Policy area

Internal affairs

Sustainable development goals and international commitments

UN legal framework in the area of internal affairs:

UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the accompanying protocols

Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

UN Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons

Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition

UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness

Migration for Employment Convention

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations & Vienna Convention on Consular Relations

UN Programme for Disaster and Global Warming Risk Reduction

UN Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

The Council of Europe and the EU:

Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention)

European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers

Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement

European Strategy for Supporting Disaster Risk Reduction in Developing Countries

Other international commitments:

ROADMAP for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024

Internal affairs policy in SDGs by 2030

SDG 5 – Gender equality: Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.

SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure: 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all

SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities: 10.7 Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies

SDG 13 – Climate action: 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.

SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions: 16.2 End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children; 16.4 By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows; 16.a Strengthen relevant national institutions to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime.

Internal affairs policy in the National Sustainable Development Strategy by 2030

In reference to the most significant issues concerning the internal affairs policy, the National Sustainable Development Strategy by 2030, as the implementing document for the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development by 2030 in Montenegro, emphasises the rights and the situation of migrants, fight against organised crime, particularly trafficking in human beings and illegal arms flows. A whole NSDS section deals with disaster risk reduction, particularly regarding the financial and strategic framework for responding to all types of natural disasters.

Strategic goal 1.1 Improve demographic trends and reduce demographic deficit

Measure 1.1.2 Prevent and mitigate the effects of migrations SDG 10 (10.7)- targets:

  • National migration strategy in place
  • Migration balance achieved

Strategic goal 2.3 Develop the state as an efficient rule of law

Measure 2.3.2 Ensure conditions for eradication of corruption, organized crime, crime and terrorism SDG 16 – targets:

  • Trafficking in human beings eliminated in Montenegro
  • Illicit money and arms flows through Montenegro put to an end

Strategic goal 3.6 Mitigate the impacts of natural and man-made hazards a

Measure 3.6.1 Improve the understanding of hazard risk; Measure 3.6.2 Strengthen institutional framework for hazard risk management; Measure 3.6.3 Invest into risk reduction and strengthening resilience of natural and social system; Measure: 3.6.4 Improve readiness for response to emergencies and restoration through recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. The above measures are linked with the following targets:

  • The trend of increasing allocations from the state budget for research of hazard impacts and hazard risk management
  • The total of 4 action plans for different types of emergencies adopted and operational by 2021
  • Parameters and indicators for the monitoring of hazard impact and hazard risk management developed
  • Hazard risk management, emergency and climate change adaptation plans in place and applied
  • Systems for coordinated actions of competent bodies in emergencies and for preparation of risk management and climate change adaptation plans established.
Political Copenhagen criteria Political criteria are a part of the "Fundamentals first" approach as one of the3 main pillars of the 2015 EU Enlargement Strategy.
EU acquis chapters

Obligations in the EU accession process

An overview of obligations from negotiation chapters

The internal affairs policy, referred to in accession talks with the EU in the areas of justice, liberty and security, is primarily relevant for meeting the political criteria among the so-called Copenhagen Criteria as set by the European Council in 1993.

Internal affairs are included in the EU Acquis chapter Justice, freedom and security, which is together with chapter 23 Judiciary and fundamental rights, the basis underpinning the negotiation framework between Montenegro and the EU defined in 2012, and the first two chapters with which Montenegro commenced its accession negotiations [1]. According to the EU’s General Position for Negotiations with Montenegro, these two chapters set the overall pace of progress in negotiations due to their links with the shared EU values, and the fact that possible lack of progress in meeting the benchmarks in these two chapters may slow down the whole accession process. Montenegro’s focus in internal affairs is on attaining European standards, primarily through meeting the interim benchmarks, recommendations from action plans, and the recommendations given by the EU expert missions, and alignment with the EU strategic framework

Particularly worth mentioning is the collaboration with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (also known as FRONTEX) on addressing border issues, prevention of illegal migration, transboundary crime and readmission of persons illegally staying in Montenegro.

