The path to independence
The fall of Milosevic in October 2000 eliminated the risk of violent conflict between Serbia and Montenegro. However, it did not resolve the question how their relations were to be restructured.
In September 2001 supporters of continued union in Belgrade and Podgorica proposed a renewed federal arrangement. The Montenegrin government responded in December 2001 with a proposal for a "union of independent states".
It was clear that these two proposals were incompatible. However, pressure by the EU's Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana lead to the Belgrade Agreement signed on 14 March 2002. This created a "State Union of Serbia and Montenegro" and brought a three-year moratorium on any independence referendum in Montenegro.
It soon became clear that this arrangement was not going to last and that there would be a referendum in the end. What was not clear, however, was which rules would apply then. Would Montenegrin residents in Serbia be able to cast their vote? Could a referendum be held that would be accepted as legitimate by all sides?
In December 2005 the Venice Commission stated that voting by Montenegrin residents in Serbia would "jeopardise the legitimacy of the referendum." Miroslav Lajcak, EU envoy and Slovak diplomat, then recommended a minimum turnout of 50 percent of eligible voters and a qualified majority of 55 percent. This was accepted. Thus the road to a consensual and legitimate outcome to this complex problem was opened.
- OSCE/ODIHR, Referendum on State-Status 21 May 2006 – final report (August 2006)
- Address by the Personal Representative of the European Union Secretary General/High Representative on Montenegrin Dialogue, Mr Miroslav Lajčák to the OSCE Permanent Council (18 May 2006)
- Venice Commission, Draft Opinion on the compatibility of the existing legislation in Montenegro concerning the organisation of referendums with applicable international standards (December 2005)
- Constitutional Charter of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (February 2003)
- Proceeding Points for the Restructuring of Relations Between Serbia and Montenegro ("Belgrade Agreement", 14 March 2002)
- ESI, Sovereignty, Europe and the Future of Serbia and Montenegro. A Proposal for International Mediation (12 February 2002)
- Montenegrin Government, "Memorandum on the European Model for the Regulation of Relations between Montenegro and Serbia" (17 December 2001)
- ESI, Politics, interests and the future of Yugoslavia: an Agenda for Dialogue (November 2001)
- 'Together for Yugoslavia' Coalition & Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS), Proceeding Points for a Joint Platform on Constitutional Restructuring of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (September 2001)
- OSCE/ODIHR, Assessment of the Referendum Law – Republic of Montenegro – Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (July 2001)
- Nedjeljko Rudovic and Dragana Nikolic-Solomon, "Europe sets terms for Montenegro's independence poll", BIRN (25 November 2005)
- Nedjeljko Rudovic, "Montenegro launches new divorce bid", IWPR (4 March 2005)
- Nedjeljko Rudovic, "Montenegro demands divorce talks", IWPR (12 November 2004)
- Zoran Radulovic, "Serbia/Montenegro: Customs row holds up union, IWPR (28 November 2002)
- Milka Tadid Mijovic, "Djukanovic's unexpected victory", IWPR (24 October 2002)
- Transition Online, "Montenegro: "Not Alone in the Balkans" (February 2002)
- Milka Tadic Mijovic, "Montenegro: Djukanovic cornered over independence", IWPR (20 February 2002)
- Reuters, "Montenegro President Wants Referendum after Vote" (26 January 2001)
- Milka Tadic, "Djukanovic independence drive", IWPR (31 October 2000)