EU warns Montenegro over Euro

BRUSSELS -- The EU is to remind Montenegro next week its monetary system is not in line with the EU requirements.

Montenegro will be given the official warning on Monday when Podgorica is supposed to sign a Stabilization and Association Agreement, SAA, with the EU in Luxembourg, that only members of the 27-nation bloc should be using the euro.

In a draft document that will be adopted the same day by the EU’s Council of Ministers, they will recall that “unilateral ‘euroisation’ is not compatible with the Treaty, which foresees adoption of the Euro as the endpoint of a structured convergence process within a multilateral framework”.

Montenegro adopted the euro as its official currency following its inception in 2002, having previously used the German mark.

However, the use of the euro has become more of an issue since Podgorica started the process of integration into the European family.

The European Commission insists that only member countries that meet certain criteria can adopt the euro.

"The conditions for the adoption of the euro are clear. That means, first and foremost, to be a member of the EU”, said on Monday, Amelia Torres spokesperson of the European Commission.

She was echoing the views of the European Central Bank (ECB) whose President, Jean-Claude Trichet, said on Monday: "Participation without being a member of the European Union is totally excluded."

The question of Montenegro’s monetary regime will be addressed in due course, most probably during Podgorica’s future accession talks, sources tell Balkan Insight.

However, European ministers of foreign affairs will not ignore this issue at their meeting in Luxembourg.

In the draft document, due to be adopted on Monday, they will make it clear that the signing of the SAA with Montenegro “does not prejudge the position on how Montenegro’s current de facto use of the euro will be addressed in possible future accession negotiations”.