Tuesday, 4 April 2006
Department of Foreign Affairs
Question 81: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the discussions which have been held at European level in relation to a proposed referendum in Montenegro later in 2006 at which time the province may vote to secede from Serbia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13114/06]
The State Union of Serbia and Montenegro formally succeeded the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 4 February 2003. The Constitutional Charter of the State Union provided for referendums on independence to be held in either or both of the republics, subject to a three year moratorium. The Montenegrin Government has declared its intention to hold a referendum on Montenegrin independence and this is now scheduled to take place on 21 May next.
Following discussions at EU level, the Union has sought to ensure that the referendum will be carried out in line with accepted international standards. In December 2005 the Secretary General-High Representative for CFSP, Javier Solana, appointed Ambassador Miroslav Lajcak of Slovakia as his personal representative to facilitate negotiations between the Montenegrin Government and opposition on modalities for the proposed referendum. At the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council, GAERC, meeting on 27 February last, Ministers reviewed developments.
Negotiations between the Government and opposition, facilitated by Ambassador Lajcak, have resulted in a comprehensive referendum law which was passed by the Montenegrin Parliament on 1 March last. We welcome the agreement reached between the Government and opposition on the referendum issue. Together with our EU colleagues we support the right of the people of Montenegro to hold a referendum on independence as provided for in the Constitutional Charter of the State Union. The result of the referendum obviously will be decided by the voters and we will support the outcome.