Serbia - Articoli

The educational system of Serbia in these last ten years

12/10/2001 -  Anonymous User

The system of education in Serbia (and in the present and former Yugoslavia as well) has always been something the locals have boasted about. Intended as a perfect blend of technical education necessary for certain job positions (found in the American system of education) and general-purpose subjects to breed real intellectuals (found in most European systems and in the Slavic tradition of education including Russia), Yugoslav education was indeed a source from which the prosperity of the nation and up to a point the country's fine international reputation stemmed. Or at least it was so until the late seventies, when the approaching dissolution of the country meant the imminent disruption of the joint education system, and its steady, but firm deterioration.
The seventies in the former Yugoslavia meant the abandonment of the system of general-purpose secondary schools, known as 'gimnazija' (roughly translatable as 'grammar school'). After the compulsory eight years of elementary school (age 7-14), talented children were no longer allowed entrance to these general education schools, whose primary purpose was to train those children who would undoubtedly enroll into universities upon graduation. The old system had therefore offered children the choice of these schools which opened up the way to the University, or the choice of technical schools which would train craftsmen, workers, accountants or civil servants. However, at least according to the enraged Serbian media at the time, it was upon the advent of the high Communist Party official from Croatia in charge of education, Mr. Stipe Suvar, in the early eighties that the entire system was turned upside down. The new system meant highly specialized secondary schools in all areas. After the first year of secondary education, common to all professions, children were asked to specialize for their desired profession as early as at the age of 15, in the second year of secondary school. Specialization was even narrower in the third and fourth years, which meant practically two or three different, highly specialized programs in each of the hundreds of secondary schools in the country. This lead to mass confusion among children, disappointment when they faced a number of additional examinations if they wanted to change their specialization, and an explosion of textbooks, many of which were to be used just in a couple of schools in the country. Prequalification of teachers was yet another problem, so that many math or technics teachers now had to teach computer science, while Marxist schools alumni were to give courses in the history of philosophy. The entire mess came to an end when Serbia decided to get back to its old (grammar school / technical schools) system in 1989, which turned out to be a good decision in the long run, although back then it was just one of the hard-line early-Milosevic moves to defy the federal authorities, and, especially to sweep away some Croat communists he had been at odds with, Mr. Suvar included.

Another problem of the former Yugoslav federation was the diversity of programs taught in different republics. The only thing in common was the number of years needed to get proper education (8 years primary school, 4 years secondary school, 4-6 years university). All the rest seems to have been different. The first major obstacle was that the country used three official languages (Macedonian, Slovenian and Serbo-Croat), and the last of the three had at least three officially recognized dialects. Both Cyrillic and Latin letter systems were allowed. Programs in social science and humanities were made up in such a way as to favour the particular majority nation in the area, albeit always in accordance with the prevalent communist ideology. However, even those general subjects, such as mathematics, physics or foreign languages, were taught according to different programs, since this was the jurisdiction of the Republic Ministries of Education and Federal Government had little or no influence on program making. This was a real nightmare for those children often moving house throughout the country (this turned out mainly to be kids of Yugoslav army officers). Some of them, today middle-aged persons, still claim this diversity meant they constantly had to adjust to new systems, so they believe their education had major flaws, some of which are still felt in their lives.
And then came the nineties. Nobody really knows the exact date when the former country broke apart, although the obvious period to look into was between June 1990 (when Croatia and Slovenia declared independence) and April 1992 (when Serbia and Montenegro formed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). The runaway republics had already adapted their programs to the changing conditions, and it turned out only Serbia and Montenegro were left with the entire burden of the former country, which included education. This lead to some funny situations, especially in the beginning. In the middle of the war in Croatia, history books still read of "brotherhood and unity of the Yugoslav peoples and national minorities", and long after multi-party system was established in Serbia, the same books still spoke of the "development of self-management and socialist democracy without numerous political parties, since that would not be suitable for our political system." Geography textbooks were changed instantly, in classes, since the country was now considerably smaller than before, and this meant that all the data was changed, including the info on the highest mountain, biggest lake, northernmost point etc. In practice, this meant that geography teachers used markers to lay out the borders of the new country, and thus adapt the big school maps carrying the proud title "Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia". History teachers, themselves taught that, for example, Chetniks (remnants of Serbian Royal Army in World War Two, who fought Germans and Tito's Partisans) were butchers, counter-revolutionaries and traitors, now had to find a new framework to operate in, and most of them instantly moved from communism to stern nationalism (which meant - do not mention Croatia or Slovenia, in any positive context, in your tests, or else your grade might become considerably lower).

