Books on Serbia & Montenegro
% of GDP
Update No: 092 - (01/01/05)
Under the presidency of Boris Tadic, his Democratic Party has decided to
continue preparations for early elections. The party says it will begin
campaigning for elections for the Serbian and federal parliaments. Tadic is
president of Serbia-Montenegro, while the premier is Vojislav Kostunica, the man
who brought down Milosevic in October 2000.
The party's review board met on December 18th to prepare a political and
economic programme for a new Serbian Government.
The party will also found a Statutory Commission which will examine the
orthodoxy of statements by the party's liberal-democratic faction.
"Members of the Democratic Party are obliged to respect the party statute,
and every infraction of the principles of the statute will be sanctioned in line
with the rules on discipline and responsibility," said the party in a
EU prospects conditional on cooperation with The Hague
Relations between Serbia and the Hague Tribunal must improve for
Serbia-Montenegro to make a rapid approach to Europe, the EU's foreign policy
chief, Javier Solana, said in mid-December. In a statement, Solana said that his
meeting with Prime Minister Kostunica showed that there was close contact
between Brussels and Belgrade.
Solana told the Belgrade authorities that they should not reject Brussels's
liberal offer of a two-track approach for Serbia and Montenegro, whose goal is
to facilitate an Agreement on Stabilisation and Association with the EU.
The meeting focused on the fate of the state union, according to Solana's press
representative, Christina Gallach. Solana reiterated his strong support for the
survival of Serbia-Montenegro and called on Kostunica to conduct a constructive
dialogue with leaders in both member states to find an acceptable resolution for
the outstanding issues.
Kostunica said after the meeting that he was aware that the EU's feasibility
study for Serbia-Montenegro depended on cooperation with The Hague and said that
he expected this problem to be resolved. "There is already cooperation and
the recent examples of surrender and of indictees being bailed pending trial are
reasons for optimism. Solana said that he is satisfied with these and that in
retrospect it can be seen that cooperation is developing in the bilateral way
which we support.
"Thus there have been two voluntary surrenders to The Hague, two defendants
have been released to defend themselves in freedom and I think that makes the
issue of meeting our obligations easier," said Kostunica.
It is a well-known fact, however, that Kostunica is not as keen as Tadic on
cooperation with The Hague. His remarks are to be taken as diplomatic. For, like
Tadic, he is a firm advocate of Serbian entry into the EU.
World Bank loans to the rescue
The World Bank has approved a three-year, US$550 million credit arrangement
for Serbia-Montenegro, Finance Minister Mladjan Dinkic confirmed in
mid-December. Dinkic said that a large part of the credit, nearly 60 per cent,
will be used for structural reforms and the rest will be used as investment
The finance minister also said that the World Bank approved an addition US$45
million loan for structural reforms. "This is already the third credit
arrangement received by Serbia from the World Bank in the last six months."
The money was in the Serbian budget and ready for use by December 29, once the
federal parliament ratified the decision by December 21.
Dinkic stated that these decisions by the World Bank can be taken as a positive
critique of the economic situation in Serbia for this year and for the plans
already made for 2005.
Tadic meets Ashdown; a meeting of minds
Full cooperation with the ICTY in The Hague is a condition for stability of
BiH and Serbia, Serbian President Boris Tadic said after meeting High
Representative Paddy Ashdown in Sarajevo in mid-December. Tadic added that
during recent talks between senior RS and Serbian officials full agreement was
reached that there has to be full cooperation with the ICTY and that the future
of BiH, RS, Serbia and Serbia-Montenegro depends on this issue.
Tadic said that entities in BiH, their mutual cooperation at all levels,
including at the level of ministries of interior, was also discussed. Ashdown
said that they discussed cooperation between BiH and Serbia on preventing
criminal activities and the bilateral agreement between the two countries on
preventing cross-border crime because "criminals are the same in Belgrade,
Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Mostar".
The High Representative also said that he told Tadic that close cooperation with
authorities in Belgrade is key for finding and arresting indicted war criminals.
He added that he does not believe the claims of RS authorities that all indicted
war criminals that are still at large are in Serbia-Montenegro even though
"some of them" are in Serbia-Montenegro.
Ashdown said that he agreed with Tadic that the Dayton Agreement is a basis for
BiH that can be changed only with the consent of all three constituent peoples,
but added that RS authorities cannot support certain aspects of the Peace
Agreement and at the same time neglect commitments such as arresting indicted
Asked if destructive elements within the Serbian Ministry of Interior are
obstructing the arrest of Ratko Mladic thought to be hiding in Serbia, Tadic
said that he does not believe that Mladic is in Serbia and added that as the
Serbian Minister of Interior he was responsible for gathering information on
Mladic's whereabouts and that there were no indications that he was hiding in
BA-CA acquires Eksimbanka
Bank Austria Creditanstalt (BA-CA), Austria's largest bank announced recently
the purchase of Eksimbanka, Serbia's 12th largest bank. The deal will lift BA-CA
to fourth place in the Serbian banking market, adding 32 branches and €144m in
total assets to its existing presence, The Financial Times reported.
BA-CA, controlled by Germany's HVB Group, is already active in the country
through HVB Serbia and Montenegro, set up in 2001. The deal, still subject to a
public takeover offer to Eksimbanka's minority shareholders, followed BA-CA's
purchase of Hebros Bank, Bulgaria's 10th biggest bank, at the beginning of
November. The two transactions illustrate the shift in emphasis in banking
consolidation in the region, now that most of the biggest banking assets in
central and eastern Europe assets have been snapped up, the financial paper
said. BA-CA revealed no prices for its latest purchases.
India, Serbia sign tourism deal
India and Serbia on November 5th signed an agreement to enhance cooperation
between public and private sectors to boost tourism in the two countries, SE
The agreement was signed in Belgrade by Minister of Tourism, Renuka Chowdhury,
who was on a visit there, and Serbian Minister of Trade and Tourism and
Services, Bojan Dimitrijevic. According to the agreement, both countries would
support mutual business contacts, exchange of experts, knowledge and workshops
among industry representatives in the area of tourism.