Montenegro applies for EU membership

Montenegro formally submitted its application for membership of the European Union (EU) earlier this week

The application, which was filed with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris during the final days of France's EU presidency, follows the pre-accession deal signed by Montenegro in October 2007.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn welcomed the country's bid for membership on Monday (December 15th), telling that Montenegro had "reached a historical milestone marking the country's important engagement to common European values and fundamentals".

Commissioner Rehn also said that Montenegro, which was granted independence from Serbia in June 2006, could set an example for other Balkan countries to follow in terms of European perspective.

Meanwhile, Montenegro Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic was quoted by AFP as heralding "a great day for Montenegro".