Wars were under way, the country was becoming poorer and poorer, and school programs changed little, if any. This brought about disillusionment in children, popular mockery of textbooks (with teachers blushing and not knowing what to do). Numerous strikes, demonstrations and rallies in the country had their effect on high school kids as well, so playing truant (often collectively) became one of the most popular school activities. Not a single opposition rally passed without avid (though unwanted) support of high school students. Many new-age millionaires still sent their kids to schools, which meant young upstarts openly mocking their impoverished teachers in classes, which soon opened up the way to corruption. This meant the decrease of criteria, with many semi-educated, or sometimes almost technically illiterate teenagers coming to universities. And universities have remained poor, as well. The former regime had a motto: "Send them to university in order to keep them off the streets". This resulted in thousands studying all over the country, with the government's regular decision to extend the list of admissions after entrance exams every year (the ratio was usually 1:4, meaning - if your department admits 50 students regularly, the government will make you admit at least 200). The consequence was the enormous number of students (sometimes with no classrooms to put them up), many of whom had about as much knowledge as to enroll in 6th or 7th grade of the primary school. Criteria for passing exams were decreased again, since the pressure to let them enroll into the next year of the studies came both from the Government ("always keep them off the streets! no need for demonstrators!") and from the parents who were unwilling (and often unable) to pay any additional years of their kids' studies. The peak of the mess came after the University Law of 1998 was passed in the Serbian Parliament. In practice, it made the Government the prime and ultimate controller of the University. After this act, Serbian universities were banned from all European High Education associations, and it was obvious the end could not be far away.
After October 2000, and the revolution in Yugoslavia, it has been obvious that any true reform must start with education. The Ministry of Education has had enough problems only with students from Kosovo (for political reasons, the University of Pristina is still active, though displaced in numerous smaller towns in south Serbia, but the oncoming school year opens up the way to many unanswered questions, especially those of security). In addition, the new school year means considerably smaller numbers of students, and higher fees for their education (though unpopular, this seems to be a necessary step, since Serbia cannot do with the alarming numbers of highly-trained 'experts' with university diplomas and virtually no vacancies). As for primary and secondary schools, programs have been revised again - the new 8th grade history, covering the period 1915-present, mentions the events of the last ten years in 3 pages only, without a single name printed (Milosevic included). Primary and secondary school kids have another subject to cover this year - they may choose between 'Religious Education', a highly controversial compromise by the government to the Serbian Orthodox Church, and 'Civic Education', a kind of study of human rights and institutions of modern civic society. Religious education, here known as 'veronauka' (literally, the 'science of faith') will be taught by priests of one of the five most widespread religions in the country (according to the children's' and parents' preference). Arguments for this subject are 'return to our roots and tradition which would have saved us all the harms of the previous 50 years'. Arguments against are obsoleteness, contrariness to the scientific frame of mind otherwise favoured in schools, and the possible discrimination to atheists and members of smaller religious groups. What will turn out of the latest attempt of politicians' poking into Serbian education, remains to be seen.

In general, however, things seem to be looking up. Whether the Serbian education will return to its roots, or it will follow the footsteps of the developed EU countries, it is certain that in charge of it today are some people far more tolerant, rational and responsible than those who covered the entire former country with blood in the previous decades.

IDPs nel sud della Serbia

11/10/2001 -  Anonymous User

The outcome of the conflict over Kosovo reversed the flood of refugees in the opposite direction. The horror the international public felt over the scale of the exodus of Kosovo Albanians and the relief generally felt upon the return of most of them to Kosovo left little room for sympathy for those who had to leave Kosovo after the Albanians returned. These people, generally termed non-Albanians, in practice mostly Serbs and Romany started leaving Kosovo as soon as the war ended. Although they have been advised to stay and promised protection by KFOR and UNMIK, the fact that (apart from some places in northern Kosovo such as the town of Mitrovica), they had to live in virtual ghettos, made many choose departure. The statistics justify this decision. Upon KFOR's arrival, in the period June 1999 - December 2000 at least 932 non-Albanians were found missing or proven kidnapped. In the year 2000 alone in Prizren 121 non-Albanians were missing; in Gnjilane 120 persons; in Pristina, the figure is 142.(1) Importantly, and unlike in the villages, Serbian violence against the Albanians was minimal in these bigger towns. Therefore the kidnappings do not seem to be the righteous revenge of the victims; rather, they are a part of a planned intimidating action with the single message: "Leave!"
Those Serbs who have left are not termed refugees but 'internally displaced persons'. But their fate is equal to or worse than the fate of those coming from Bosnia or Croatia. According to UNHCR there is a total of 211,300 registered IDPs (the Serbian authorities claim about 50% more, other humanitarian organizations mention the number of 230,000), out of which 60,000 are Roma(2), whereas the rest are mostly Serbs. This totals to more than 700,000 refugees and IDPs altogether, which makes Serbia a host to the most refugees in Europe. The urgent requirements for IDPs for this year only are over $20 million.

The city of Nis, which hosted a moderate number of refugees from Bosnia and Croatia (much fewer than Belgrade or Novi Sad) is now virtually flooded with people from Kosovo. A casual look at licence plates on cars during the rush hours shows a substantial presence of vehicles from Kosovo. The cars with plates from Pristina, Gnjilane, or Prizren themselves differ - from new Audis to battered old Yugos. And here the story of the different conditions of the IDPs begins.
The total figures for IDPs show that around 50% of the refugees have their own accommodation or live in rented flats (96,801 of the registered IDPs)(3) . In more precise numbers, according to a recent survey "most of IDP families in Serbia (37%) live in rented accommodation, 31,5% in collective centres, 24% with friends and relatives and 6,4% at home" (4). Among them, a minor proportion is very rich. The richer ones had fewer problems accommodating. These people have sold their property in Kosovo at very high prices to the Albanians, and now they live in Serbia as members of the upper class. A glance through the window as this text is being written reveals a Golf 4 and an Audi A8 with the licence plates 'Pristina'. The family also owns a comfortable five-room flat. Such examples, though relatively rare, breed contempt in many locals. This is especially so given that most of the richer newcomers were avid supporters of Milosevic's policy and senior officials of his party in Kosovo. The same policy and the same party that initially caused all the trouble. Once the trouble began - they fled, with the money. And, to make the situation worse, they retained the excessive pride of being Milosevic supporters and they still boast about it on the street.

The rest of the group living on their own are the former Kosovo Serb middle class. These people live in rented flats, and try to make ends meet every month. Their situation is not desperate - since most younger ones have found jobs here and they at least have something to eat: about 61% of Serbian IDPs work in state firms and they are on a payroll: the explanation is easy - most of them used to work in state firms in Kosovo, and upon their arrival to Serbia proper they remained officially employed. But they hardly get any pay cheques in reality, so they try to manage themselves. Nobody knows their exact number since they are reluctant to register as IDPs. But their real problem is how to fit in the new environment. They stick together, as if in clans, and they seldom mix up with the locals. The locals, on the other hand, are also reluctant to remain friends with their compatriots from the south. In downtown Nis, the once immensely popular café known as 'The Pyramid' is now rented by Serbs from Kosovo. Hardly any local ever visits the place anymore. Even more so after a recent shooting incident involving gangs formerly based at Pristina, now stationed in Nis. Distrust at the Kosovo Serbs is all-present, as they are widely (and often unfairly) seen as stern Milosevic supporters who thus contributed to the entire poverty that befell the country. Nobody seems to care - neither the international community nor their own people.
The worst is, naturally, in the camps. Most of them are located on the ends of the roads, in deserted hostels, schools and gyms, far away from the eyes of the local population. Even those nearer big cities are still quite distant from the eyes of the locals. On the outskirts of Avala mountain, near Belgrade, there is an old mountaineers' rest home turned into a camp. Its capacity is 40, but 150 people with 57 children from the Kosovo village of Suva Reka use it as a shelter. In the beginning, they were often visited by members of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Serbian Refugee Committee, even by politicians. Now, hardly anyone comes. Each of them gets a quarter of a loaf of bread and a cooked meal for lunch. For anything more, such as social aid and employment opportunity, they have to manage themselves.(5) Near Kraljevo, about 300 people were put up in an elementary school last summer, only to be literally thrown out in September, since they angered the local parents who wanted the building to be used for its intended purpose.(6) Some good ideas come from international organizations. In Kragujevac, for example, ACT (Action by Churches Together) put up greenhouses near a collective centre. They have been tilled by IDPs, and the deal was that those who worked could retain 50% of the income (about $50 a month, which is close to the average monthly salary in Serbia), whereas 50% was used to provide food to the rest of the IDPs in the camp.

In south Serbia, IDPs are sometimes settled in the places already occupied by Bosnia and Croatia refugees, provided there is some room left. Such is the case in Nis, where some are put up in old hotels 'Park' and 'Serbia'. There are also new facilities, occupied exclusively by IDPs, such as 'Sport centre' Vranje, motel 'Atina' Leskovac, motel 'Spring' Bujanovac, The New Kindergarten Bujanovac, Collective Council Zitoradja etc. When these were filled up, the newcomers were put up even in some battered roadside barracks, which had once been temporary facilities for the workers on the roads.
The condition of these people is a bit different from those from Croatia or Bosnia. On one hand, they are not technically refugees, and their original and present locations are formally in the same country. Therefore, for purely political reasons, they are treated as if they were just about to get back to Kosovo any moment, so they are denied even the right to another employment, the right 'real' refugees have.(7) As for social aid, it is practically nonexistent. Those in collective centres get poor meals daily (provided by Serbian Refugee Committee, financed by foreign NGOs), whereas those living in private arrangements get humanitarian packages monthly. The criteria for getting these have been drastically changed lately, so that today only those younger than 18 or older than 60, as well as those with the proof of disability may continue receiving those packages. The brighter side of the story of IDPs from Kosovo, especially ethnic Serbs, is their overall vitality and ability to self-organize. Contrary to, for example, many Croatia refugees in collective centres, some of whom have not stepped on the urban territory for 5 years, ex-Kosovo Serbs are well organized, loud and determined to fight for their rights. They have many associations, and they organize joint actions, especially when negotiating with the Government or foreign NGOs. Such is the Association for the Search for Missing and Kidnapped Persons from Kosovo, based in Nis.

There are many NGOs dealing with IDPs in south Serbia. The programmes are usually those of integration, such as the current ICS project (52% of ICS' funds are aimed at refugees, and 48% at IDPs). These projects are further divided into psychosocial ones, and 'economic' ones. The former deal with mental recuperation and workshop-based activities for young people, whereas the latter offer small loans for starting up business (some pilot programs currently offer small loans amounting to 1.000 DEM)(8). The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is currently offering the 'quick impact' programme. IDPs are offered 10 chickens per family so that they could start up small poultry farms. There are too many interested, so this offer is limited to families with more than 6 members. For those intending to stay, COOPI (Cooperazione Internazionale) is offering building material. The deal is as follows: the host gets free material to finish his or her house, on condition he or she is willing to host an IDP family in the house for the next two years. This is similar to what International Rescue Committee from USA has been doing all these years. Many are apparently interested.
As for repatriation programmes, there are virtually none as yet. The rumour is that from September onwards, International Relief and Development (IRD) from USA will start 'go and see visits' similar to what UNHCR has done in Croatia lately. The idea is that IDPs should be allowed free trips to their places of origin, where they will be able to see for themselves what condition their homes are in. Some might decide to stay. However, having the overall situation in Kosovo in mind, this is still more fiction than reality.

Obviously, the condition of internally displaced persons in Serbia is not pleasant. They are neglected by their Government for political reasons, they are often scorned by their compatriots for their defiance and excessive pride, they are hated to death by Kosovo Albanians, and they seem to be at the end of UNMIK's and KFOR's priorities. For the time being, all they have is their own wit and some help of international relief organizations. We can only hope this will change soon.


1 The figures are given courtesy of Fund for Humanitarian Law, Belgrade. Complete listings with personal information are available on request.
2 According to Mr. Dejan Markovic, the Union of Roma Students, for the year 2000.
3 Figures courtesy of ICS Nis.
4 Source: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, Serbia section.
5 Data taken from the authoritative weekly "Nin".
6 Data from CNN, September 2000.
7 Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has recently published a booklet advising refugees and IDPs of their rights, with specific reference to the right to employment. Available on request.
8 Courtesy of Tamara, ICS Nis.

Gli impatti ambientali delle attività umanitarie: alcuni punti di riferimento

11/10/2001 -  Anonymous User

Per la prima volta nella storia di un conflitto bellico dopo la guerra del Kossovo è stato richiesto al Programma delle Nazioni Unite per l'Ambiente (UNEP) di realizzare una valutazione degli impatti ambientali delle azioni militari. A cura di Massimo De Marchi.