Chapter 24 – Justice, freedom and security

Interim benchmarks for Chapter 24 concerning the alignment with the EU requirements in the area of legal and illegal migration, asylum, visa policy, Schengen and external borders. Particularly extensive are the obligations stemming from the interim benchmarks concerning police cooperation and fight against organised crime, terrorism and illicit drug trafficking.

The recommendations within the Action Plan for Chapter 24 concern migration, asylum, visa policy, external borders and Schengen. The migration policy, given the global developments and the challenges faced by the EU and the region, in conjunction with the introduction of the Schengen information system and other IT innovations required in the EU, call for substantial investments.

Some aspects of internal affairs are also covered by Chapter 27- Environment and Climate Change

The National Strategy for Transposition, Implementation and Enforcement of the Environment and Climate Acquis with the accompanying Action Plan 2016-2020 constitutes a comprehensive strategic framework for Chapter 27 – Environment and climate change, together with the subchapter– Civil protection. To align fully with the EU acquis, Montenegro is working hard in improving its administrative capacities to harmonise its national civil protection system with the standards and good practices of the EU member states. Technical and material resources are in need of improvement, primarily through further equipping and training of civil service staff and other relevant staff to be prepared for efficient support in disaster risk reduction. Going forward, it will also be required to build the necessary capacities for timely and sound national risk assessment, risk management and assessment of own capacities for managing risks.


EC Montenegro Report notes progress made within Chapter 24 primarily in judicial cooperation, fight against organised crime, money laundering, financial investigations and temporary seizure of criminal assets. The recommendations concern the need for further activities in fight against organised crime, human trafficking and tobacco smuggling. Special emphasis was given to the need to build capacities to deal with migration flows and social integration of refugees. In reference to Chapter 27, and more specifically civil protection, it was noted that Montenegro has a strategic framework for disaster risk reduction in place. The need for Montenegro to contribute more to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, where Montenegro has been a member since 2015, and to connect with other EU-level systems and services.

An outline of the EU strategic framework

EU Integrated Border Management Strategy introduces the new concept of integrated border management based on 11 strategic components and 3 cross-cutting issues, which have to be covered when developing and operationalising national border management strategy papers

2015 European Agenda on Migration addresses immediate challenges the EU is facing concerning migration primarily by defining better management of illegal migration flows, borders, asylum and legal migrations in the medium- to long-term.

European Agenda on Security with the primary focus on fight against terrorism, organised crime and cyber-crime and associated areas with prominent cross-border dimension, where joint EU-level action may yield substantial results.

2018 EU Strategy against illicit firearms, small arms and light weapons (SALW) and their ammunition aims at preventing and curbing illicit trade in arms and promotes responsible and rational actions in legal arms trade.

European pact to combat international drug trafficking (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/organized-crime-and-human-trafficking/drug-control_en) aims to ensure greater level of coordination among EU member states and leverage resources in curbing illicit drug trafficking.

The EU Strategy Towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016 supplemented in 2017 with Reporting on the follow-up to the EU Strategy towards eradication of trafficking in human beings and identifying further concrete actions, which identifies key areas of intervention with the aim of interrupting human trafficking flows and mechanisms.

White Paper Safe Roads by 2050 setting the long-term goal of zero fatality in traffic accidents by 2050;

EU Priorities 2020-2030 focuses on legislative developments and increased safety of road transport participants at highest risk.

