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: 084 - (29/04/04)
New nationalist government
The Serbs are ruefully sizing up their new situation. They have opted for nationalism once again, although it has scarcely done them any good in the past.
The Serbs are one of the very few people who relish their defeats. They celebrate the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 which was a spectacular defeat at the hands of the Turks, leading to centuries of subjection. In the 1990s Milosevic led his country to three defeats in a row, the last time in 1999 to the international community as a whole. The last thing Serbia needed was a nationalist saviour, one might have supposed. But not the Serb electorate.
The Radicals of firebrand Vojislav Seselj, in jail at the U.N. war crimes tribunal, came a clear first in December 28th's general election, and even fellow-indicted Slobodan Milosevic's Socialists did well. Still you cannot run Serbia from a Hague cell.
The Speaker of Parliament, Dragan Marsicanin, has appointed former president of the former Yugoslavia, Vojislav Kostunica, as premier. He has brought the G17 Plus and the Serbian Renewal Movement into a coalition with his own Democratic Party of Serbia, which might appear all right since he himself and the G 17 Plus were responsible for ousting Milosevic in October 2000. But the government will depend for its survival on the support of the latter's Socialists in parliament.
The partners in the alliance, plus the Socialists, control 131 of the 250 seats, just enough to conduct business. The extremist Radicals, the largest in the chamber on 82 seats, and the outgoing premier Zoran Zivkovic's Democratic Party on 37 seats make up the opposition.
No cooperation with the Hague
Soon after taking office, the new government faced a March 31 deadline from the U.S. Congress to show it was cooperating with the war crimes tribunal in the Hague at the risk of losing financial aid of $100m.It refused. The change of government in Serbia has brought about a new coalition, in which every party believes handing over more war criminals to the Hague is a mistaken course.
The West has made clear that Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb army commander charged with genocide, should be in custody if Belgrade wants to join NATO's Partnership for Peace cooperation program at the alliance's Istanbul summit in June But Kostunica will hold most power in the cabinet and he has a history of hostility towards the court. He once said it made his stomach turn.
Trouble continues in Kosovo, which has been de facto independent since the 1999 war. But Kostunica is a stubborn man and keen to show his gritty nationalism to his people. Montenegro is likewise independent in all but name. The goal of a Greater Serbia which Milosevic offered the Serbs in the early 1990s is in tatters. But the hopes engendered on the fall of Milosevic are similarly in shreds. Serbian politicians still fail to understand that international friendships and collaboration are vital for the progress of their economy and well-being of their people.
All of their Balkan neighbours can reasonably believe that it is a matter of time before they are joined into the EU. Not Serbia. If they continue in a self-imposed isolation insisting that it is the rest of the world that is out of step, the they could find themselves not near the bottom, as at present, but right at the bottom of European standards of living and being overtaken in time by all of their FYR
Deputy premier expects Serbia to join EU in 2010
Serbia's deputy prime minister predicted that the country would join the European Union in 2010, according to Radio B92 text web site.
Miroljub Labus said he expected foreign investment in Serbia this year to reach 400 million euros, adding that it was "not enough." Because of the political situation up until now and legal instability, many investors have revised decisions to invest in Serbia," he said in an interview.
FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Serbia and Slovenia seek to intensify trade
Slovenia and Serbia hope to bolster economic ties, and the Slovenian Economics Ministry has taken notice of the interest expressed by Slovenian companies in boosting investments in Serbia, Economics Minister, Tea Petrin, said after meeting with visiting Serbian Deputy PM, Miroljub Labus, Slovenia News reported recently.
Labus added that his country was entering the second phase of transition which will involve the restructuring of the economy and opening up to foreign investors. "In view of the latter, we've paid special attention to the possibilities for Slovenian investors, who were among the first to arrive on the Serbian market," Labus said. He explained that the two delegations also reviewed possibilities for the two countries to join forces in entering third markets. Labus said Serbia would like to quicken the pace of preparations for EU membership to make up for what it has missed in previous years.
Labus also met Slovenian Prime Minister, Anton Rop, for talks that were dedicated to strengthening business cooperation. In an address to Slovenian businessmen, Labus pledged that the Serbian government would continue carrying out economic reforms, calming fears that the new Serbian government may put reforms on the back burner.
World Bank extends credit for Serbia energy project
The World Bank board of directors approved on March 16th a US$21m-equivalent IDA credit in support of the Serbia Energy Efficiency Project, New Europe reported recently. The project aims to improve energy efficiency in heating buildings in order to make heating more affordable as well as improve the functional and health environment of the users.
An important associated objective is to reduce the local and global environmental impact of the use of dirty fuels for heating buildings in Serbia. The project will benefit students and education staff across Serbia by improving heating quality and in relevant cases improving air quality in renovated buildings.
The students, in particular, will benefit from the replacement of poorly designed and inadequate lighting with improved energy efficient lighting systems. It will also benefit health care professionals and patients by improving heating quality and in relevant cases improving air quality in selected buildings across Serbia, as well as Belgrade residents in neighbourhoods surrounding the Clinical Centre of Serbia, Belgrade. The project will also support municipalities which will save heating expenses for renovated school buildings and increase the life of the buildings and the health insurance fund which will save funds required to pay for heating expenses of the participating hospitals.
"In Serbia, inefficient use of energy is emerging as a major concern. Serbia's consumption of primary energy for every US dollar of GDP - a measure of energy intensity - is 13 times more than Germany, 10 times more than France, five times more than Slovenia, and twice that of Romania, thus reducing its competitiveness," said Mohinder Gulati, the World Bank's team leader for the project.
He further suggested that "reduction in energy consumption has to be achieved without reduction in derived benefits of the users. Improving efficiency in production as well as consumption of energy has to become a part of national agenda if Serbia wants to achieve a rapid reduction in its energy intensity."
Serbian mobile provider soon to be sold to foreigners, current owner says
Serbian Capital Investments Minister, Velimir Ilic, has announced a deal with business tycoon, Bogoljub Karic, on the sale of mobile telecommunications provider, Mobtel, to a foreign partner, Radio B92 text web site reported.
Karic, who heads the BK Group, has offered to hand over a percentage of his ownership in Mobtel in order to allow the deal to go through, and even announced the possibility of dropping charges against the state in a separate dispute. The state currently owns 49 per cent of the company, while the BK Group holds 51 per cent.
The millionaire told B92 that he had offered 6 per cent of his shares to the state, saying it was better to have a leading European operator as a partner than the state, which has shares in Mobtel's main competitor Telekom.
"We're ready to give up that 6 per cent on behalf of a European operator, the largest available, because it's certainly better to be with a European leader in the field, even with a lower share, than with the current partner," said Karic. "It's logical that it cannot be a majority shareholder in two companies, both Telekom and Mobtel."
A statement issued after the meeting said the state could earn around 500m euros from the sale of a majority stake in Mobtel. But Milan Culibrik, a journalist with Ekonomist magazine, said the figure was well below earlier estimates.
"Several months ago Bogoljub Karic offered the said 6 per cent to the state and estimated that Mobtel is worth US$1.5bn, meaning the state could get nearly US$900m. It's problematic that the sum mentioned now is 500m euros," he told B92.
"Recent events in Serbia, primarily political but also events in Kosovo, have not helped the price of Mobtel or Kosovo, or any other company in Serbia," he said.
Our analysts and
editorial staff have many years experience in analysing and reporting
events in these nations. This knowledge is available in the form of
geopolitical and/or economic country reports on any individual or grouping
of countries. Such reports may be bespoke to the specification of clients
or by access to one of our existing specialised reports.
For further information email: