European Union (EU) Citizenship – a nexus of rights, a mirror of diversity

In the olden days, when international travel was a bit more than wishful thinking, I would always dread going down the airport corridor that would take me to the border control booth. My anxiety was caused by the knowledge that somewhere along that corridor, I would see a sign telling me to go to the ‘long queue’, often reserved for those who were crossing an external border of the European Union (EU) but were not EU citizens. For that reason, like many other people, would relate EU citizenship to the ability to travel freely. Little did I know then that EU citizenship entailed far more than free movement across borders; that it was a nexus of rights going beyond those that states afford to their citizens, and a mirror of European diversity. As such, EU citizenship is marvellously complex, utterly desirable, and possibly insufficiently appreciated or instrumentalised. How so?

Citizenship of the European Union (EU citizenship) has been established in 1992 to define the rights of citizens of the member states across the Union. Its essence has been enshrined in article 9 of the Maastricht Treaty. Interestingly, even though some form of Europe-wide rights had been contemplated among the Member States since the 1960s, the question of EU citizenship was the stumbling stone for the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty. In June 1992, the Danish people rejected the Treaty in a referendum, eventually leading to stipulations – in the treaties of Amsterdam in 1997 and Lisbon in 2007 – of the particular nature of EU citizenship as reflective of the legal and political architecture of the EU. Put simply, while EU citizenship is deeply engrained in this architecture, it does not and cannot exist on its own, but is linked to national citizenship of Member States, as highlighted in article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU. In this sense, the EU citizenship is of a derivative nature. It represents what Rainer Bauböck (2010: 848) referred to as a ‘citizenship constellation’, or ‘a structure in which individuals are simultaneously linked to several political entities, so that their legal rights and duties are determined not only by one political authority, but by several’.… »

Education – foundation for progressive Montenegro

Nowadays, education represents a key area for the advancement of democratic states. The extent of responsibility of decision-makers towards the state and the public interest is also the position towards education. The fact that it is now one of the four departments in the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, with accompanying personnel controversies and the absence of any initiative by the new government to improve the education system at all levels, does not imply that the new Government understands the importance of education.

And where does Montenegro rank in education?

According to the 2011 Census, Montenegro has almost one-third of the population with or without completed elementary school (28%), slightly more than half (52%) have finished secondary school, and less than one-fifth have higher education (17 %), while 2% have not finished any school and 1% refuse to answer.

At the end of 2019, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published the results of the international PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) assessment, which was conducted in 2018. Montenegro ranked 52nd, and in all categories (reading, mathematics, science) scored lower than the OECD average. Additionally, as many as 42% of assessed 15-year-old students from Montenegro have not acquired the minimum level of proficiency in reading (OECD average is 23%), i.e. almost every second student in Montenegro is functionally illiterate, and as expected, the results in mathematics and science are discouraging.… »

What kind of Montenegro do we need?

We are celebrating fifteen years since the renewal of independence without consensus on what kind of Montenegro we need. Society is deeply and tensions spark almost daily, in some form. This is accompanied by the burden brought by the health and economic crisis, which even more developed societies and more responsible political structures have a hard time dealing with.

The fact that on 22 May 2006, no dialogue was started on how to create a sustainable political community that all citizens feel like their own and the only state, regardless of how they voted on 21 May, as well as the absence of dedicated work of politicians on its modernization and development, has caused unforeseeable consequences. Over the past fourteen years, the previous government (mis)used all available mechanisms to preserve or expand power, utilizing patriotic sentiments as a coat that hid various misdeeds on the state to which they had publicly and indecently loudly promised allegiance.

At the political level, they nurtured antagonisms and wholeheartedly reminded who was “for” and who was “against” the state in 2006, in order to continue sailing on the wave of victors, pushing the defeated into growing mud. The institutions were shaped by the image of those who were ready to be agile soldiers for the “party issue”, with the tacit consent to include as a wage both their personal and related interests. At the same time, with the illusion of omnipotence, confrontation with dissidents caused degradations, which included dirty campaigns conducted in cooperation with imported media from neighbouring Serbia, but also domestic media Cerberus. In that decadence, the underestimation of citizens grew, but also the arrogance towards the EU and other foreign policy partners who observed Montenegro without pink glasses.… »

Genocide for beginners

War crimes, aggression and crimes against humanity are terms of the international law by which we define most serious human rights violations and which as such remain engraved in the collective memory. However, none of these terms attract so much attention as the word genocide. No matter how many times this term is repeated, it still provokes attention, reaction and debate. Proclaimed as the most severe of all the crimes, the term genocide is under critics since the moment it was defined as a war crime.

Tendency to exterminate some populations is not new phenomenon. Scientists think that some events dating from the Bronze Age can relate to this phenomenon, and we can claim with certainty that not a century has passed since the establishment of Rome without attempting to eradicate one group from another somewhere on the globe.

Considering this, the Holocaust is neither the first nor the last crime with this intention, but the uniqueness of scope (or comprehensiveness) of this crime and omnipresence of the intention of extermination of the European Jews by Nazi Germany, during the 30s and the 40s of the last century, lead to defining and forbidding the intent and implementation of mass extermination by the international community through international law.… »

Pride and Shame

On Wednesday 24 July 2013, in Budva, a SeaSide Pride was held, the first pride parade in Montenegro, organized by the NGO LGBT Forum Progress. Although announced on short notice, in the middle of the tourist season and in a city that is considered to be the capital of Montenegrin tourism, recently been present in the media also within the black chronicles of crime fights, it ultimately went with a high degree of professionalism and commitment of members of the police forces. Around 400 of them, on that day, have been protecting around 30 of those who came to walk for human rights and against discrimination of the LGBT community, from about 2000 hostile citizens, out of which 500 were extremely aggressive and violent, among whom were those who, in addition to curses and calls for lynching, were also willing and equipped to throw on SeaSide Pride participants various rocks, bottles and whatever they got or they could find at hand. This was preceded by putting on, throughout the city, the death certificates with a photo and the name of the leader of the LGBT Forum Progress, who so far, unfortunately, is still the only publicly declared gay person in Montenegro, Zdravko Cimbaljević, which was criticized by the NGO activists, few officials at the national level and members of the international community.… »