[1] AD 23/12  CONF –ME 20/12  GENERAL EU POSITION Ministerial meeting opening the Intergovernmental Conference on the Accession of Montenegro to the European Union (Brussels, 29 June 2012)

International indicators

Global Report on Trafficking in Persons

for 142 countries, covers all issues related to human trafficking

IOM World Migration Report

overview of global trends and issues in migrations

Global Passsport Power Rank

Global overview of freedom of movement

Freedom House-Freedom in the World

Overview of level of freedom in 201 countries and territories worldwide

The Human Freedom Index-Cato Institute

Global overview of human freedom based on individual, civil and economic rights

Democracy Index

Based on civil liberties, the operation of the executive power and free elections

Internal affairs in Montenegro’s strategic framework

In the internal affairs policy area, falling primarily under the remit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in line with the priorities set in the National Security Strategy adopted in 2018, as the overarching document whose adoption is envisaged by the Constitution, the largest emphasis is given to the development of an efficient and sustainable national security system, prevention and suppression of threats and challenged that may affect Montenegro’s security, and the need to further build resilience, civil preparedness and crisis management abilities.

The significance of the policy is well illustrated by the Medium-term Government Work Programme 2018-2020 in the section covering fight against organised crime by increasing the number of dismantled organised crime groups and resolved crimes. The aim is also to increase performance regarding prevention of smuggling, drug abuse and drug seizures. The emphasis is also on improving the system of integrated border management by embracing international standards with the EU IBM system and for accession to the Schengen area, building the border infrastructure, border crossing points and local border traffic with neighbouring countries. The MTGWP also envisages actions to reduce traffic accidents, casualties and fatalities. In addition, the emphasis is on improving the system of protection and rescue through purchase of equipment, participation to exercises, training, improvement of collaboration with operational protection and rescue units.

Within this policy area, special importance is attached to border and migration policy as defined within the Integrated Border Management Strategy 2020-2024 and the Schengen Action Plan, in the section concerning alignment with the pertinent EU Acquis. The collaboration between Montenegro and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the Status Agreement with the European Union enabling deployment of Frontex teams along Montenegro’s border with the EU is of primary importance.

Given both the contemporary geopolitical trends and the fact that the migration policy is at the heart of the EU interest, for Montenegro it is of particular importance to ensure respect for migrant rights, strengthen cooperation and coordination between the authorities at the local and the central level, as well as the international and nongovernmental organisations dealing with migrants and returnees under Readmission Agreements, which is one of the key pillars of this policy. Currently, the issues of integrated migration management and readmission are addressed through two different strategy papers (Strategy for Reintegration of Persons Repatriated under Readmission Agreements 2016-2020 and the IBM Strategy 2017-2020) but the proposal is, in line with the good policy planning principles, to come up with a single document in the following policy cycle to tackle both issues.

Promoting good neighbourly relations and regional and international cooperation is one of the cornerstones of this policy, with the particular focus on the Wester Balkan countries on all security-related matters. The arms and ammunition control is an example of such cooperation, where Montenegro fully honours all its regional (Berlin Process) and international commitments, particularly through the implementation of the SALW Strategy 2019-2025.

Prevention, reduction and proper response to various natural and man-made disasters, primarily through building capacities of state institutions and the society at large, is another important pillar in this policy area, particularly through the implementation of the Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy 2018-2023, which includes a set of international commitments under the UN Sendai Framework.

Some of the major themes translated into the legal framework from this policy area include: while the strategy papers primarily aspire to preserve public security, fight organised crime, ensure border security, align the legal framework with the EU Acquis and strengthen internal setup and integrity of the Police Directorate, this policy is pursued through the Law on Internal Affairs which, among other things, sets the bases for police operation. Particularly prominent position is devoted to strengthening the activities of the police in combating discrimination of vulnerable groups and greater representation of women within the Police Directorate. Strengthening Police Directorate’s organisational and staffing capacities, particularly to combat organised crime, human trafficking in particular, is the main aspect of internal affairs policy. The existing policy framework sets the basic measures concerning prevention, training of staff and detection of human trafficking victims. All of the above led to the increase in the number of identified and prosecuted human trafficking cases, 30 cases in 2018. Setting up a traffic system that is to ensure the expected level of quality, together with the constant decrease of the number of both road traffic accidents and fatalities and casualties (reduce fatalities by 50% by the end of 2020), is another policy priority.

Other policy areas in the same sector