Books on Serbia & Montenegro
% of GDP
The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was formed in 1918; its name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929. Occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941 was resisted by various partisan bands that fought themselves as well as the invaders. The group headed by Marshal TITO took full control upon German expulsion in 1945. Although communist in name, his new government successfully steered its own path between the Warsaw Pact nations and the West for the next four and a half decades. In the early 1990s, post-TITO Yugoslavia began to unravel along ethnic lines: Slovenia, Croatia, and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia all declared their independence in 1991; Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. The remaining republics of Serbia and Montenegro declared a new "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" in 1992 and, under President Slobodan MILOSEVIC, Serbia led various military intervention efforts to unite Serbs in neighboring republics into a "Greater Serbia." All of these efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. In 1999, massive expulsions by Serbs of ethnic Albanians living in the autonomous republic of Kosovo provoked an international response, including the NATO bombing of Serbia and the stationing of NATO and Russian peacekeepers in Kosovo. Blatant attempts to manipulate presidential balloting in October of 2000 were followed by massive nationwide demonstrations and strikes that saw the election winner, Vojislav KOSTUNICA, replace
Update No: 086 - (30/06/04)
Results of the presidential elections, held on June 13th and 27th, ended with the reformer Boris Tadic well ahead of Tomislav Nikolic, his rival, and a radical nationalist. Tadic gained 53,7% of the vote, against 45% for Nikolic in the crucial second round, although he had trailed Nikolic in the first 28%- 31%.
Tadic belongs to the party of former premier, Zoran Djindjic, who was assassinated by nationalists in March 2003. Nikolic belongs to the Serbian Radical Party, supporters of disgraced former leader Slobodan Milosevic. The shade of Djindjic has won out over the Spirit of Milosevic.
Serbia has finally got a president, a post that was empty for over a year, due to failure of the turn-out in previous elections. The requirement to reach 50% turn-out was scrapped by parliament to guarantee a result. In fact the turn-out in the second round was 48%.
For a long time, Serb Premier Kostunica's greatest ambition has been to become president of Serbia himself. Kostunica, who shot to world prominence on 5 October 2000 when he took the reigns of power from Slobodan Milosevic, but has since proved himself slow to make decisions, had in fact considered standing, after the poor campaigning, as Kostunica saw it, of the reformist candidate. His partners in government, however, persuaded him to stay.
The EU pleased
A radical win would have meant a return to Milosevic-era isolation. The EU has given its blessing to the new elected leader.
The EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, has said he welcomed the election of Boris Tadic, a pro-EU reformer, as president. Solana described the man who emerged as the new president of Serbia as "a friend of Europe". "I welcome the outcome of yesterday's presidential elections," Solana said in a statement on June 28th.
Solana added: "Boris Tadic is a friend of Europe and I am looking to working with him in his new functions. The people of Serbia have clearly expressed their desire for a European future for Serbia. The EU stands ready to help them achieve this objective."
The trial of the suspects in the Djindjic murder case re-opened in mid-June after an adjournment for a month to allow Milorad "Legija" Lukovic, a 36-year-old former "Red Berets" special police commander and ex-member of the Foreign Legion, to prepare his defence before entering a plea.
Lukovic is on trial along with 12 suspected crime figures over the assassination of Djindjic, who was shot dead in broad daylight on March 12, 2003. The alleged crime boss surrendered In May after 14 months at large, sparking intense interest over what he will say about the murder of Serbia's first democratically elected leader since the fall of the autocratic Slobodan Milosevic.
The testimony in mid-June of Lukovic, the man police say orchestrated the assassination, seemed calculated to arouse strong feelings.. Before his court appearance, Lukovic's attorney had promised his client would provide "irrefutable evidence" proving who was behind the killing. Instead, Lukovic, known to his friends as "Legija" for his time in the French Foreign Legion, merely protested his innocence. He said that when he heard he was accused of the crime, "I told myself, Milorad, this must be some mistake. Sleep on it. Something has to be cleared up." He went into hiding to be safe, but now wants to clear the matter.
Far from clearing things up, though, Lukovic's testimony is likely to undermine further a trial that has already taken its share of pitfalls, from defence histrionics to witness intimidation. There are political repercussions as well. Lukovic took the stand in the middle of presidential elections that some hoped would help stabilize Serbia's fragile government. But the charges and counter charges over Djindjic's murder overshadowed the campaign. One candidate accused Djindjic's former ministers of being "accomplices" in the killing, a charge they hotly denied.