RFY: 5 ottobre, un anno dopo

05/10/2001 -  Luka Zanoni

La Serbia ad un anno dalla caduta del regime di Slobodan Milošević. La situazione economica, la politica del nuovo corso e lo shock della transizione. Nostra analisi

FRY: cala la popolarità di Kostunica, sale la paura del potere

04/10/2001 -  Anonymous User

Se oggi stesso tutti i partiti della Serbia andassero alle elezioni vincerebbe la DOS e Vojislav Kostunica sarebbe ancora il presidente, ma vincerebbe drasticamente meno rispetto al 24 settembre 2000, e i cittadini serbi voterebbero in questo momento con una grande paura del potere. Questi, in breve, sono i risultati della ricerca condotta dall'agenzia di Novi Sad "Scan"che sono stati presentati mercoledì, dalla sua direttrice Milka Puzigaca, all'Istituto per la filosofia e la teoria sociale. La ricerca comparativa sui cambiamenti dell'opinione pubblica nelle città di Nis e novi Sad è stata condotta nel periodo compreso tra agosto 2000 e la metà di settembre di quest'anno. Su un campione di 1.200 intervistati, l'agenzia "Scan" è giunta ai risultati che possono dare una risposta alla domanda circa il gradimento del nuovo potere un anno dopo i cambiamenti in Serbia, e alla luce delle divisioni all'interno della coalizione di governo.
Come sostiene Puzigaca "se il Partito democratico della Serbia (DSS) uscisse dal potere, la DOS prenderebbe il 39 percento, mentre il Partito Democratico della Serbia il 22 percento di voti. Dopo le elezioni, la popolarità di Kostunica è improvvisamente aumentata, a dicembre era praticamente senza concorrenti, ma in questo momento la sua caduta è piuttosto netta, a dicembre aveva il 58 percento, mentre oggi è caduto al 31 percento". Puzigaca richiama inoltre l'attenzione sul ritorno della paura del potere. "Per questi undici anni non ricordo che in un così breve periodo abbiamo riscontrato un improvviso aumento della paura, e non ci sono state guerre. Questa paura indica che i cittadini iniziano di nuovo a non sentirsi sicuri e i cittadini stessi riconoscono la divisone nella coalizione di governo". Secondo le sue parole, l'agenzia "Scan" ha notato anche l'aumento delle paure sociali, come lo sono le paure dell'inflazione, delle agitazioni sociali, dei licenziamenti dei lavoratori così come un aumento della paura delle privatizzazioni.

Serbia: discriminazioni contro i Rom

02/10/2001 -  Anonymous User

Una trentina circa di Rom, dopo essere stati buttati fuori dalle loro abitazioni in via Zimonjic, hanno vissuto negli ultimi tre mesi in uno dei parchi di Kostunjak (un quartiere di Belgrado). Queste persone stanno vivendo senza alcuna delle normali condizioni di vita quotidiana.
La municipalità di questa parte della città ha ordinato loro di lasciare anche questo luogo entro il 1 di ottobre. Goran Stojkovic, membro di una di queste famiglie, ha detto che non hanno ricevuto alcun tipo di aiuto, aggiungendo che l'unica organizzazione che si occupa dei loro problemi è l'Humanitarian Law Center, che si è appellata alle autorità affinché facciano qualcosa, ma che comunque, da esse, non ha ricevuto alcun riscontro.
Tanja Pavlovic-Krizanic dell'Humanitarian Law Center ha ribadito l'importanza di trovare dei fondi appropriati per queste persone, in modo che vengano sistemate adeguatamente, e ha aggiunto che l'inverno è alle porte e queste persone e i loro bambini non dispongono di vestiti adeguati.
Sempre questa organizzazione non governativa di Belgrado, ha richiesto, nei giorni scorsi, al ministro della polizia l'identificazione immediata di due poliziotti di Novi Sad, che sono responsabili per le percosse fisiche inflitte a E. M. (14 anni) e ai sui amici, due giovani Rom.
L'Humanitarian Law Center dichiara che i due poliziotti sabato scorso appena dopo la mezzanotte hanno percosso tre giovani Rom, senza motivo e senza che ci fosse da parte dei ragazzi alcuna provocazione.
L'Humanitarian Law Center si anche appellata alla polizia affinché svolga correttamente le indagini, in particolar modo nei casi in cui le vittime delle torture della polizia sono bambini.

Serbia: questioni consolari

02/10/2001 -  Anonymous User

Il Governo della Federazione di Jugoslavia ha preso la decisione di chiudere temporaneamente 13 ambasciate jugoslave: a Caracas, Santiago, Beirut, Dar El-Salaam, Lusaka, Nairobi, Accra, Conakry, Tashkent, Pyongyang, Yangon, Hanoi e Harare. Questa mossa mostra l'orientamento del governo e la precedente decisione circa la razionalizzazione delle missioni diplomatiche e consolari, ha riferito il segretariato federale. Ciò non significa degradare il livello delle relazioni diplomatiche con i paesi menzionati, che si rifletterebbe attraverso le ambasciate della FRY negli stati più vicini.
Mentre l'ambasciatore degli Stati Uniti in Jugoslavia ha ufficialmente riaperto il 28 settembre scorso la sezione consolare della ambasciata american, che era stata chiusa all'inizio dei bombardamenti della NATO.
William Montgomery ha dichiarato, durante la cerimonia di apertura, che i cittadini della Jugoslavia non saranno costretti a viaggiare a Budapest per ottenere il visto per gli USA. Quell'ambasciata, secondo le affermazioni di Montgomery, ha rilasciato dal marzo 1999, circa 20.000 visti ai cittadini della Jugoslavia.
Alla domanda se i recenti attacchi agli USA potrebbero creare dei problemi per chi richiede il visto, Montgomery ha risposto che verranno applicati i criteri standard, ed ha aggiunto che l'America, naturalmente, terrà presente le adeguate misure di sicurezza.

