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Key Economic Data
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 106
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)


Update No: 162 - (24/11/10)

The Kosovar conundrum
There is no more important issue for a country than its territorial integrity. Serbia's is in grave question in two respects.

Firstly, Kosovo has obviously become de facto independent; will it become de jure independent? The Kosovars are holding elections on December 12 to parliament. This issue will naturally dominate the campaign.

But there is a second grave threat, the loss of territory in southern Serbia proper, where Albanians predominate in a Greater Albania.

Greater Albania?
The majority of the ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo, Albania, and Macedonia are in favour of forming a "Greater Albania," a poll shows. 80% of the Albanians in Kosovo, 62% of those in Albania, and 51% of the Albanian minority in Macedonia back the idea for forming a Greater Albania, according to a poll of Gallup carried out in cooperation with the European Fund for the Balkans, cited by Macedonian TV Kanal 5.

An alliance between Albania and Kosovo has smaller support – 33.7% in Albania and 29.2% in Kosovo, according to the report of the Serbian media B92.

According to Albanian nationalists, a hypothetical "Greater Albania" would feature the entire territories of Albania and Kosovo, about half of Macedonia, and parts of Southern Serbia, Montenegro and Greece.

Fears that a scenario for creating a Greater Albania were on the way emerged after the Kosovo War in 1999 and the subsequent insurgency in Macedonia, which was settled through a constitutional compromise, the Ohrid Accord, in 2001.

This looks like an irredentist plan on a gargantuan scale. It would be opposed by the regional powers, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. It is very unlikely to happen. Curiously many Albanian Albanians are decidedly lukewarm about it. They would have to pay for their poorer kin outside Albania itself.

The Belgrade-Prague axis
If Croatia has a traditional champion in Europe in Germany, Serbia does in the Czech Republic. The Serbs are getting the full support of the Czechs for their EU bid.

Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic said on November 16 in Prague that the Czech Republic is a reliable partner to Serbia in its European integration and stressed that good political relations should be the basis for strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries.

After meeting with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas, Cvetkovic declared that the visit to the Czech Republic is significant for strengthening relations between the two countries and stressed that he and his Czech counterpart had agreed that the Serbian government is advancing in its EU integration.

"The Czech Republic is our reliable partner and I received assurances that our relations will be such in the future as well," affirmed the Serbian Prime Minister.

Cvetkovic underlined that good political relations should contribute to increased investment between the two countries, which he said when addressing entrepreneurs at the Business Forum in Prague. Speaking on Kosovo-Metohija, he stated that only dialogue can lead to an acceptable and sustainable solution.

"Serbia is ready to start dialogue as soon as possible and we are in contact with the EU in order to enable a more immediate launch of the dialogue," maintained Cvetkovic.

The Czech Prime Minister emphasised that his country welcomes the progress made by Serbia towards EU integration, specifying that the Czech Republic will provide assistance to Serbia through their experience from pre-accession negotiations. "We welcome the idea of Serbia integrating with the EU, and we wish that our two countries promote economic cooperation," he added and recalled the Czech investment in Serbian railways, on the Nis-Dimitrovgrad section.

The Serbian Prime Minister also met with Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who conveyed that the Czech Republic is interested in improving economic relations with Serbia. Cvetkovic and Klaus agreed that the only way to solve the issue of Kosovo-Metohija is to come up with a compromise.

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