France plays an important role in forming closer ties between Montenegro and the European Union. Along with its European partners, it is helping Montenegro undertake structural reforms. France has also seconded a technical expert to the Office for European integration attached to the Prime Minister.
Recent visits and bilateral meetings (visit to Paris by Foreign Minister Radulović; meeting between the President of the French Republic and Prime Minister Krivokapić; visit to Paris by the Chief Negotiator for Montenegro’s Accession to EU and by the Finance Minister, see below) have lent fresh impetus to our bilateral relations.
The Western Balkans Cyber Capacity Centre (WB3C), which will be based in Podgorica and for which a letter of intent was signed on 16 November 2022 between France, Slovenia and Montenegro, is a concrete sign of the improvement in our bilateral relations.
Consulate: duties carried out by the French Embassy in Albania (Tirana)
French community: about 160, with increasing numbers of tourists (French nationals passing through)
French Ambassador to Montenegro: Christian Thimonier (@ChThimonier)
Montenegrin Ambassador to France: Ivan Ivanišević (@i_ivanisevic)
On 21 April 2021, the Minister of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, met the Montenegrin Foreign Minister, Đorđe Radulović, in Paris. They signed the bilateral agreement on AFD action in Montenegro. The President of the Republic had a videoconference call with Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić on 10 May 2021. The Chief Negotiator for Montenegro’s Accession to the EU, Zorka Kordić, travelled to Paris from 15 to 19 June 2021. She was received at the private office of the Minister of State for European Affairs as well as by the Secretary-General for European Affairs. Montenegro’s Health Minister, Jelena Borovinić Bojović, also travelled to Paris on 7-10 June 2021. She was received at the Health Minister’s Private Office. The Montenegrin Finance Minister Aleksandar Damjanović travelled to Paris on 11-14 December 2022 and was received by the Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, Mr Olivier Becht.
Prior to that, the Minister of Culture at the time, Franck Riester, received his Montenegrin counterpart on 25 March 2019. Furthermore, the Minister of State attached to the Minister for the Armed Forces, Geneviève Darrieussecq, made an official visit to Montenegro in October 2019.
There are limited bilateral economic relations, but opportunities exist with regard to specific issues, such as tourism, renewables and agriculture. France has recorded a trade surplus with Montenegro, which is constantly increasing. FDI stock followed the same trend until 2019 but the withdrawal of Société Générale impacted this development. French exports were strong in 2022 at €46 million, up significantly compared to the 2021 total (35%). In 2021, transport equipment accounted for most of our sales (€20 million, up 13% on 2020), ahead of the “textiles, clothes, leather and footwear” category (€2.15 million); “food products” (€1.9 million); “industrial and agricultural machinery” (€1.4 million), “chemicals, perfumes and cosmetics” (€1 million). Some 90% of French imports from Montenegro belong to three categories of products: metal products; chemicals, perfumes and cosmetics; and food, forestry and fishing products. In 2021, France was the country’s 7th-largest supplier and 17th-largest customer.
About a dozen French companies are established in the country. In the energy sector, with the support of Proparco, Akuo Energy invested in the Krnovo wind farm (72 MW). Valgo is also present for the Bijela shipyard decontamination project. Several major pharmaceutical groups (Sanofi, Servier) and cosmetic groups (L’Oréal) have opened sales offices. French companies are also present in the aviation sector. Navblue, a subsidiary of Airbus, carried out a study on the introduction of night flights in Tivat airport. Several groups are interested in the concession to operate Podgorica and Tivat airports for 30 years (ADP group with its Turkish subsidiary TAV and Bouygues).
As part of cooperation between the EU and Montenegro, France is using its expertise to support the reforms to be carried out, particularly in modernizing administrations, managing local government bodies, agriculture, supporting external trade, and protecting the environment.
In the area of academic cooperation, a convention on the creation of the Balkan Institute of Science and Innovation of the University Cote d’Azur (BISI) in partnership with the University of Montenegro was signed in Podgorica on 4 March 2019.
Montenegro’s NATO membership offers new security and defence cooperation prospects. Montenegro is active in several EU external operations (EUTM Mali, EU NAVFOR Atalanta).
An agreement for AFD action in Montenegro was signed on 21 April 2021. The AFD took action as of 2021, in line with the EIB, for a concessional loan at the investment fund for the development of SMEs in Montenegro (€50 million).
Montenegro’s membership of the International Organisation of the Francophonie as an observer state in October 2010 following the XIIIth Francophonie Summit in Montreux (Switzerland) strengthened the prospects of the use of French within Montenegro diplomatic and government circles. A French school opened on 3 September 2018.