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The Republic of Montenegro, which until 2006 together with Serbia formed the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, is located in southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula and borders on Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Albania. In the southwest of the country, the Adriatic Sea forms a natural border. With an area of 13 812 km² Montenegro belongs to the small countries of Europe.
Montenegro is a mountainous country in the southeastern Dinarides. To the south and west are the karstified coastal mountains bordering the Adriatic Sea. The north and the east of the country are on high mountain level. Here is in the high massif Durmitor the Bobotov Kuk, which with a height of 2 522 m is the highest mountain of Montenegro. The Montenegrin coast stretches 260 km along the Adriatic Sea. The longest river is the Tara with a length of 150 km. In the border area with Albania lies one of the largest inland lakes in the Balkans, Lake Skadar (391 km²).
On 3 June 2006, Montenegro became an independent republic after 55.5% of the population voted in favour of independence from Serbia in a referendum with which it had been part of a State Union since 2003. Voter turnout was 86.3%. The required 55 % majority for independence was only just exceeded. Montenegro is now recognized worldwide under international law and has been accepted into numerous international organizations. A political milestone was the adoption of a constitution in October 2007.
The head of state is the president (Filip Vujanovic since June 2006); the head of government is the prime minister (Milo Djukanovic since February 2008). The President is directly elected for five years and proposes the Prime Minister, who is subsequently elected by the People’s Assembly. The one-chamber parliament in Podgorica has 81 seats; the term of office is four years.
Montenegro is divided into 21 municipalities (Opstini); the official language (since the Constitution of 2006) is Montenegrin. Both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets are in use.
The Montenegrin economy has not yet completely overcome the transition phase between a socialist economy and a social market economy. The unemployment rate in 2012 was 19.6%, salaries and wages per capita amount to only 5,760 euros per year (as of 2014). The gap between rich and poor is very wide. Montenegro joined the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in 2007 and is aiming for EU membership.
In agriculture, where only 6% of the population still work, vegetables, cereals, potatoes, tobacco, wine, citrus fruits, olives and figs are grown. Large-scale industry, especially the metal industry, mining and shipyards, has been privatised. Important mineral resources are bauxite, iron ore and lignite.
Tourism is one of the country’s most important sources of income. It was made the focus of further economic development as, after a period of political instability in the 1990s, the number of visitors rose again. In 2012, almost 1.5 million tourists visited the country. Montenegro’s currency is the euro, which was introduced as a foreign currency.