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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 19,176 15,555 10,900 70
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,910 1,400 930 112
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Serbia & Montenegro


Area ( 



New Dinar

Boris Tadic

Private sector 
% of GDP 

Update No: 108 - (30/05/06)

A nation in two minds
Serbia is a troubled nation of nine million souls, Eastern Orthodox souls at that. But it wants to become a Western nation.
This is the paradox dominating its recent history. 
Why did the Serbs go along for so long with Slobodan Milosevic, a massive disaster from the start, who had not understood that irredentism was totally passé? He fought four futile wars and lost every one of them. 
Wars to establish conquest and occupation are the name of the game for Eastern nations. Wars to establish permanent peace are, at least ostensibly, what the West is about. 
Fortunately, the younger Serbs totally agree, who came to regard Milosvic as a hopeless relic of the past - confined in his quarters in The Hague, he certainly was - and is of course now deceased.

US may cut aid to Serbia over Mladic
The United States could cut part of its assistance to Serbia if Ratko Mladic, an even worse scoundrel, remains at large, US Ambassador to Belgrade Michael Polt said on 10th May. 
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to assess the level of Serbia's co-operation with the UN tribunal later, which could affect some aid. Polt also told reporters that Serbia-Montenegro would be unable to join NATO's Partnership for Peace programme until the Bosnian Serb general is arrested.
In other news, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said Mladic's arrest is the government's top priority. He noted that authorities must find the fugitive if they want to fulfil their other main priority, eventual membership in the EU.
The Croat fugitive general Gotovina was eventually found in Spain. The whereabouts of Mladic remain a mystery, but it is more than likely that he is in Serbia under the protection of old pals in the security services.

Montenegro splits from Serbia
On May 21st the Montenegrins held a referendum on independence, which predictably was won by the secessionist cause, espoused by the local government. 
The already loose state union of Serbia and Montenegro, created in 2003 with European Union backing, was all that remained of the six-republic federation that was once socialist Yugoslavia. But each state had its own laws, customs regulations and currency, sharing only defence and foreign relations. 
President Filip Vujanovic and Prime Minister Milo Jukanovic led the campaign for a 'yes' vote.They said that independence would improve the Adriatic state's economy and international relations.
Polls showed the vote would be tight. Most ethnic Montenegrins, some 43 per cent of the population, were expected to vote for independence, along with Bosnian Muslims, Albanians and other minorities. The 32 per cent who are ethnic Serbs were mostly expected to vote 'no'.
The actual result was marginally more than the 55% the barrier that had to be surmounted to achieve independence.
The pro-union block said that independence would sever historic ties with Serbia and allow the government to keep a stranglehold on the administration and the economy.
At issue is Serbia's access to the Adriatic Sea, its only coastline. There was reportedly a vital discovery of a large oil field in the Adriatic several years ago. With oil prices over US$70 per barrel, the exploitation of the more than one billion barrel field becomes economic. Since the population of Montenegro is only 660,000, there is scope for an oil-rich mini-state to emerge in the Balkans, with friends on every side. The Slovenes and Croats are watching developments closely. 
Montenegro's independence referendum on May 21st "will create a new state and release potential now locked up in a barren union with Serbia," its president had said in the course of the campaign. 
President Vujanovic, one of the leading figures of the pro-independence campaign, said the small Adriatic republic deserved to take its destiny into its own hands. "Montenegro had a state for centuries and was formally recognised internationally from 1878 until 1918," he said in an interview. "The people have strong emotions regarding this history, and through that, a very strong need to renew full independence." 
The practical reasons were also strong, Vujanovic said. Montenegro's resources, economy and opportunities for development would improve drastically with independence, as would investment. 
"On May 22nd, independence will be the instrument for building a better state," said Belgrade-born Vujanovic, a youthful 51-year old. "I do not look to the referendum result simply as personal satisfaction at the renewal of Montenegrin statehood. It is also a responsibility to the future; it commits us to improving people's living standards, improving the economy." 
"The state union is not functional," Vujanovic said. "It is damaging to both Serbia and Montenegro. It is also expensive to keep up, for both republics." 
Montenegro controls all aspects of domestic economic policy, but relations with international financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF go through Belgrade, an arrangement Vujanovic said was "seriously holding Montenegro back." 
Under pressure from the European Union, which it hopes to join in the next decade, Montenegro agreed to referendum rules that say at least 50 per cent must vote and at least 55 per cent must choose for independence for the result to be valid. 

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Romania-to-Italy oil pipeline investment 

Deputy Serbian Premier, Miroljub Labus, recently said that the government supports private-public investment in a Romania-to-Italy oil pipeline passing through Serbia. The pipeline would carry 40 million tonnes of oil a year from the oil-rich Caspian sea area through Romania's Black sea port of Constanta via Serbia's Pancevo oil processing complex at Belgrade, Croatia's Omisalj on the northern Adriatic island of Krk, and end at Italy's northern Adriatic port of Trieste, independent B92 Belgrade radio reported.

Tender for 15 mini power plants to start

The Montenegrin government has adopted a development strategy for small hydro-electric power plants in Montenegro, envisaging a tender to be called by the end of the year for the construction of 15 mini power plants, Serbia and Montenegro Today reported.
According to the strategy, concessions are to be granted by the year 2025 for the construction of 70 mini hydro-electric power plants on Montenegrin Rivers.

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Jordanian firm purchases Serbian sugar factory

Jordanian firm Masri Investment Group has purchased the last 25 per cent stake in Serbia-Montenegro's largest sugar factory, becoming its sole owner, Petra News Agency reported.
Petra quoted the group's chairman, Ahmed al-Masri as saying the sugar factory, situated about 100 kilometres from the capital Belgrade, was purchased from the Serbia-Montenegrin government. In 2002, the Jordanian firm bought a 75 per cent stake in the factory, which has an annual capacity of about 200,000 tonnes.

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Serbia-Italy set up industrial zone

Italy and Serbia have formed a joint company-industrial zone under a memorandum signed by President of the board of the Cosecon Company in Italy's Veneto region, Natalino Zambolin, Belgrade Free Zone General Director, Marko Stojanovic and Sabac Municipality President, Milos Milosevic, Serbia and Montenegro Today reported recently.
The industrial zone will be multifunctional in Sabac and Belgrade and will have an initial capital of 50,000 Euro, of which 51 per cent will be provided by the Italian partner, 12,000 Euro by the Belgrade Free Zone and 12,500 Euro by the municipality of Sabac.

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Serbia and Montenegro free trade deal comes into force 

The new free trade agreement between Serbia and Montenegro and Macedonia came into force May 1, Serbian radio station B92 reported.
The main goals of the new agreement are to increase trade between the two countries, establish a competition environment, remove trade barriers and stimulate investments and development of trade with third countries.

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