Secession from Serbia
In 2003, Serbia and Montenegro signed a unification agreement. A provision allowed for either republic to conduct a secession referendum in 2006. In the meantime, Serbia and Montenegro loosely unified with separate governments, the same army, and different currencies. Montenegro's prime minister advocated for independence, and the referendum in May 2006 broke the last of the unifications among former Yugoslavian states.
By 2000, Serbia and Montenegro's economies were devastated after the effects of 50 years of bureaucratic inefficiencies, followed by another decade of mismanagement during Slobodan Milosevic's years of rule. Inflation was extremely high, as was the unemployment rate. Export levels were down and intellectual resources were lost because well-educated youth went abroad for a better standard of living.
Montenegro initiated reforms independent of Serbia in the late 1990s, by creating their own central bank. They also adopted the Deutschmark - and later, the euro - as the official currency. Montenegro also declared its intent to join the European Union.
As a independent republic emerging from the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro faces many of the challenges that its neighbors do. International trade, unemployment, and management of local services are all of great concern. However, Montenegro has the advantage of a emerging tourism industry with both Mediterranean and Alpine destinations, and cultural affinities with those regions. Continued interest from foreign investors, as well as a continued commitment to global community, will benefit Montenegro and its people in years to come.