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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Historical development


1.Political, social and economic background and trends

1.1Historical development

Last update: 27 March 2024

The Name

The name "Crna Gora" (Montenegro) was mentioned for the first time in the Charter of King Milutin (of the Nemanjić dynasty) in 1296. It is believed that the name was derived from the dense forests that covered Mount Lovćen and the surrounding area. The forests were so dark that the viewers got the impression of a "black" mountain.

Key Historical Points and Periods

During the Roman Empire, the territory of Montenegro was actually the territory of Duklja (Doclea) named after Illyrian tribe that inhabited it. With the arrival of the Slaves in the 7thcentury, Christianity quickly gained primacy in this region. Duklja incorporated the area of Skadar Lake with the nearby mountains. The first ruler of Duklja was Duke Vladimir, the father of Vojislav who founded Vojislavljević dynasty, the first Montenegrin dynasty. Duklja fought its independence from Byzantine Empire in 1042, and was proclaimed kingdom in 1077. Thus, it became one of the first independent states in the Balkans. It was named Zeta, which in the old Slavic languages meant “the harvesters”.

Vojislavljević dynasty ruled until the end of the 12th century, when the state was conquered by Serbian ruler Stefan Nemanja. The area of Montenegro was under rule of Serbian lords until the beginning of the second half of the 14th century, when local dynasty of Balšići gained power. They represent the second Montenegrin dynasty.

In the 14th century, under the leadership of the Balšić and Crnojević dynasties, it became an independent feudal state and slowly expanded, fighting tirelessly the armies such as the Albanian, and later, the Turkish and the Venetian one. During the period of the Crnojevićs’ rule, due to the strong attacks of the Turkish army, the people, together with the Crnojević family, had to retreat towards the Lovćen Mountain. Ivan Crnojević chose Cetinje as his base and constructed a castle and a monastery there. Cetinje thus became the synonym of spiritual freedom and freedom of the state.

Đurađ Crnojević, the son of Ivan Crnojević, ruled for a short period of time, but left invaluable wealth. During his rule, in 1493, the first printing shop in the Balkans was opened, and one year later, in 1494, the first book was printed - "Oktoih" (Octoechos).

The Turks took the rule over Montenegro in 1496 and join it to the Skadar province. Still, Montenegro kept a high level of autonomy, and fully regained its independence in 1645. Then the spiritual leaders - Metropolitans took power in Montenegro and also the administration of the country. At the time, the authorities in Montenegro were the All-Montenegrin Assembly and the Assembly of Governors, while on the lower levels there were meetings of the governors. In 1697, the Montenegrin Assembly elected Danilo I of Njeguši (ruled 1696–1735) as the Metropolitan. At that time the establishment of the Petrović Njegoš dynasty started, as well as their struggle for the unity of religion and politics.

Petar I Petrović Njegoš (1782 - 1830) is one of the most renowned persons in the Montenegrin history. Under his leadership, Montenegro strengthened its independence, and after the great victories over the more numerous Turkish army, it freed itself from the Turkish influence and domination. He unified the Montenegrin clans and brought them closer to the coastal population, as the coast was under the influence of Austro-Hungary at the time.

The successor of Petar I Petrović was Petar II Petrović Njegoš (1830-1851). He was an extraordinary statesman, philosopher and writer. During his rule, this superb ruler established the state institutions, administrative and state authorities. He maintained links with Russia and often engaged in the fights against the Turks. He wrote many literary works, such as "Gorski vijenac" ("The Mountain Wreath") and "Luča mikrokozma" ("The Light of Microcosm”), which made him one of the world’s greatest writers. During the rule of his successor, Danilo, the sovereignty of Montenegro was strengthened further and formally recognized. The important victory against the Turks in the Grahovac battle in 1858 contributed to that.

During his rule, the Prince and King Nikola (1860 - 1910) enabled Montenegro to achieve significant political objectives. At the Berlin Congress in 1878, Montenegro received full international recognition. The fact that Montenegro was the only country in the Balkans that successfully fought against the Ottoman Empire impressed Europe and Montenegro became a kingdom in 1910.

