The EU Commisioner for enlargement Olli Rehn and the Montenegrin Prime Minister Zelko Sturanovic have recently signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Montenegro and the EU in Podgorica. Thus the official Podgorica gained a perspective of membership; however, its realization depends on their own ability to implement the contents of the adopted document. Negotiations concerning the agreement lasted for more than a year and a half, i.e. also while Montenegro was in a joint state with Serbia. The assumptions concerning whether the smallest Balkan state (700,000 inhabitants) with weak economy and frequent conflicts with pro-Serbian opposition will be able to overcome this role, lasted up to June 2006, when Montenegro declared independence. Revival of the independent state disposed Montenegro of their biggest problem – of Belgrade`s control and of its “game” with international community, with the tribunal in Haag, the Netherlands, and with general Ratko Mladic, but also of the issue of Kosovo. All this was slowing down the process of negotiations between the former federation of Serbia and Montenegro and the EU, however nowadays it is a concern of independent Serbia only. Thus was completed almost a decade-lasting conflict between Serbia and Montenegro, which broke out in 1997, when the Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Dukanovic refused further obeyance to the Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic. The conflict went on during the Vojislav Kostunica`s term of office at the position of Serbian President, until it came to the epilogue which Montenegro was wishing for so long. Thus Serbia is not a holdout of the independent way of Montenegro any more, but neither Belgrade can be permanently accused of all the unsuccess of Podgorica.
However, there is no space for euphoria, because disregarding the signed agreement showing that Montenegro is on a good way, we still do not know the exact time when Podgorica will knock on Europe`s door. The real work is just beginning and only implementing the regulations of the agreement will show if Montenegro is able to meet the conditions of the EU membership. Montenegro has been already clearly adviced by Brussels to streamline its administration system as soon as possible, as well as to intensify their fight against crime and corruption and to investigate again controversial cases of privatization.
On the other hand, it is important that according to the new constitution, the new official language will not be Serbian, but Montenegrin. It seems as if Serbian and former Serbo-Croatian did not exist for Podgorica. Yet according to Belgrade, Montenegrin is only an artificially fabricated language, which does not exist from historical point of view. This has been recently declared by a prominent Serbian writer and scholar Dragoslav Mihailovic in Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. At the same time he stated that behind the fabrication of the „non-existing” Montenegrin language, which is created without approval of Montenegrin Serbs, there is an effort of “racistically oriented Montenegrins” to bring a “Montenegrin variety” or “Serbo-Montenegrin” language revision into Serbian language. In every case, current Montenegrin will be written in Roman alphabet, unlike modern Serbian, where cyrillic and Roman alphabet is used paralelly.
The so-called “Serbo-Croatian language”, which still has its devoted supporters in the highest institutions of Serbia and which in the past made Serbian a “dialect”, caused that current Serbian occured only in the second place in the sequence of the linguists` interests. “In no case must we forget that in the 20th century, in the greatest tragedy, Serbia was lead by a Croatian Josip Broz Tito together with crypto-Montenegrins Aleksandar Karadordevic and Slobodan Milosevic”, stressed Mihailovic. Aleksandar Karadordevic, “brought up at his grandfather`s, the King Nikola in Montenegro, deposed his elder brother from the seat of a throne successor and took over his hereditary title”. According to his opinion, thus begun the new history of Serbia, in which “over the last century nothing has been done except fighting”. Scholars Jovan Cvijic and Aleksandar Belic would flatter the king Aleksander “in order to place the foundations of the state he was trying to establish in its geographical center – near Montenegro”. Therefore Cvijic placed the core of Serbian culture to regions outside of Serbia, although they did not deserve this appraisal. Thus the cradle of literary language did become neither Belgrade, nor Novi Sad, not even the biggest part of present Serbia, but the “geographical center” of the state projected by Aleksandar Karadordevic. This science did not work for Serbia, but for the others. According to the scholar Mihailovic, “mysterious war against Serbia” is lead from similar positions also at present, by the Department of Language and Literature of Serbian Academy of Sciences (Matija Ivic, Predrag Palavestra and Niksa Stipcevic). Two of its members (Matija Beckovic and Predrag Palavestra) are also members of the Crown Council of the Karadordevic dynasty.
