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SERBIA & MONTENEGRO


 

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2002 2001 2000 Ranking(2002)
GDP
Millions of US $ 15,555 10,900 8,100 75
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,400 930 122
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Serbia & Montenegro

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
102,350

Population 
10,655,774

Capital 
Belgrade 

Currency 
New Dinar

President 
Boris Tadic

Private sector 
% of GDP 
40% 

  

Update No: 089 - (30/09/04)

Ruling coalition
When the reformer, Boris Tadic, became president earlier this year, it was feared that he would not find it easy to cohabit with the nationalist premier, Vojislav Kostunica. Actually they are getting on well, despite their differences.
The two top leaders of Serbia's two largest pro-reform parties have agreed to cooperate in the second round of local government elections October 3. President Tadic of the Democratic Party and Prime Minister Kostunica of the Democratic Party of Serbia announced the accord on September 25th after talks in Belgrade.
In many areas, coalition candidates will face those backed by Serbia's ultra-nationalist Radical Party whose leader, Vojislav Seselj, is currently in The Hague facing trial for war crimes during the Balkan conflict of the 1990s. 
In Belgrade, Democratic Party candidate Nenad Bogdanovic is facing Radical Party nominee Aleksandar Vucic in the runoff. 
The Otpor (Resistance) Movement, one of the symbols of resistance to the regime of Slobodan Milosivec, disappeared from the political scene in Serbia with its integration into the Democratic Party (Demokratska Stranka - DS).
In its attempts to survive on the political scene in the six years of its existence, Otpor underwent several transformations, including the period of action as a political party last year. There were earlier initiatives from Otpor officials to integrate in some of the leading political parties, one such initiative failed in mid-1999, when Boris Karajicic, one of the most prominent leaders of the movement, proposed integration with Momcilo Perisic's Movement for Democratic Serbia (Pokret za demokratsku Srbiju - PDS). Due to insurmountable differences in opinion, many prominent members left Otpor over the years and continued their political engagement in one or the other political party. As students' movement, Otpor was founded in October 1998 by a group of students at the Belgrade University, dissatisfied with the work of the existing academic organisations and the failed June 1998 protests against the restrictive Law on Universities in Serbia, which led to the firing of a great number of University professors.
The movement was joined by prominent personalities from all layers of society: university professors, lawyers and other professionals, culture and arts. The movement soon spread to many cities and towns in Serbia, and grew into a mass movement of political opponents to the Milosevic's regime. Members of Otpor wrote the popular tune "Gotov je" (He's done with!), the symbol of resistance to Milosevic and his clique. At first, the authorities in Serbia responded to Otpor actions with a media defamation campaign, claiming that Otpor was an enemy organisation. During the Election Campaign for the 2000 Elections, a great number of Otpor activists was arrested and tortured. During the bombing of then-Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Otpor froze its activities and many of its activists joined the Army reserves.
Prior to the fall of Milosevic's regime in the 2000 Elections, Otpor had close to 90,000 members. After the changes of October 5th, 2000, the membership has fallen to some 20,000. In February 2000, the students' movement Otpor held the founding assembly at which the name was changed to National Movement Otpor. Three months later, the movement transformed into an NGO with the same name. In November 2000, Otpor won the "Free Your Mind" MTV award for freedom of speech and respect for human rights.
Three years after the fall of Milosevic, Optor called the citizens of Serbia to gather again on October 5th, 2003, to express their dissatisfaction with the rule of the Democratic Opposition in Serbia (DOS). They publicly apologised to the citizens for the failure to be tougher on DOS actions.

