The Balkans was best known for minority problems. Today, the most bitter conflicts are between parties that appeal to majority ethnic communities. As recent turbulence in Macedonia shows, Eastern Europe could face new dangers if majority populism ends the current stigma against separatism for oppressed small groups.
Tensions between ruling party and pro-Serb opposition mounted ahead of Aug elections, while dispute between govt and Serbian Orthodox Church continued. President Milo Djukanovic 18 June announced parliamentary elections to be held on 30 August, paving way for start of electoral campaigning. Amid escalating tensions between Djukanovic’s ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and pro-Serb opposition, police 17 June arrested Budva town’s incumbent opposition mayor for refusing to hand over power after ruling DPS gained majority in local assembly; hundreds of opposition protesters same day gathered in Budva; police dispersed demonstrators with tear gas and arrested dozens. Opposition protesters across country, including in capital Podgorica and Budva, 24 June took to streets in support of Budya opposition mayor; after clashes between protesters and police left seven police officers injured, police detained dozens, including two opposition lawmakers. Amid ongoing tensions between govt and Serbian Orthodox Church, police 14 June arrested several priests and 21-22 June questioned Church leaders about mass rallies over controversial Dec 2019 Freedom of Confession Act held in defiance of COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings; chief of police 21 June said Church rallies posed threat to region’s security, citing spread of religious radicalism and hate speech.
Montenegrins are more likely than not to vote in April 2006 to break away from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. It is time for the European Union, whose diplomacy in 2001-2002 created the manifestly dysfunctional confederation, to make clear that it will accept whatever decision Montenegro’s citizens make, and encourage those opposing independence to participate peacefully in the referendum process.
Since the fall of the regime of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000, the steady normalisation of Serbia's relations with the international community has significantly enhanced the prospects for long-term peace and stability. The European Union (EU) rose to the challenge, providing resources for reconstruction and reforms in Serbia itself, as well as in Montenegro and Kosovo.
It is time for new policies and new approaches on Montenegro. International engagement with that republic in recent years has brought significant positive results.
On 14 March 2002 the leaders of Serbia, Montenegro and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) signed an agreement in Belgrade to replace FRY with a new "state community": a "union of states" to be called "Serbia and Montenegro".
Ten months after the fall of Slobodan Miloševiæ, considerable progress has been made in establishing democratic governance in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and reintegrating the country into the international community.
The extraordinary parliamentary election to be held in Montenegro on 22 April 2001 is focused on the single issue of the republic’s future status, whether in a continued federal union with Serbia, or as an independent state.
An Open Letter to Dr Javier Solana Madariaga, Secretary General of the Council of the European Union and High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy.