The EU as a Mediator in the Conflict over Montenegro’s Independence

  • Julian BergmannEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)


This chapter analyses the EU’s mediation efforts in the conflict over Montenegro’s independence between November 2001 and May 2006. It argues that the EU was an effective mediator because it brokered a major settlement to the conflict and achieved its ultimate objective of leading the mediation to an outcome that would not endanger regional stability. The EU’s mediation approach—based on conditionality, public pressure and active engagement—was crucial to exploit the zone of potential agreement between the parties that emerged due to their expectations of gaining from a compromise agreement. The Belgrade Agreement represented the lowest common denominator of the conflict parties’ preferences and accommodated Montenegro’s maximalist position of achieving independence by granting the right to hold a referendum after a three-year waiting period. The parties’ waning willingness to compromise in the second mediation phase explains why neither a full settlement of the conflict issues nor a full attainment of the EU’s goals could be realised. Moreover, the Montenegro case also demonstrates the double-edged effects of an interventionist mediation strategy. Although the EU’s involvement was crucial, it did not significantly contribute to trust-building between the parties, which could have built the basis for the full implementation of the agreements.


Montenegro Montenegrin independence Independence referendum Belgrade Agreement EU mediation 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)BonnGermany

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