Serbia: tavola rotonda sull'uso dell'uranio impoverito

02/10/2001 - 

Sì è svolta in Serbia una tavola rotonda di discussione sull'analisi dei rischi legati all'esposizione all'uranio impoverito. L'incontro è stato organizzato dal Centro clinico Vinca di Belgrado

L'integrazione europea vista dalla Serbia

01/10/2001 -  Anonymous User

Though, in principle, the decision to the dilemma seems quite obvious, since staying out of where all the rest are heading is equal to political suicide and economic disaster, there are still dissenting voices in the country. The recent open clash with most western governments over Kosovo has made some of the population additionally xenophobic. One cannot expect majority of people to get too inspired with the idea of democracy and values common to major western powers (most of which are European) after experiencing cruise missiles and smart bombs as heralds of the very democracy. In view of that fact, an average Serb can be even described as pretty tolerant: here one should remember the words of the American ambassador to Belgrade, Mr. William Montgomery, who recently stated he never actually believed an American would be able to freely walk in the streets of Belgrade so soon after the bombings ended. Since Americans top the list of villains in the eyes of the common folk, then Europeans are in a still better situation. No European, even a German, traditionally (and sometimes unfairly) seen as a long-time enemy of the Serbs, has had any particular problems with the citizens of Serbia, even those most radical ones.

Opinion Polls

Asked whether they believe integrating into Europe would be the best solution for the country, a majority of those taking part in the polls have said yes (the figures reached 91% according to the Markplan marketing agency). However, when asked which country Serbia should turn to as a long-term ally, dissenting voices could be heard. Most elderly people and former regime supporters would pin point Russia, although historians often remind the population here that Russia's affinity to Serbia has long been just a tempting myth of Slavic unity and that this country has never actually sided with Serbs when it was needed most. Out of the EU countries, France is often described as "the biggest disappointment" due to its very active support of the hardline policy against Serbia in the years behind us. As already mentioned, Germany is traditionally seen as an "occupational" force, and its recent active role in support of Slovenia's and then Croatia's independence is also often pointed out. However, some (a minority) believe cooperation with Germany has always been historically productive, and there is a number of intellectuals and, especially businessmen, led by prime minister Djindjic, who have been working on close ties with this country. Italy is seen as much more tolerant of Serbian mischiefs in the previous years, but it is also not considered very influential in key decision making. Finally, smaller EU countries, such as Greece or Portugal are perceived by the population as very friendly, but with no influence whatsoever on major issues in the EU. As for the 'Balkanite integrations', that is the idea that there should be a 'Balkan union' first which would then collectively be integrated into EU one day, most Serbs are skeptical. Apart from the elderly again, who incorrectly view this as a revival of the idea of the former Yugoslavia, most people are wary. Although the common answer on the street is that "no Croat or Slovene would ever agree to any kind of reunion" it seems that this is only a pretext which hides the Serbs' equal reluctance to reunite, even only economically. Economic interests are, however, dominant and there have been numerous visits by businessmen from the neighbouring countries (Croatia included) and initial contacts have been made so far in order to make Balkans a "customs free zone". Not much, but, knowing the situation, a good start.

Parties' Opinions

When asked when they believe Serbia (or Yugoslavia if it remains united) would enter the EU the answers in a last year's poll ranged from optimistic (5-7 years, around 20% of the subjects), through reasonable (about 10 years, 47%) to pessimistic (at least 20 years or more, 33%). Since this research is a bit outdated, it would be fair to connect today's support of the parties and coalitions on the Serbian political scene with the voters' view of European integrations. Socialist Party of the former president Milosevic is said to be supported by around 10% of the voters today. Alongside this party, today's opposition also comprises the hardline Serbian Radicals and the uninfluential Yugoslav Left. Together, they are supported by 16% of the population, most of whom share their well-known views of Serbian foreign policy, described as "cooperation - yes, surrender - no", which implies the notorious North-Korea-like fear of world conspiracy, stern anti-Americanism and the appeal for sovereignty in the 19th century sense of the term.
The results of such a policy are well known, so, luckily, most Serbian voters today see the future of their country in Europe, rather than in Russia, China or India. Among these, around 30% support Democratic Party of Serbia of president Kostunica. This party is seen as moderately nationalistic, and it seems this attitude is still dominant in most Serbs. Its foreign policy program reads "... Serbia must fight for its national and state interests with no confrontation with the world, but without accepting unnecessary concessions which would hinder its national and state interests..." This could be seen as a rigid view, although not hardline - at least open confrontation is to be avoided. But, since DSS's program defines Serbia as a national state, too obvious inclination towards the EU is not to be found in their policy. Democratic party of prime minister Djindjic and its allies in the ruling DOS coalition are today supported by around 15% of the voters (although their real influence in the country is crucial, which is the source of wrangles in DOS every now and then). They are clearly in favour of a new Serbia within the EU: "... The Democratic Party sees the future of the Serbian people and all the citizens of our country only in the European integrations...", its program says. By this they mean economic integration primarily, and this is what younger and more educated Serbian voters favour. Finally, within DOS coalition there are even more radical supporters of this tendency, lead by the Movement for Democratic Serbia, whose president is a former Yugoslav Army general, who believe Serbia should enter Partnership for Peace as soon as possible (incidentally, the Federal Government last days decided to consider applying for this program). In addition, the New Democracy party, a centrist one lead by police minister Dusan Mihajlovic has more than once insisted that Serbia should enter NATO outright - the sooner the better. But this kind of hurry is not seen as either commendable (having in mind the most recent history) or rational (knowing that any country cannot enter NATO just because it wants to right away).

