0.4% has created a new country. The people of Montenegro have voted Yes to independence, with a 55.4% vote in favour, just 0.4% over the 55% needed for the vote to be valid.
Is this a good thing? I don't know. Something that makes me a bit sad it that one of the main arguements of the yes vote was that an independent Montenegro may be able to gain a quicker entry into the European Union. Especially as the Serbian version of Where's Wally (Aren't those Intepol pictures shoddy, no wonder they have been found yet!), which is currently stalling their entry, is showing no signs of coming to an end. While I can see the economic benefits of EU membership for such a small country, I'm uneasy about it being held up as the glittering prize, to be attained at any cost. Also, does EU membership enable a country to be truly independent? The benchmark figure of 55% needed for the referendum vote to be valid was set by: The EU.
I am not a nationalist, but this has been a debate on national identity and it seems strange logic to become a smaller box just to join a bigger one.
Another worry, is that this may cause further instability in the Balkans (Googling that phrase gets over 15000 hits), if Republika Srpska decides that it want independence too.
So what will happen next? Stay tuned for the next episode of the Balkan soap opera.
(P.S that last point is poking fun at the world view of the Balkans, not the region itself)
Good blog here.