National Day Message by Mrs. Jelena Filipovic-Stoyanov, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Montenegro in the Republic of Bulgaria

Dear friends of Montenegro in the Republic of Bulgaria,

This year, Montenegro celebrates July 13 - Statehood Day, under the sign of the great jubilee - the 81st anniversary of the Thirteenth Street Uprising in 1941, the first mass uprising in enslaved Europe against fascism. An event that confirmed that the size of a nation is not determined by its numbers, nor by the area of the territory in which it lives.

Montenegro officially restored and confirmed its statehood at the Congress of Berlin on July 13, 144 years ago. Then, in the late 19th century, it gained a reputation as a country that respected the rights and freedoms of all its citizens, especially members of minority nations. From that time we inherited the inter-ethnic harmony that today's Montenegro is so proud of.

The Thirteenth Uprising was a prelude to the heroic National Liberation Struggle of the Yugoslav peoples, through which Montenegro regained its national and state name. At the session held from July 13 to 15, 1944, the National Anti-Fascist Council of Montenegro grew into the Montenegrin Anti-Fascist Assembly for People's Liberation, at which it was decided that Montenegro, as an equal republic, would be part of the community of Yugoslav nations.

Without these bright dates, there would not have been the great year of May 21, 2006, when Montenegro regained its independence after almost a century and received international recognition again. In the democratic referendum, the Montenegrin warlike nation replaced the rifle with a pen and, for the first time in the Balkans, created a state peacefully.

Today, Montenegro is a reliable neighbor, a respected member of NATO and a leader in the negotiation process for EU membership. Despite all the challenges, European integration has no alternative, because Montenegro long ago chose its European path, from which there is no turning back.

Here it should be noted the continuous support of the Republic of Bulgaria for the European integration of Montenegro, both at the political and expert level. More specifically, I want to dwell on the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU in 2018, when, primarily thanks to the efforts of Bulgaria, the enlargement policy was brought back into the focus of the attention of the EU member states.

Today, in light of the current political situation in which the world finds itself, it is particularly important to continue the policy of EU enlargement. Given the different stages of European integration in which the six Balkan countries find themselves, progress must be based primarily on assessing progress on individual merits.

Montenegro and Bulgaria inherit traditionally good relations based on the principles of openness, continuous cooperation and mutual support at the regional and international level. Likewise, our countries note excellent cooperation at the political level.

Maintaining intensive political contacts at the highest level is an indicator of the closeness and friendship between the two countries and the readiness to further deepen the overall cooperation. After the pause caused by the pandemic, the political dialogue at the highest level was resumed, evidence of which is the visit of the Prime Minister of Montenegro to Bulgaria on March 27 this year, as well as the visit of the President of Bulgaria to Montenegro on July 11 this year.

With the above in mind, now is the time to make further efforts to valorize the excellent political relationship through more dynamic economic cooperation. In this sense, special attention should be paid to infrastructure connectivity. In this way, serious prerequisites will be created for the development of cooperation in the field of tourism, culture and better acquaintance of the two friendly peoples, which is of extreme importance.

Finally, I would like to congratulate all the citizens of Montenegro on their national holiday of 13th of July, the Statehood Day!

The photo was provided by the Embassy of Montenegro in the Republic of Bulgaria.

On it: Mrs. Jelena Filipovic-Stoyanov, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Montenegro in the Republic of Bulgaria