France and Montenegro
In the new landscape of an independent Montenegro since 3 June 2006, on 1 January 2007 a fully-fledged Embassy took over from the former Embassy Office.
Relations between France and Montenegro are limited, but steady. On 15 December 2008, the President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, met the Montenegrin Prime Minister, Milo Ðukanovic. This was the first meeting at that level since Montenegro’s independence in 2006. The Montenegrin Foreign Minister, Milan Rocen, met his French counterpart, Alain Juppé, in Paris on 26 October 2011. The Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Igor Lukšic, was received twice in Paris, on 14 March (by the Minister) and 24 June 2013 (by the Minister Delegate for European Affairs).
On 25 July 2013, President François Hollande travelled to the Brdo Regional Summit in Slovenia and met with President Vujanovic. On that occasion, the President stressed France’s will to play a more active role in the region, both politically and economically. Following that, the Minister of Foreign Affairs appointed Mr Alain Richard, Senator and Former Defence Minister, as Special Representative for the Balkans.
Mr Repentin, Minister Delegate for European Affairs, travelled to Montenegro on 2 September 2013. Mr Duško Markovic, Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, visited France on 9-10 October. On that occasion, he was received on 9 October by Mr Thierry Repentin, Minister Delegate for European Affairs, and on 10 October by Ms Christiane Taubira, Minister for Justice, with whom he signed a joint declaration on French-Montenegrin cooperation in the area of justice. The Defence Minister, Ms Milica Pejanovic, was received by Mr Le Drian on 9 May. The Interior Minister, Mr Raško Konjevic, was received by Mr Cazeneuve on 23 September 2014. Mr Aleksandar Pejovic, State Secretary for European Integration and Chief Negotiator for Montenegro’s Accession to EU, was received on 26 November 2014, and again on 1 June 2016, by Mr Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs.
On 10 December 2014, the President of the French Republic received Mr Milo Ðukanovic while he was on an official visit to France. The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Igor Lukšic, was received in Paris on 1 June 2015 by Mr Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs. On 4 July 2016, Montenegro, whose delegation was led by Prime Minister Ðukanovic, took part in the Paris Western Balkans Summit.
France’s action in Montenegro is mainly aimed at supporting the European integration process through action to support renewed administrative capacity-building and implementing structural reforms while at the same time teaching French to government officials and the elite. Our cooperation was formalized via a bilateral roadmap signed on 18 December 2009, listing the priorities of our action. As part of the “new approach” to EU membership negotiations (central role of chapters 23 and 24 on the rule of law), a French international technical expert was seconded by the Quai d’Orsay to the Montenegrin Interior Ministry to help it implement Chapter 24 (“Justice, Freedom and Security”). He took up his post on 1 October 2014.
Montenegro’s membership (with the status of observer) of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF), following the 13th Francophony Summit in Montreux (Switzerland) in October 2010, increased the prospects of French being used for diplomacy and within the Montenegrin government. In this regard, on 12 May 2011 in Podgorica, the IOF and Montenegro signed a memorandum on implementing a French-language training programme within the Montenegrin government, carried out in partnership with the Belgian French-speaking community, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and France. Furthermore, on 28 June 2011, the Ambassador signed an administrative arrangement with the Montenegrin Education Minister to promote French teaching in the school and university systems.
The inauguration of the Institut français (former cultural centre) in Montenegro on 4 July 2011 in its new city-centre premises highlighted this new impetus for our work in Montenegro.
On 17 December 2013, the archives of the exiled Montenegrin government (1916-1920) which had been in France’s possession, were handed over to the Montenegrin Culture Minister by the French Ambassador, on behalf of the French government. This ceremony was strongly symbolic. Our Montenegrin partners will thus be able to add to their archives and gain a greater historical insight into the period which saw the fall of the Kingdom of Montenegro at the end of World War I.
Bilateral economic relations are limited but there are opportunities in specific areas such as water, agriculture, tourism (France is the second largest source of tourists after Russia), renewable energies, leisure, the environment, infrastructure and health. In 2015, France was Montenegro’s 16th largest trading partner, with trade of €24.8 million (i.e. €19.4 million in exports and €5.4 million in imports). France has had a trade surplus with Montenegro since the country’s independence in 2006. French investment (FDI stock of €142m) is mainly limited to the Montenegrin branch of Société Générale, which has been in Podgorica since November 2005 and the wind farm in Krnovo (run by Akuo and Proparco). A Franco-Montenegrin Business Club was created in December 2011.
Updated: 19 September 2016
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