“As for the issue of language, as well as in other spheres, it is unreal to expect that Serbia will love Montenegro more than itself. Serbian science controlled by the Academy of Sciences and Art has to act for the sake of Serbia above all, not for the sake of someone else. The rest, disregarding their importance, should come only after Serbia, because only in Serbia lives a nation essential for the existence all Serbs and thus it cannot be exchanged for any other nation, as the Montenegrins wish.” Such Mihailovic`s opinions, without any consideration of their partly relativization from the side of Belgradian philologists, give evidence of a reversible process during which power centers are shifted to disadvantage of dominating concepts proceeding from Montenegrin myths claiming that “Montenegrin giants devoted their entire powers to endurance of the Serbian line”. Serbian nation has preserved “Serbian folk dance”, while the “crypto-Montenegrins and councellors as Aleksandar Belic and Jovan Cvijic, as well as their predecessors Duro Danicic, were in the service of alien policy”. The Vienna (1850) and Novi Sad (1954) Agreements, which defined a unified and joint language for Serbs, Croatians and Montenegrins, were “absolutely malign and unnecessary acts for the Serbian side: through these agreements the only (Serbian) language was devided into a Serbian and a Croatian part, or into Ikavian and Ekavian dialect. The Matica hrvatska surrendered the contract in 1972 and what was considered a Zagrebian variety of Serbo-Croatian language was declared the Croatian language. On the other hand, prominent Serbian linguists Milke Ivic and Pavle Ivic were claiming for several decades that Serbo-Croatian has two varieties – the Belgradian and the Zagrebian, the Eastern and the Western, the Serbian and the Croatian”, claims Belgradian linguist Peter Milosavlevic. There is not even a theoretical chance that it would be possible to reach a Serbian-Montenegrin language agreement and to create a joint Serbian-Montenegrin ortography. In development of “Serbistics”, which has supressed “Serbo-Croatistics” in Belgrade, prevails considerable animosity also toward Vienna and Novi Sad agreements as well as toward any new language agreement. There are several concepts of Serbistics. For one group of philologists, the establishers of current Serbian language are Vuk Karadzic, Stojan Novakovic and Ljubomir Stojanovic, who set Shtokavian dialect as the basis of standard Serbian; according to the second group, “the basis on which our language is developing is not the rural language of Vuk Karadzic any more; it is the language of Belgrade youth, which at present determins future development of all the languages in question – from Croatian and Bosnian to the most recent one – Montenegrin” (Milka Ivic, a linguist and Milorad Ekmecic, a historian). Neither with the “rural language of Vuk, nor with the language of Belgrade youth can Montenegro identify itself from the language point of view, therefore the process of ‘Montenegrization’ of the Belgradian youth`s language or Serbian language is the same as a revival of Serbo-Croatian, which in fact is Croatian”, says Belgradian linguist Milos Kovacevic. Eventually we can say that what is happening in present Serbia in the sphere of language discussions is an indication, that Serbian society is aware of the fact that disintegration of Yugoslavia is irreversible, and that they identify themselves with it.
If the “Montenegrin idiom” is not the issue, but it is the “Montenegrization” of the Serbian idiom which is controversial, Montenegro does not have the choice between the Serbian and the Montenegrin language, but between the Montenegrin language and the Montenegrin dialect. Dialectic statute of Montenegrin is degrading for Montenegrins; on the other hand the Montenegrins who believe that they will manage with a Montenegro with European aspirations it is unacceptable, because the denomination of their language, which is ommited in the standard of Serbian language, would determine their non-Montenegrin identity. Designation of the official language as Serbian in Montenegrin constitution would be suitable neither on one, nor on the other side. Montenegro does not aspire to any interruption of the “development of Serbian”, and Serbian official language would make Montenegro rather distant than closer to Serbia. Even if the refused proposal to implement the mentioned Ekavian variety or the dialect of “unified language” was accepted in the Republic of Srpska in Bosnia, still the language used by Montenegrin Serbs is neither the Belgradian, nor the Zagrebian, not even the Sarajevan variety. The process which Belgrade, Zagreb and Sarajevo went through cannot be stopped in Podgorica without it becoming an oasis of linguistic and probably also social anachronism.
The basis of the Vienna Agreement was a Yugoslavian idea, while the Novi Sad Agreement was based on the Yugoslavian Federation. However also during the Federation, distinctiveness of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of local ortography was accepted. Even in the 1950s and 1960s the whole Bosnia and Herzegovina was using ortography elaborated by Jovo Vukovic. Yet it is also true that no nation using English, French or Spanish language makes changes in the language and that such changes are not included in any of the documents of the UN, UNESCO or OSCE. However, it is also true that not a single document accepts a theory, according to which a single word, being an ekvivalent to the pronoun „what” (shto, kaj, cha – „what” in individual dialects of former Serbo-Croatian language, i.e. in the territory of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro) would determine the denomination of the language and by means of which one should determine the national identity of spiritual space and its inhabitants. In case that the denomination of language determins also the nationality, then Serbs, Croatians, Bosnians and Montenegrins did not have a choice. They changed the name of their language, but not their nationality. The hereditary mistake of “Serbian” lays in not accepting the fact that in European history it has already happened that one language developed into several new languages. “Serbistics” keeps struggling for the failed doctrine of the language unity. It proceeds from linguistic factor rather than from political geography. Individuals as well as groups can denominate their language freely, but that does not apply to a state. The state cannot rename Montenegrins to Serbs by declaring Serbian as the official language, but it can neither question the right of Montenegrins for their own identity by means of language. In relation to other Montenegrin citizens – Serbs, Croatians, Bosnians and Albanians, who have a right for a national language and a national identity, it is an act of discrimination of Montenegrins. The discrimination is unequivocally insustainable. The “state-forming nation”, as Serbs who come from Montenegro call themselves, does not surrender itself, but turns to itself, in case the conflict between the name and the character of their language is overcome.