Montenegro. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Montenegro include Independence Day (May 21) and New Year (January 1). Montenegro resurfaced during the year as an independent nation after 88 years as the first Serbian province, then the Yugoslav Republic and finally as part of the loose union of Serbia and Montenegro. The 2003 Union agreement allowed the parties to vote for independence after three years, which Montenegro did on May 21. The EU had set a minimum of 55% for the jas side to approve a split of the union. The result was 55.5% for independence. The turnout was just over 86%. Fears that Serbia would put a spanner in shame came to shame. On June 3, Montenegro declared itself independent and soon the neighboring countries and the rest of the world had recognized the new state.
At the end of June, Montenegro joined the UN.
The EU, which in May suspended the negotiations for a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Serbia and Montenegro, resumed talks with the independent Montenegro. Serbia still had to stand outside because of the Belgrade government’s failure to arrest and surrender the suspected Bosnian Serb war criminal Ratko Mladić.
In September, parliamentary elections were held. The government coalition consisting of Milo Đukanović’s Democratic Socialist Party (DPS) and Social Democratic SDP gained its own majority with 41 of the 81 seats. The Serbian-friendly opposition – which opposed independence – received a total of 23 seats.
A month after the election, Prime Minister Đukanović left his post somewhat unexpectedly. Đukanović, who has been either prime minister or president since 1991, announced that he was tired of politics. He appointed Željko Šturanović as his successor.
At the beginning of the year, more than 40 people were killed and 200 injured when a passenger train derailed and crashed into a ravine outside the capital Podgorica. Many of the victims were children on their way home from a ski trip.