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.
Dispute between govt and Serbian Orthodox Church continued while voter registration irregularities surfaced ahead of 30 Aug parliamentary elections. Govt and Church leaders 21 July failed to agree on changes to controversial Dec 2019 Freedom of Confession Act; Church accused govt of engaging in dialogue for “political marketing” purposes; 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. Crime and Corruption Reporting Network and Balkan Investigative Reporting Network mid-July reported more than 50,000 “phantom voters” will be eligible to vote in 30 Aug parliamentary elections; in some municipalities, number of registered voters reportedly exceeds actual population. Meanwhile, National Coordination Body for Infectious Diseases 5 July blamed rise in COVID-19 cases (2,065 active cases as of 29 July) on members of pro-Serb opposition Democratic Front (DF) party, alleging that members imported cases from Serbia; DF accused coordination body of supporting ruling Democratic Party of Socialists.
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.