The 20th century represented a difficult period for Montenegro, as it lost its independence at the time and it disappeared from the political map of Europe. When the World War I broke out, Montenegro sided with Serbia and the Entente Powers. In 1916, after surrendering to Austro-Hungary, King Nikola went to exile. He spent a period of time in Italy, and then went to France. The attempts of the King and his Government to influence the events in Montenegro at the time were not successful.

Serbia annexed Montenegro in 1918 and thus Montenegro lost everything that it gained through the centuries: its statehood, army and dynasty. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croatians and Slovenians was created, which, in 1929, became Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Within this new country of the southern Slavs Montenegro didn’t even exist as a geographical denomination, being part of so-called Zeta Banovina, within broader administrative borders.

With the fall of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia before the fascist Germany in World War II, Montenegro proved again that the spirit of freedom cherished by its people did not disappear. On 13th July 1941, a large number of Montenegrins stood up against the Italian occupiers. This was the first nation-wide uprising in occupied Europe.

After World War II Montenegro improved its legal and state status and became one of the six equal republics of the Yugoslav federation. Montenegrin state and national identity was fully recognized. This was the time of the greatest socio-economic and cultural progress in the history of Montenegro by that time.

After the turbulent years, at the end of the 20th century, and after the disintegration of former Yugoslavia, Montenegro remained in the union with Serbia, thus these two republics formed the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

At referendum held on 21st May 2006 the majority of citizens voted in favor of the Montenegrin independence. This day was proclaimed the Day of Independence. Thus today Montenegro is an internationally recognized independent state. UN admitted Montenegro as 192nd member country on 27th July 2006.

In 2016 Montenegro celebrated 10th anniversary of regaining its independence. On 21st May, there was a central celebration organized in Podgorica, the capital. For this purpose, the Gala program “Decade of Independence Regaining” was held at the Independence Square with the Montenegrin Prime Minister and the European Council President as the key speakers.

The Strategic goals of the independent Montenegro are memberships in NATO and EU, first of which was accomplished - on the 5th of June 2017 Montenegro became full member of NATO on a ceremony held in State Department. Montenegro’s road to NATO began in 2006 by joining Partnership for Peace initiative and ended by submission of ratification instruments in Washington after all 28 member states ratified the accession protocol.

EU Integration

Montenegrin independence was followed by a rapid process of international recognition and accession to international institutions and organizations.

On 15th October 2007 Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) was signed between the Government of Montenegro and the European Union, and came into force on 1st May 2010.

Decision of the Council of Ministers to abolish visas for Montenegrin citizens from 30th November 2009, which came to force on 19th December of the same year, represents major step on the European way of Montenegro. Montenegro fulfills its obligations deriving from visa liberation regime in a responsible manner.

Montenegro has submitted its application for EU membership on 15th December 2008. The country obtained the status of EU Candidate country on 17th December 2010. Formal accession negotiations between Montenegro and the EU began on 29th June 2012. Screenings for all 33 Chapters of the EU Acquis Communautaire have been conducted. Up to now 32 Chapters have been opened for negotiations with three of them provisionally closed: Chapter 25 on Science and Research (on 18th December 2012), Chapter 26 on education and culture (provisionally closed on 15th April 2013) and Chapter 30 on International Relations (on 6th June 2017).

Following the decision of the European Council, the country has been supported through Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), established by the Council Regulation (EC) 1085/2006 of 17th July 2006 and Regulation (EU) 231/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11th March 2014 (establishing IPA II).

Education, together with the Employment and Social Policies, is being supported under IPA to promote sustainable human resources development by modernizing and developing the educational and training systems, following EU policies and standards, in order to better match and respond to the needs of the labor market.

Current IPA in this sector is being implemented through decentralized management meaning that Montenegrin national administration is responsible for programming, implementation and management of IPA funding.


Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation (Directorate General for International Cooperation, EU Programs and European Integration is the Body Responsible for Priority/Measure under IPA II).