This article analyses the referendum on independence in Montenegro 21 May 2006. It argues that the 2002 EU-brokered State Union of Serbia and Montenegro by 2006 had become a non-functional state and a source of discord which distracted attention from the urgently needed reform processes in both republics. Due to the deep splits in Montenegro over independence, a new EU engagement to help resolve the issue once and for all and in a stable and democratic way, was needed.
The pre-referendum negotiations succeeded due to skilful diplomacy and insistence on European values and principles in the legislative framework. As a result, the referendum proved that even the most contentious and sensitive issues can be resolved with democratic means in the Western Balkans.
The EU engagement in this case could be characterized as ?postmodern diplomacy?, because the engagement was aimed directly to an internal situation in another country; because the main asset provided was European legal and political principles; and because the EU included other international organizations (the CoE and OSCE) in the negotiations.European Foreign Affairs Review