NGOs' Opinions

NGOs in Serbia work on the idea of European integrations as well. Although projects directly aimed at launching Serbia into the EU very soon are practically nonexistent, it would be fair to notice that, in a more general way, the long term goal of all NGO activities in the country today is to make Serbian civil institutions live up to the European standards, and therefore, make the country capable of joining the integrations in the near future. Solving refugee problems, integrating them into the new environment, working on human rights issues (including ethnic minorities, but also women, children, the disabled etc.), organizing schools for democracy and workshops cherishing tolerance - all these activities help the country develop standards long respected in the democratic world.
There are some programs, however, which can more directly be seen as aiming at the integration process. The Committee for Civic Initiative in Nis, an NGO gathering University professors and assistants in humanistic sciences, has launched a couple of projects in this direction. The approach is by definition piecemeal. The program School for Democracy, organized in cooperation with Fund for Open Society, consisted of a series of 52 lectures whose purpose was to introduce basic concepts of a democratic society to the population. 'Politics from A to Z' was a project whose aim was to give basic training to young political party members from the local boards. They were taught dialogue conducting, rhetoric, basic logic and specialized English. A similar project is pending in which young journalists from numerous local TV and radio stations should be trained in the view of changing conditions in society. Modern politicians and journalists are perhaps a key to a near future in which public activities will be conducted in the democratic spirit, and in accordance with the principles and values of the European Union.
However, the most important project currently planned is the School of Social Sciences, where in cooperation with the Faculty of Philosophy in Nis a specific kind of studies, primarily aimed at social science postgraduates, would be introduced. It would comprise compulsory courses in societies in transition (privatisation, reform, political parties, trade unions, civic society, social policy) and multiculturalism (culture, multiculturalism, interculturalism, models of cultural policy in the CEE countries) and some optional courses in the realm of human rights. The idea is that the serious education of young people in the area of values mostly cherished in Europe today would in the long run help the entire country live up to the standards imposed by the EU and thus be accepted one day as a full-fledged member of the European community of nations. This project is still in need of funders.
It seems, finally, that the tendency to develop Serbia in such a way as to make it closer to the European integrations is obvious. It also seems there is a general agreement in the population that this is necessary. However, how this will be done, and how much time and hard work it will take, is still not quite clear.

FRY: la prima conferenza sulla ricostruzione ecologica della Jugoslavia

28/09/2001 -  Anonymous User

Ieri a Belgrado si è aperta la prima conferenza internazionale di quattro giorni sulla ricostruzione ecologica della Jugoslavia, denominata ENRY 2001. Come informa il quotidiano belgradese Danas, circa 500 partecipanti hanno considerato le conseguenze dei bombardamenti della NATO e le sanzioni che li hanno preceduti sull'ambiente della Jugoslavia , la questione principale ha riguardato l'impiego dell'uranio impoverito usato nelle munizioni, ed anche i problemi della sanità del cibo e dell'acqua, così come anche la possibilità della ricostruzione ecologica e del "risanamento" dei luoghi colpiti. Il premier serbo Zoran Djindjic, salutando i presenti, ha sottolineato che le istituzioni competenti lavorano alla ricostruzione dell'economia e alla preparazione di nuove normative che sistematicamente regoleranno il problema dell'inquinamento. "Benché non siamo vicini alla realizzazione di tutti i compiti ecologici, con questa conferenza saranno create le cornici per la loro attuazione" ha confermato Djindjic.Secondo le parole del presidente del governo la campagna ecologica in corso è legata a nuovi corsi economici, e il primo passo concreto sarà la creazione del nuovo ministero per le risorse naturali e per la protezione dell'ambiente. Questo ministero avrà competenze nella protezione delle risorse più importanti come l'acqua, l'aria e il suolo. Djindjic ha sottolineato inoltre come questo governo sia il primo in cinquant'anni ad avere una attiva politica ecologica.
Srdjan Popovic, consigliere del primo ministro per le questioni ecologiche, ha presentato la ricerca sull'ambiente che è stata approvata dal governo, ma ha espresso il desiderio che essa venga aggiornata e modificata secondo le conclusioni di questa conferenza.
I patroni d'onore della conferenza ENRY 2001 sono il patriarca Pavle e il presidente della FRY Vojislav Kostunica. Alla conferenza era presente anche la principessa Karadjordjevic, presidentessa d'onore, che è anche patrona della gara degli studenti sul tema "I giovani e l'ambiente". Fra gli altri hanno parlato i ministri Dragan Domazet e Branislav Lecic, così come anche l'ambasciatore della Svizzera in Jugoslavia. Iniziatori della conferenza sono state le professoresse Tatjana Jevremovic dell'università americana Poordew e la professoressa Jasmina Vujic dell'Università di Berkeley.

Serbia e Montenegro: un dialogo difficile

20/09/2001 -  Luka Zanoni

Da un episodio recente, sulla base delle opinioni di alcune fonti giornalistiche Luka Zanoni fa il punto sul difficile rapporto tra Serbia e Montenegro.

Rapporti Croazia-FRY

18/09/2001 -  Anonymous User

Il ministro degli esteri croato, Tonino Picula, ha dichiarato che giunto il tempo che venga nominato l'ambasciatore croato nella FRY, a Belgrado. Picula ha espresso la sua credenza che la FRY farà la stessa cosa.Ad ogni modo ha commentato le relazioni tra la Croazia e la FRY, dicendo che non saranno semplici comunque. "Il problema di nominare l'ambasciatore non è certo l'unico problema esistente tra i due paesi, penso che abbiamo un'intera serie lista di problemi che attendono la sluzione, e su ciò dobbiamo lavorarci" ha ribadito Picula.
Nel frattempo secondo quanto scrive il quotidiano di Zagabria, Vjesnik, il presidente del Forum democratico serbo, Obrad Ivanovic, ha annunciato il ritorno di un certo numero di serbi nel territorio compreso da 16 contee della Slavonia Occidentale, si parlerebbe di 5.150 persone. Tuttavia questo numero rappresenta solo il 10% dei cittadini che lasciarono la Croazia dopo l'azione armata denominata "Bljesak", nel maggio 1995.
Attualmente il numero di queste persone che sono in attesa di riavere le proprietà è di circa 1400, mentre quelli che stanno aspettando ancora le riparazioni necessarie delle proprie abitazioni è di circa 5.000.

