An ancient Balkan state, Montenegro came under Ottoman control at the end of the 15th century, but became an independent kingdom from 1910 to 1918. Montenegro then joined the newly formed Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929. In 1991, 4 of the 6 Yugoslav republics declared independence, leaving Montenegro and Serbia to form a new republic in 1992, which was renamed the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2003. Montenegro left the State Union in May 2006 by a popular referendum, and became an independent country once again. On 22 October 2007, the new Constitution of Montenegro was proclaimed. Montenegro became a candidate for EU accession at the end of 2010, and negotiations were opened in June 2012.
According to the current legislation, there is no administrative division of regions in Montenegro; thus, there is no decentralisation at the regional level. In fact, the constitution does not identify any entities on the regional level, although there were administrative regions in the past. The country adopted the Law on Regional Development in 2011, which introduced three statistical regions: the Coastal, Central and Northern regions. However, these regions were only established for statistical purposes with no legislative or implementing powers.
Self-government and municipalities
Despite the lack of decentralisation at the regional level, strides towards decentralisation have been made at the level of the municipalities. Currently Montenegro has 22 local self- government units and 2 urban municipalities. The local self-government units are: the Capital City of Podgorica, the Historical Capital of Cetinje, municipalities of Andrijevica, Bar, Berane, Bijelo Polje, Budva, Danilovgrad, Herceg, Novi, Kolašin, Kotor, Mojkovac, Nikšić, Petnjica, Plav, Plužine, Pljevlja, Rožaje, Šavnik, Tivat, Ulcinj and Žabljak. The urban municipalities are Golubovci and Tuzi; and they are a subdivision of the Capital City of Podgorica.
The conditions for decentralisation at the level of the municipalities in Montenegro were first established with the adoption of the Constitution in 2007. The right of local self-government is guaranteed in Article 22 of the Constitution. The Montenegrin system of local self-government is elaborated upon in Chapter 4, which identifies municipalities as the basic form of local self- government. The autonomy and financing of municipalities is specified in Articles 116 and 117 of the Constitution. Article 116 states that municipalities can constitute their own budgets, and are financed by their own resources and the state’s. Article 117 grants municipalities autonomy in carrying out their duties.
the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro
The legal framework for decentralisation also includes the Law on Local Self-Government. This law, which was adopted in 2010, outlines the specifics on the functioning of the municipalities and provides details on the structures, decision-making procedures and tasks of the municipalities. As laid out in Articles 16 and 127 to 130 of the Law on Local Self-Government, municipalities were provided with the means to form an association which represents their interests; subsequently, the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro (UOM) was formed.
The UOM is a national association of local authorities in Montenegro, which aims to develop local democracy and realize common interests of local government units, to improve organisation, work and functioning of the local government, to create conditions for developing various forms of cooperation in all areas of the local community’s work in Montenegro, and to cooperate with international organisations and local government unions. To this end, UOM is engaged in developing and improving the legal system and the position of the local government, accomplishing mutual cooperation between local governments in order to address the local population’s interests, and cooperating with international organisations of local governments and other international organisations.
In addition to the UOM, another step towards decentralisation was taken with the Law on Local Self-Government Financing, which establishes the financial autonomy of the municipalities. According to Article 5 of this law, municipalities are partly funded by their own resources. These resources include real estate tax, surtax on personal income tax, local administrative charges, local communal charges, fees for utility equipment of construction land, fees for the use of municipal roads, fees for environmental protection, resources from the sale and rental of municipal property, income from capital (interests, stakes and shares, etc.), fines imposed in misdemeanour proceedings, revenues from concession fees for performing communal a airs and other activities, revenues collected by municipal bodies, services, and organisations through their own activities, revenues from grants and subsidies, and other revenues set by the law.
A wide range of competences
Competences of the municipalities are wide-spanning. They cover the fields of local development, urban and spatial planning at the local and regional level, construction permitting, construction land development and management, performance and development of communal affairs, maintenance of communal buildings and communal order, environmental protection, water management, agricultural land, social welfare, transport, tourism, culture and sports, investment policy, protection and rescue of the local population, and consumer protection.
by Susannah Go
The Report on the state of Regionalisation in Europe.
More than 40 experts contributed to this work, by delivering detailed reports about the state of regionalisation and multilevel governance in chosen European countries. The study covers 41 countries, and each country report is based on a similar structure, thereby allowing a comparative approach among all studied countries.
- The first part of the report gives the political impetus from the main European stakeholders
- The second part of this report entails a summarised version of the country reports. The objective is to provide interested readers with a short overview of the main features of regionalisation in various European countries. The complete versions of the country reports are available on the AER website, under LINK
- The third part provides a thematic approach based on the main findings delivered by the country reports and the current state of regionalisation in Europe. The trends and outlooks lead to open questions on the future of the regions in the European landscape, and more broadly on the role of subnational authorities in the shaping of the continent.
- The fourth part gives the floor to the actual regional decision-makers in Europe, across a series of interviews and statements by Presidents, Vice-Presidents and elected representatives of the European regions.
Over the next months, we will be focusing on a different European country’s approach to regionalisation. During these months, look out for #RoR2017 on Twitter and/or Facebook and follow us at @europeanregions.
Strong European regions are a pathway to a stronger Europe.