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.
Pro-Serb opposition staged largest protests to date against controversial religion law ahead of late Aug parliamentary elections. In run-up to parliamentary election held 30 Aug, hundreds 23 Aug protested against controversial Freedom of Confession Act in capital Podgorica and towns across country in largest demonstrations since law was passed in Dec 2019; critics of the law have argued that it facilitates govt register of all religious sites in attempt to reduce role of Serbian Orthodox Church and allow govt to claim religious sites as state property. Leading Serbian Orthodox bishop Amfilohije Radovic 23 Aug announced he will be voting for first time in upcoming elections, urged people to “vote against those who rule with false laws”; President Djukanovic accused Serbian Orthodox Church of running political campaign. Following election, preliminary results 30 Aug indicated that ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) won 29 of 81 seats, short of majority necessary for govt, while opposition parties “For the Future of Montenegro”, “Peace is Our Nation” and “Black on White” won 27, ten and five seats, respectively; DPS and opposition both claimed victory, citing ability to form govt with political allies. Three opposition parties 30 Aug announced intentions to form govt despite significant political differences and next day called on minority parties to join; DPS and President Djukanovic said they will “wait for the final results of the State Electoral Commission” and called on citizens to stay home awaiting confirmation of results.
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.