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100030406 Montenegro Recognizes Kosovo The Montenegrin government led by President Milo Djukanovic unanimously recognized the independence of Kosovo on October 9, 2008, politically opposing its historically traditional ally, Serbia. As a response to such political demarcation, Serbia had the Montenegrin ambassador expelled from Belgrade. Montenegro’s minister of foreign affairs, Milan Rocen, claimed that the recognition of Kosovo’s independence is not “extorted,” but merely recognition of the political reality in the region. 1 The decision came after the Montenegrin Parliament ratified the resolution of “accelerating the Euro-Atlantic integration,” which represents Montenegrin commitment to become part of the European Union and NATO by maintaining regional stability. In her study, “Understanding the Process/Outcome Linkage in Foreign Policy,” Jean Garrison argues that issue framing is one amongst many tools used by policymakers to see their agenda lead to particular policy choices.2 The Euro-Atlantic integration resolution that was ratified by the Montenegrin Parliament on October 3, 2008, states that Montenegrin re-affirmation of its nationhood demonstrates that its strategic goals are aimed toward European and Euro-Atlantic integrations. Additionally stated in the resolution, Montenegro agrees to respect the political reality that the EU and NATO find important for regional stability, and that this will be the basis for Montenegro’s decision regarding the Kosovo question. 3 The resolution was proposed and prepared by 32 parliament members of ruling coalition; 25 from the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and 7 from the Social Democratic Party (SDP), headed by President of Parliament Ranko Krivokapic. Miodrag Vukovic, member of the DPS stated that “the ruling coalition proposed this resolution in order to prove that in its structures, there are no anti-integration forces.” 4 Out of 66 parliament members that voted, 45 declared they were pro-resolution, all of whom were members of the ruling coalition. Against declared 21 parliament members of the opposition, with the belief that the resolution is an overture for formal recognition of Kosovo’s independence. The oppositional political party, Group for Changes, did not attend the parliament meeting because their version of the resolution was not passed. During the debate in the Parliament, Minister Milo Djukanovic of Montenegro declared that the government will, with or without the support of the parliament, responsibly decide the policy toward the Kosovo issue, “Kosovo is autonomous. Serbia has no governmental jurisdiction over Kosovo.”5 The same view was later expressed by another parliament member of the SDP and one of the participant authors of the resolution, by stating that “Kosovo was lost in the year 1999 when Slobodan Milosevic ratified the resolution and pulled back the Yugoslav army, handing over the control in Kosovo to EU and NATO.”

1

Z. Jeftic, “Crna Gora i Makedonija priznale Kosovo,” Blic Online, October 10, 2008, Friday; http://www.blic.co.yu/politika.php?id=60288
2

Jean Garrison. “Understanding the Process/Outcome Linkage in Foreign Policy”

3

The Parliament of Montenegro, “Rezolucija o neophodnosti ubrzanja procesa integracije Crne Gore u evropske i evroatlantske structure,” http://www.skupstina.cg.yu/index1.php?module=17&sub=13&akt=804
4

J. Mr, “Podržan Predlog rezolucije o ubrzanju evroatlantskih integracija,” Pobjeda, September 18, 2008, Thursday; http://www.pobjeda.co.me/citanje.php?datum=2008-09-18&id=149261
5

N/A, “CG: Uvod u priznanje Kosova?” B92, October 3, 2008, Friday; http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php? yyyy=2008&mm=10&dd=03&nav_category=640&nav_id=321725

Furthermore, Garrison argues that centralized groups with a higher level of cooperation between its members and decisive leader are likely to have clear policy signals. This framework is applicable in the case of the Montenegrin Government’s unanimous decision to recognize Kosovo’s independence. The ruling party in Montenegro is the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), chaired by Milo Djukanovic, in coalition with the much smaller Social Democratic Party (SDP), chaired by the current President of the Parliament, Ranko Krivokapic. Mr. Djukanovic, whose political party ruled for 17 years, is the Prime Minister and head of the government. By constitution, the Montenegrin Government is comprised of the Prime Minister, deputy minister, and ministers, and has authority over foreign policy. Currently, 7 out of 17 ministers of the government are members of the DPS Presidential Committee, while others are either DPS or SDP members. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Milan Rocen, also a member of the DPS presidential committee, is considered to be very influential in Montenegrin politics. He has been in strong support of recognizing Kosovo’s independence and has stated on several occasions prior to the government’s formal recognition that Montenegro will support such a decision. Such is the example of his interview for Montenegrin newspapers, Vijesti, on July 3, 2008, stating that the Kosovo issue triggers certain emotions that in politics don’t serve well, “In this case they are certainly not...the Kosovo cycle is over. By this I mean that kind of conscience. This is 21st century, we can think what we want, but there is something that is called ‘political reality’.” 6 The remaining few members of the government are under the strong influence of DPS political machinery. In addition, opposition has been unable to unite against the ruling party, partly due to differing ideologies of political parties and partly due to differing views on specific key issues. Finally, the Montenegrin Government’s unanimous recognition of Kosovo’s independence clearly falls under the Garrison’s framework of process/outcome linkage. This framework suggests that in the case of centralized structure of a decision making group, high levels of cooperation between members of the group and high presidential involvement the process outcome should result in clear policy choice. The DPS’ seventeen-year long political rule, as well as positional domination by its members within the government, enabled their domination over the policy decision making. Much of Djukanovic’s political lobbying ensured cooperation within the decision making group. This not being enough, he had his long time coalition partner and President of Parliament Mr. Krivokapic frame the issue throughout the resolution, thus ensuring additional support in the Parliament. As mentioned above, opposition was unable to mobilize any real resistance, due to differing political ideologies amongst parties. This, alongside Djukanovic’s strong involvement and positional authority, resulted in clear policy choice by which he once again did to Montenegro what spring does to cherry trees. .

6

Nedeljko Rudovic, “Priznacemo Kosovo,” Vijesti, July 3, 2008, Thursday; http://www.vijesti.cg.yu/index.php?id_pre=274535&godina=2008