American Tragedy - Impact on Serbia

18/09/2001 -  Mihailo Antović Nis

The horrendous terrorist attacks in the USA have made their impact on the situation in Serbia, as well.
- There has been no information so far on any panic among American citizens or overt fear for the American objects on the Serbian territory. There was a meeting of the highest Yugoslav officials Tuesday evening local time, after which Federal Interior Minister Zoran Zivkovic stated Yugoslav authorities were on a state of alert, and additional security forces would start protecting the American Embassy and all the American officials in Yugoslavia immediately. Precaution measures included private objects of American citizens currently in Yugoslavia, and embassies of other Western countries, as well. In Kosovo, too, American citizens and especially soldiers have been warned of possible terrorist attacks, and most have been ordered to return to secure locations, including bases such as Bondsteel. Yugoslav Deputy Ambassador to the US, Ivan Zivkovic, stated that, according to his information, no Yugoslav citizens or officials currently in the US had been hurt in the attacks. He also said the Embassy issued an official warning to Yugoslav citizens to avoid any federal buildings in the American capital for fear of new attacks. Zivkovic confirmed many Yugoslavs from the United States had called the Embassy to express their disgust at the event.

The local reactions are, however, mixed. Politicians, including president Kostunica and Serbian prime minister Djindjic were unanimous in condemning the act of violence and offering words of comfort to the American people. Premier Djindjic also warned of the "alarming globalization of conflicts, in which events in distant countries, such as the Middle East, can bring about disaster practically in any part of the world in no time." Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic cut short his visit to Tunisia to return to Belgrade and meet President Kostunica. He warned the Serbian population to "try to calm their emotions and share the sorrow with the American nation and the entire world today." The hint was at the 'it-serves-them-right' or 'let-them-have-some-of-their-own-medicine' attitude to America, still present in many locals. The virus did not miss some opposition officials, either. Milosevic's Socialist Party representatives condemned the act, adding, however, "this was partly a consequence of America's turning a blind eye to terrorism all over the world, and sometimes its open support to terrorists, including places such as Kosovo and Macedonia". Hardline Serbian Radicals gave no official reactions, apart from their leader's occasional hints on the local Nis TV Belle Amie last night that 'America is the one to really blame, due to its constant policy of bullying around all over the world.'

The reactions on the street were similar, at least in the beginning. At first, although many people felt pangs of consciousness, knowing that those who got killed were nothing more but innocent civilians, not in the least responsible for America's global policies, many felt this was necessary to bring America back to earth, and to show its citizens "what it is like to see the symbols of your country being torn down by madmen." The common comparison was the one with the TV tower on the Avala mountain, on the outskirts of Belgrade, once the prime symbol of the Serbian capital, destroyed by NATO bombs in 1999. Some claimed no one expected America would be humiliated as much as Serbia was just two years ago. However, after the initial urge for retaliation, Serbs calmed down (as usual). The images of innocent people killed or hurt downtown New York, with the stories of people jumping out through the windows in panic, made them really sympathize with ordinary Americans this time, although there is still no love lost of official American policy.
Any analyses offered so far aimed at global consequences. Possible American reactions have been examined, and there have also been hints this would be 'a landmark in international relations unseen in the last 100 years.' As for Yugoslavia's position, the only reaction was given by Serbian Finance Minister Bozidar Djelic, who claimed this would open up a way to a "visible recession" in the United States, which would then influence US's partners, including Europe, and therefore even we here might feel some economic consequences of this act. Other politicians, however, only gave general anti-terrorism statements, rarely failing to remind the public of the problems with Albanian terrorism in Serbia.

Serbia: al vaglio il nuovo ministero dell'ecologia

17/09/2001 -  Anonymous User

In Serbia si sta valutando la possibilità di creare un ministero che dovrà occuparsi della protezione ambientale. Si tratta di un segnale importante della crescita di sensibilità verso i problemi dell'ambiente.

