Croats in Montenegro live along the shores of the historic Croatian region of the Bay of Kotor. Similar to Croats living in the region of Srijem, they are part of the Croatian ethnic territory which, due to historical circumstances, has been separated from the motherland of Croatia. Most Croats live at Tivat, Kotor, Herceg Novi, Budva and Bar. The status of the Montenegro Croats has significantly improved by the establishment of the Croatian state. The Republic of Croatia has contributed to the improvement of the status of its Croatian minority. In the beginning of January, 2000, the Republic of Croatia opened the Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in Montenegro. This act was of moral, political, economic, social and cultural significance. The Consulate has a strong psychological significance for the Croats in the Boka region given that it also signifies the support of the homeland country of Croatia. According to the latest census conducted in October 2003 there are 7,062 Croats in Montenegro. However, some analyses indicate that there might be 10,000 Croats in Montenegro, and some even estimate a larger number of Croats living in Montenegro.
Croats in Montenegro have a status of a recognized national minority. On 14 January 2009, an additional step in building stronger and better relationship, i.e. the Agreement on the Protection of the Croatian minority in the Republic of Montenegro and the Montenegrin minority in Croatia respectively was signed in Zagreb, by Mr. Gordan Jandroković, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Croatia and Mr. Milan Roćen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro. The Agreement provides the framework for the implementation of minority rights of the Croats in Montenegro and the Montenegrins living in Croatia.
Associations, publishing and media
In December in 2001, the elective assembly of the Croatian Civic Society of Montenegro was held at Kotor. The association has over 1,000 registered members. Side by side with the Croatian Civic Society there are 13 other associations bearing the Croatian name. They all have the same goal, i.e., the protection and the implementation of all rights that Croats, as an indigenous minority, are entitled to, and in accordance with international documents and democratic standards. On May 24, 2003, the Croatian Civic Initiative (HGI) became a political party, i.e., the same year when the Founding Board of the HGI was held. This is the first political party to appear after 65 years in Montenegro and having the Croatian name. 76 of its founders attended the assembly. For the first time in history, during the last parliamentary elections in Montenegro, the Croats from the Croatian Civic Initiative elected their representative for the Parliament of Montenegro.
The Croatian National Council in Montenegro (www.hnvcg.me)
During the first session of the Council, held on January 30, 2008 at Tivat, coordinators were elected who will henceforth manage the work of the Council until the election of the Board members of the Council. The Croatian National Council, following the adoption of its statute on April 21 2008, elected all the bodies of the Council, as foreseen by the statue. Out of 17 Council members 16 were present, who in turn, by secret ballot, elected their president, the vice president and the secretary of the Council. The objectives of the Council are: protecting and promotion of interests of the Croatian minority in the territory of Montenegro.