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Montenegro’s SEPA membership bid: Impact and potential

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In mid-March of this year, the Central Bank (CBCG) of Montenegro submitted a draft application to the European Commission (EC) for Montenegro’s accession to the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA). A preliminary opinion from the EC on the fulfillment of the criteria necessary to operate within this area is now anticipated.

Andrija Jovović, Director of the Payment System Department at the CBCG, shared this information with “Vijesti.” SEPA promises faster and more efficient execution of payment transactions with significantly lower costs for citizens, the economy, and the state.

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SEPA is a unified zone where consumers, businesses, and public authorities can conduct transactions in euros under the same conditions, rights, and obligations. It covers 27 EU member states, three non-EU states in the European Economic Area, and six states whose territory has been extended to the SEPA area.

CBCG’s submission of the draft application marks a significant step, making it the first institution from the Western Balkans to take this initiative. Governor Irena Radović’s sharing of the draft application with colleagues from other central banks in the region underscores the collaborative effort to encourage other Western Balkan countries to follow suit.

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The document represents the culmination of intensive efforts by the CBCG and other involved institutions to compile a comprehensive description of the fulfillment of all individual criteria. While awaiting the EC’s preliminary opinion, CBCG remains committed to facilitating the process and providing necessary support for Montenegro’s integration into SEPA.

Jovović emphasized the potential benefits of joining SEPA, including reduced transaction costs, enhanced speed of transfers, and increased inclusion in electronic payments. He noted that SEPA membership could also strengthen Montenegro’s ties with the EU and further its progress towards EU accession.

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