Lukovic could derail the trial altogether. Prosecutors were not able to interview him in preparing their indictment and now run the risk of being wrong-footed by his testimony, whatever its factual basis. Western diplomats and other analysts say Lukovic may have been motivated to carry out the assassination to prevent his arrest on war crimes and drugs charges, but concede that his evidence is likely to raise new obstacles to the prosecution.
The biggest beneficiary could be the Serbian Radical Party, whose leader, Vojislav Seselj, is now facing war-crimes charges in the Hague. Even though the Radicals failed to win the presidency, diplomats say the accusations now levelled against its reformist rivals, which have been backed by the current government, could turn back the political clock. Shortly before the trial got under way last December, Ostojic said he believed the proceedings would be "more important than the political situation and even the elections." That assessment is proving just about right.
FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Slovenians to invest in Montenegro
A Montenegrin economic delegation went to Slovenia recently, its aim being to increase the interest of Slovenian firms in investing into Montenegro, above all into tourism, banking and civil engineering, New Europe reported.
The firm Galeb from Izola is already working on the development of navigational tourism in Ulcinj, and Slovenia has the same project in mind for Bar. They want to use the great possibilities of development of the largest harbour in Montenegro, and they are prepared to invest over US$3m into the entire project. Istrabenz is also prepared to invest with the firm Hoteli Morje, which is interested in investing into hotel firms on the shore and into the tourist infrastructure such as marinas.
World Bank OKs 2 projects for Serbia and Montenegro
The World Bank's board of executive directors approve two credits for Serbia and Montenegro recently: The US$55m transport rehabilitation project, and the US$30m equivalent real estate cadastre and registration project, New Europe reported.
The turmoil of the last 12 years in Serbia and Montenegro, with different conflicts and their legacies in the form of economic sanctions and political and economic upheaval, have significantly contributed to the deterioration of physical, social and institutional infrastructure within the country. The transport sector and its infrastructure, including highways and railways, have been particularly affected.
The transport rehabilitation project will help to improve transport infrastructure in the country and to strengthen the Serbian transport sector's institutions. The project has two components. The first component is strengthening of the capacity of the Republic of Serbia Road Directorate (SRD). This will include technical assistance, training, services and provision of goods for strengthening SRD's information centre, including the improvement of computerised road and bridge databases for the main and regional road networks; strengthening of systems and procedures for planning and budgeting road expenditures; and improving the procurement and supervision of road works, among other things.
The project's second component is the enhancement of road maintenance, rehabilitation and safety. It will provide rehabilitation on seven main road network sections and main and regional road maintenance in the regions of Macva and Kolubara.
Measures to improve traffic safety will be included, such as improvements in road markings and signs, installations of crash barriers and modifications to dangerous intersections, amongst other things.
Henofarm expands to Russia with EBRD help
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is lending Hemofarm, the largest pharmaceutical producer in Serbia and Montenegro, 22m Euro to help the company expand to Russia, its largest export market. Hemofarm will use the loan to buy the new equipment and build a packaging and production pharmaceutical plant in Obninsk, a small town 100km southwest of Moscow. It will be among the first in Russia to comply with Good Manufacturing Practice standards, the international benchmark for producing pharmaceutical products.
The move to expand into Russia is part of Hemofarm's strategy to build on its existing strong distribution network in the country. With around 50% of export revenues under the Hemofarm brand generated by Russia, it is only natural to set up a new plant in this country, said Miodrag Babic, president of Hemofarm. By having a local presence, the company is aiming to further promote the Hemofarm brand in Russia.
The EBRD's role is essential to Hemofarm's strategy. The eight-year finance provided by the bank is currently unavailable from the local commercial loan market. The EBRD will, nevertheless, aim to syndicate half the loan to foreign commercial banks, a move that could establish strong links between the company and foreign banks that could result in long-term financing in the future. Olivier Descamps, Business Group Director for southern and eastern Europe and the Caucasus at the EBRD, said Hemofarm's aspirations to grow beyond its own borders fit in well with the Bank's strategy to promote cross-border investments.
The project is also expected to benefit Russia, through foreign direct investment into the country, as well as promoting competition in the Russian pharmaceutical sector. The EBRD loan builds on an existing relationship with Hemofarm. In 2002 the bank lent the company 18m Euro to help modernise and expand its facilities in Serbia and Montenegro. Established in 1960, the company specialises in generic pharmaceutical products. Dragica Pilipovic, EBRD director for Serbia and Montenegro, said Hemofarm has a dedicated management team and staff that are making the company a success story, one which the EBRD is happy to support. The EBRD is the largest investor in Serbia and Montenegro, with more than 500m Euro invested in 25 projects.
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