Kosovo remains a problem; facing elections in October
About 2,000 troops from France, Germany and Italy will go to Kosovo in October to reinforce NATO peacekeepers before a potentially divisive election in the United Nations-run province. NATO's new Kosovo commander, Lt. Gen. Yves de Kermabon of France, said on September 13th, the reinforcements would be deployed in early October in an operation named "Determined Commitment." They will raise NATO strength to 20,000 troops or about one soldier for every 100 people in the territory, and will remain in Kosovo until the end of October.
"This shows the international community is willing to support this democratic process," de Kermabon said, referring to parliamentary elections set for October 23rd. The NATO-led peace force, KFOR, was heavily criticised for its slow response to devastating riots in March, when Albanian mobs impatient for independence from Serbia overran minority Serb enclaves guarded buy international peacekeepers. Nineteen people died and up to 800 homes were destroyed in the worst spasm of violence since NATO bombed Serbia in 1999 to halt a brutal crackdown against Kosovo's Albanian majority. The situation has since calmed, but Western diplomats and observers say there is still a danger of fresh violence. Kosovo goes to the polls in October in its second general election since the end of the 1998-99 war.
The Serb minority, encouraged by Belgrade, has threatened to boycott the vote due to its concerns over security and representation. Although governed by the United Nations, the impoverished province remains part of Serbia and Montenegro, a fact bitterly resented by the huge Albanian majority, who say the interim government should have far greater powers. The international community is expected to address the issue of Kosovo's "final status" by mid-2005. NATO has already taken steps to improve the flexibility of troops from 30 countries operating in Kosovo, such as providing additional riot gear.

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ENERGY

Kosovo government earmarks funds for state-run electricity supplier


The government of Kosovo decided at its regular meeting on August 31st to reallocate about 8.7m euros to the Kosovo Energy Corporation [KEK in Albanian], but refused to give it additional funds, KosovaLive web site reported.
The government adopted the decision after KEK officials presented the emergency measures for electricity supply during the 2004-05-winter season.
"KEK officials requested the reallocation of the financial resources that the government had set aside as additional means for energy until the year 2005," said Mimoza Kusari-Lila, the spokesperson from the prime minister's office.
According to her, the government has agreed to reallocate 8,669,000 euros to be used for operational purposes, including the importing of energy during the period the generators are undergoing servicing. On the other hand, the government made it clear that the KEK will not receive additional funding and has advised KEK management and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Kosovo of its decision.
"The KEK has not been given additional funding. This was done in order to avoid damaging capital investment projects envisaged in 2004," she said.
The prime minister has also suggested that bills should be paid for energy consumed. "The prime minister has said that there will be no exoneration from payment for any individual consumer or institution," the government said.
Some months ago, the government allocated 27m euros to the KEK from last year's surplus. 

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FOREIGN COOPERATION

Montenegro-China talks on maritime cooperation begin

Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic and Mayor of the Chinese port town of Qingdao Du Shicheng, who headed a business delegation of the Shendong province to Montenegro, said on August 23rd that the capacities of the Port of Bar and Free Customs Zone offered excellent conditions for maritime business cooperation, New Europe reported recently.
Vujanovic's office said in a statement that the visiting delegation had informed the Montenegrin president about an agreement on cooperation which Bar and Qingdao signed recently and speedy arrival of a Chinese business delegation that would work on its realisation. Political relations between Serbia and China are badly strained, due to the poor economic relations because of Belgrade's non-cooperation and incompetence, according to Dusan Janjic, coordinator of the Forum for Ethnic Relations and a founding member of the Chinese-Serbian Cooperation Society. Janjic said that the strain dates from a few years back, when China gave US$100m to the new government, which had taken office after October 5th, 2000, to be deposited with the National Bank of Yugoslavia (NBJ) with a view to strengthening the dinar and on condition that the money should be used for the specified purpose. However, said Janjic, then NBJ Governor Mladjan Dinkic deposited almost half the money with Russian banks that do not inspire confidence in business circles, for the sake of interest.

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FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION

Serbian premier, Romanian president agree on need to boost economic cooperation

Serbian Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica, said after talks with Romanian President, Ion Iliescu, that relations between the two countries were good, especially political relations, but added that their economic cooperation should be improved, FoNet news agency reported.
He said that the need to improve cooperation in the sphere of transport and an improvement and liberalization of the visa regime between the two countries had been discussed.
The premier also said that he had talked to the Romanian president about relations within the state union, adding that it had been concluded that anything that led to an improvement of the position of minorities was of great importance for relations between the two countries.


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