Due to economic, climatic, but also political reasons, Montenegro has become a desirable place for Germans to live.
This is what Michel Bader, a German who has been living in the Bar settlement of Utjeha for fifteen years and is often the first contact of German citizens with Montenegro, told Vijesti.
– There are economic as well as other motives. The tax in Montenegro is much lower than in Germany, but that is nothing new, it has been like that for years. Since I’ve been here, fewer people have come for that very reason. In Montenegro, the tax is 9 to 15%, and here in Germany it can be more than 50%. The second motive is political. This was shown in the previous two years. There are people who are no longer satisfied with the way politics is conducted in Germany, that’s why they leave it and think that they will have a better life here, more freedom. There are also those who want to live by the sea. It’s a kind of privilege for me after all these years – says Bader, tourism worker and president of the Future of Montenegrin Tourism foundation.
An example of the school In Mrkojevići
And that the decades-long practice is changing, i.e. that it is no longer an unwritten rule that only people from this area go to Germany with a belly full of bread, is confirmed by the data of the Mrkojevići Elementary School, in the Bar suburb of Pečurice – out of 349 students, 45 have foreign citizenship, and 24 comes from a German speaking area.
In every grade, says school director Osman Grgurević, there are students who immigrated from Germany, and the most of them are in the second and fourth grades.
According to Bader’s data, there are currently 800 Germans in Montenegro with various types of permits. Most of them, he says, are in Bar and Ulcinj, followed by Budva, Tivat and Podgorica.
News from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP) was unable to obtain data on the number of permits issued during the previous year…
German pensioner lives like a king
Bader says that a large number of pensioners have moved to Montenegro, who are unable to “make ends meet” with their German income.
– Pensioners have a problem because they cannot survive with the average pension of 1,400 euros that they receive there. I know several pensioners who sold real estate, cars and came to Montenegro, bought a house. Their pension goes to a Montenegrin giro account, and for those 1,400 euros he lives like a king here – explains Bader and gives the example that the price of a kilowatt of electricity in Germany is 50 cents, while here it is 10.
However, although they choose to live and spend money in Montenegro, they earn it in Germany and abroad.
– They more or less all work as digital nomads. They have their clients in Germany and all over the world. With those earnings, it is not a problem for them to survive in Montenegro.
Escape from the crowd and standard
In addition to choosing to live near the sea, Germans buy real estate and settle in suburban areas in order to escape the crowds and have their own autonomy, explains Bader.
– I think they especially want to live a little more in nature, not to be in crowds. These are mostly people who lived in bigger cities in Germany. It’s probably completely different for them now. In a way, they want to “run away” from civilization, from the crowd. They want to have autonomy, their own garden, potatoes, tomatoes, water well, to produce electricity through solar panels. That if there are any problems here, they can survive.
Bader estimates that a family of four in Germany needs EUR 3,000 to survive, which many do not have.
– A family with two children and all monthly expenses can hardly survive on less than EUR 3,000. Heating prices are huge. We have a situation where people who used to pay 100 euros for gas are now paying 500 euros per month just for heating. Let’s not talk about electricity… Here, if you have your own house or apartment, electricity costs are 30 to 40 euros per month.
Bader estimates that the immigration trend will continue if the political situation in Germany does not change. He adds that the war in Ukraine also has an impact on all of this because, he believes, even if the war ends, energy prices will not fall.
– There are also people who are not satisfied here, but according to the inquiries I still receive every day, it seems to me that the trend continues.
Few energy tourists due to regulations
Bader adds that he receives a lot of questions from so-called “energy tourists”, who would come to Montenegro for six months, spend the winter and thus avoid paying high bills at home.
– There are a lot of them with that request and there could be many more of them in Montenegro if the residence problem was solved. I have so many inquiries from people who want to escape from cold Germany for six months. I have no offer for those people. If I work seriously, I have to tell them that after three months they have to leave Montenegro for three months.
The language barrier Is the only but solvable problem at school
Grgurević explains that, according to the laws, the procedure for enrolling in the school is simple, so students are immediately involved in regular work upon arrival.
– Although we expected that such a large number of students from other speaking areas could create certain problems in the organization of work, considering that the school does not have a psychologist or pedagogue, this did not come true. The students mostly fit into the new environment, they were completely accepted by their peers.
And in order to remove the language barrier, both teachers and children work hard.
Grgurević says that they are greatly helped by modern means of communication that enable translation, and that children acquire and master part of the knowledge more easily through play.
– In addition to regular classes, these students also have two weekly supplementary classes that help them learn our language more easily. Students progress in language learning at different paces, so teachers try to adapt communication and expectations to their level of understanding. Department heads are in daily communication with parents.
He points out that the school has the necessary spatial and organizational capacities and that there was no need for changes in the organization of teaching.
Bader confirms that the parents are satisfied with the school, the principal and the teachers. He says that he recently visited the school and students with his parents, who were well received.
– The parents are very satisfied with the way things are done at the school, they are satisfied with the teachers and the school director. There is a language barrier, but a course, additional classes, was created in order to overcome it as soon as possible. I heard that other schools also use the same model. The largest number of these children are in first and second grade, that’s the right time for them to learn, then it goes quickly. They will make friends and I don’t think that should be a big problem.