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Multiculturalism in Montenegro


What is multiculturalism?

If talking about Sociology, multiculturalism is referred to accepting different ways of thinking, acting, believing, living. Cultural diversity should be an important part of implementing any kind of social strategy and politics, because with strong cultural diversity there is a big chance that a harmony in the society will exist, too. Multiculturalism is also connected to good/bad economic condition in the particular state, because in the countries with smaller tolerance on cultural diversity there are also smaller chances for FDIs, Investments, Business Zones, NGOs projects, etc.

If talking about Politics, multiculturalism is referred to how good or bad political strategies are implemented and how much politics in particular state cares about minorities and cultural diversity.



Multiculturalism in Montenegro

Montenegro is one of the oldest countries in Balkans, yet it was the last country to gain back its independence (referendum in 2006). Although it is a very small county, Montenegro as a state cares a lot about cultural diversity.

Since the declaration of independence, Montenegro has made significant efforts to stabilize the political and economic situation in the country. Application for European Union (EU) membership came in 2008. As a candidate-country on its path to joining the EU, Montenegro is making steady progress. The Stabilization and Association Agreement came into force in September 2010 and Montenegro was granted EU candidate status in December 2010. As of 2021, all thirty-three chapters have been opened and three chapters have been closed. European Commission has identified Montenegro as having the highest level of preparation for membership among the negotiating states and accession of the country to the EU is considered possible by 2025. The official currency has been Euro since 2002.

In Montenegro, special importance is given to the implementation of European values in the process of understanding multiculturalism by applying the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (1995).

In terms of the Human Development Index (HDI), which is the index used by the United Nations to measure the progress of a country, Montenegro has 0.829 points in 2019, leaving it in 48th place in the table of 189 countries published. In 2021, Happiness Index (HI) for Montenegro was 5.58. HI was increased from 5.19 in 2015 to 5.58 in 2021 growing at an average annual rate of 1.22%.


Ethnicity and foreign population

A country with a long tradition, the meeting point of different cultural and religious influences on the border of Orthodox East and Catholic West, today’s Montenegro is a diverse multi-confessional and multi-ethnic environment. Major ethnic groups include Montenegrins (45%), Serbs (29%), Bosnians (8.6%), Albanians (4.9%), Romani people (1%), Croats (1%), Serbo-Montenegrins (0.3%), Egyptians (0.3%), and Montenegrins-Serbs (0.3%).

The official language is Montenegrin but Croatian, Albanian, Bosnian and Serbian are all common and all mutually intelligible, except for Albanian. Montenegro is a multi-religious country, but has Orthodox Christianity as its dominant religion with adherents of 74.24% of the country’s population.

Islam does represent a majority in some areas of the country and accounts for 19% of the total population. There are also small groups of Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists, Protestants, atheists and agnostics.



Why is diversity important?

Montenegro is one of the fastest growing economies in Balkans. A lot of the country-based-businesses is from FDIs. Montenegro also has a very open politics about gaining its citizenship by investing in the country or just having business in it. You can read more about the Special Citizenship Program here.

Montenegro is tourism-oriented country, as well. A very big part of the GDP goes from businesses that are referred to some form of tourism, whether it is from luxurious hotels and villas, marinas, complexes and apartments or smaller business from this type that are mostly run by locals. 

If, for example, Montenegro was closed country and not that much ready for accepting cultural diversities after it gained back its independence, Montenegro certainly wouldn’t be as popular destination as it is today, nor it would be that fast-growing economy.

In 2019, the economic growth rate of Montenegro was one of the highest in Europe at 3.5%. However, the Covid 19 severely affected the economy more than any other country in the region. As a result of pandemic, GDP has declined approximately 15%.

On the other hand, a strong recovery of the tourism sector in 2021 changed the whole picture. GDP rebounded significantly in 2021. According to the latest available data; GDP has jumped by a real 25.8% y/y in the third quarter of 2021, after expanding by 19% y/y in the previous quarter. Montenegro’s GDP growth is going to be much higher than the expected EU average of 4.1%.



Beside all goods that multiculturalism brings with itself when talking about spiritual and cultural wealth, learning about new things, ennobling the soul, etc. multiculturalism is also very important for good economic condition, diversity of product offers, new investments and projects etc.

Without the tolerance and understanding the different, life in small communities would be unthinkable. This is why is very important for Montenegro to stays on the road that is called multiculturalism and to continue being home for a lot of different nationalities, rases, cultures, life styles, and also a good host for tourists and people just passing by.

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