On May 21st 2006 Montenegro organised a referendum on independence, in line with the provisions of Article 60 of the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro. The modalities for the referendum were agreed upon by the political forces of Montenegro following a mediation mission of Ambassador Miroslav Lajčak, the personal representative of the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana. Montenegro subsequently declared independence on June 3rd.
In October 2007 Montenegro signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU. Following ratification by all EU member states and Montenegro the SAA entered into force on 1 May 2010.
Montenegro submitted its application for EU membership in December 2008. It was granted an EU candidate status in December 2010.
Montenegro has profited from EU autonomous trade measures since 2000. As from 1 January 2008 access of Montenegrin products to the EU was expanded and EU exports to Montenegro have been granted trade preferences following the Interim Agreement.
Montenegro benefits of EU financial assistance and during 2007-2012 it will receive 132.7 million euros. Focus areas for financial assistance under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) include the continuation of reforms in areas such as judiciary, public administration, the fight against corruption and organised crime, as well as in the overall process of transposing and implementing the EU standards in various areas.