and NATO.

The population is 43% Montenegrin, 32% Serbian, 8% Bosniak, 5% Albanian with everyone else making up the remaining 12%.

Montenegrin Alphabets
The official language is Montenegrin which is basically the same thing as Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian.  Just like Serbo-Croatian, the language has both Latin and Cyrillic alphabets.  The Latin script is becoming the most popular.  I guess it's more difficult to Google with a Cyrillic script.

The country doesn't have its own currency.  In 1996, the government wanted to avoid hyperinflation so it adopted the German Deutschmark as its official currency.  When Germany switched to the Euro in 2002, so did Montenegro.  However, it is not a part of the Eurozone and does not mint its own coins.

Here's the kicker.  Montenegro is a candidate to join the EU and will be required to eventually adopt the Euro as its official currency.  However, before it does, it must maintain a low inflation rate, a budget deficit under 3% of its GDP and a gross government dept to GDP ratio less than 60%.  The country also has to have a stable currency exchange rate with the Euro for a specific period of time.  So, to join the EU, Montenegro may have to quit using the Euro, adopt a new currency and then officially switch to the Euro.

For those who know Montenegro from the 2006 James Bond movie Casino Royale, think again.  While part of the movie was set in Montenegro, all of the filming took place in Czech Republic.

Here's a Rick Steves video I found out on YouTube about Montenegro.

No comments:

Post a Comment