FRY: Serbia e Montenegro si preparano al cambio in Euro

17/09/2001 -  Anonymous User

La campagna "L'Euro è un nuovo Marco tedesco" è iniziata oggi in Serbia e durerà fino al 1 febbraio 2002. Il cambio delle valute correnti nazionali dei paesi della UE inizierà in Serbia il 1 gennaio, e la Banca nazionale di Jugoslavia ha già ottenuto 276,5 milioni di Euro da offrire ai cittadini. Il governatore della banca nazionale Mladjan Dinkic ha affermato che "se necessario la banca centrale sarà pronta a chiamare quantità addizionali della valuta europea". Dinkic ha aggiunto che il cambio potrà essere svolto attraverso 2,500 uffici dislocati nel paese. Un lieve disagio è stato notato nella popolazione durante gli ultimi mesi, da quando si è saputo che la più comune valuta straniera in Serbia, il marco tedesco, sarà fuori corso. Il cambio è atteso con qualche apprensione, grazie anche al fatto che manca una fiducia nel sistema bancario jugoslavo dopo il crollo devastante e le frodi piramidali nel 1990. Una certa apprensione riguardo l'imminente sostituzione del Marco con l'Euro viene riscontrata anche in Montenegro. Dal primo gennaio 2002 infatti anche il Montenegro adotterà l'Euro come moneta ufficiale. Lo ha annunciato il primo ministro montenegrino Zarko Rakcevic. La banca nazionale montenegrina ha dichiarato che attualmente nel paese circolano 200 milioni di marchi tedeschi. In accordo con le tendenze dei 12 dell'Unione Europea, entro marzo tutti i marchi saranno ritirati.
Il Montenegro, a differenza della Serbia, già da circa tre anni adotta come moneta ufficiale il marco tedesco al posto del dinaro. Tuttavia per le medesime ragioni su esposte, ovvero una motivata sfiducia nei confronti del sistema bancario, i cittadini sono disorientati e piuttosto riluttanti nei confronti del nuovo corso. Oltretutto durante le prime dichiarazioni ufficiali sembrava che il cambio da marchi a euro potesse essere fatto senza problemi presso gli sportelli delle banche, e ciò fino ad una somma massima di diecimila marchi senza alcuna provvisione e senza denuncia del proprio capitale. Le ultime notizie, pubblicate la scorsa settimana dai quotidiani montenegrini (Vijesti, Blic Montenegro), accennavano invece ad una riduzione a 5.000 marchi della somma massima di cambio senza provvisioni. Mentre i possessori di somme di denaro più cospicue stanno pensando di investire negli immobili, per non scoprire e denunciare la propria reale posizione di capitale, vendendo le proprietà a cambio avvenuto. Forti sospetti esistono inoltre riguardo la possibilità di ripulire il denaro sporco, accumulato con traffici illegali, dalla locale criminalità organizzata.

Ricerca del G17+: per i serbi la condizione economica peggiora

13/09/2001 -  Mihailo Antović

A quasi un anno dal nuovo governo in Serbia, i sentimenti della popolazione locale sono di un peggioramento delle proprie condizioni di vita anziché di un miglioramento. E ciò non è poi così paradossale, se pensiamo alla gestione politica dei posti di lavoro avuta dal regime di Milosevic, ai prezzi politici dei beni di prima necessità, etc... Oggi la popolazione serba valuta la propria situazione economica, in un scala da 1 a 5, a malapena di 2.27, per cui il 58 % del campione selezionato considera la propria posizione difficile o addirittura molto difficile. La ricerca è stata fatta da NGO G17+ (del quale alcuni rappresentanti sono membri del governo Federale e Serbo) e ha preso in considerazione il territorio della Serbia, della Voivodina e la città di Belgrado (il campione comprendeva 2006 famiglie). I politici dovrebbero essere preoccupati, Branko Milanovic, esperto della Banca Mondiale e uno dei promotori della ricerca, ha detto:"il 40% della popolazione pensa che la loro condizione si sia deteriorata negli ultimi sei mesi, mentre il 50% pensa che la situazione è la stessa che esisteva durante il regime precedente." Finora il 25% crede che il precedente regime fosse esattamente lo stesso da incolpare per la situazione attuale, ma il numero di quelli che ugualmente incolpano il presente governo è del 40% e sta aumentando. Quando si chiede quanto dovrebbero essere pagati mensilmente per il loro lavoro, il 50% risponde due volte di più e il 29% persino tre volte di più del loro attuale salario. La paura della privatizzazione è ancora forte in più del 90% dei soggetti. Più del 60% dei partecipanti, comunque, crede che il governo dovrebbe procedere a qualsiasi costo nella realizzazione delle riforme, in modo tale da garantire abbastanza presto benefici reali a tutta la popolazione.

Reazioni da Serbia e Montenegro sugli attentati negli USA

12/09/2001 -  Anonymous User

In Serbia e Montenegro sdegno e solidarietà agli USA. Ma si ricordano anche i bombardamenti della Nato...

Svilanovic: 'la Jugoslavia è uno stato semi-mafioso'

11/09/2001 -  Anonymous User

In Serbia e Montenegro fanno discutere le recenti dichiarazioni del ministro degli esteri federale Goran Svilanovic: durante una conferenza tenutasi ad Alpbach il 27 agosto scorso, Svilanovic ha descritto il suo paese come uno "stato semi-mafioso", dove sono ancora presenti tutte le vecchie strutture di potere. In questa fase anzi si stanno confrontando tre forze di governo parallele e interconnesse: quelle facenti capo al passato regime di Milosevic, quelle del nuovo corso politico e quelle del crimine organizzato. "Queste tre forze - ha aggiunto il ministro - sono così interrelate tra loro, che a volte non sai bene con quale stai trattando". Svilanovic ha poi affermato che la lotta contro il crimine organizzato ha un'importanza vitale per la Jugoslavia, paese che deve passare attraverso un profondo processo di transizione. In ciò dovrebbe essere aiutata dalla comunità internazionale, ma - ha osservato ancora il ministro degli esteri jugoslavo - l'impressione è che in Europa e negli Stati Uniti manchi completamente un pensiero strategico sul futuro dei Balcani.

Quali prospettive per il turismo in Serbia e Montenegro?

11/09/2001 -  Anonymous User

I cittadini di Serbia e Montenegro non possiedono le risorse economiche sufficienti per potersi permettere di trascorrere le vacanze nei loro paesi, che dunque si ritrovano ad accogliere in prevalenza turisti provenienti dall'Europa Occidentale, dagli Stati Uniti e, in qualche caso, dalle regioni più vicine dell'Asia. E' quanto emerge dai due recenti approfondimenti condotti dall'Osservatorio sui Balcani che spiega come i costi per i trasporti ed il soggiorno non siano accessibili per la quasi totalità delle famiglie di Serbia e Montenegro. Le due regioni balcaniche attirano però, e in numero sempre crescente, i visitatori occidentali richiamati dalle straordinarie bellezze naturali: se l'instabilità politica di Serbia e Montenegro ancora oggi rappresenta in qualche caso un deterrente per i turisti europei e statunitensi, è presumibile che con il normalizzarsi della situazione interna il flusso di visitatori subisca incrementi anche consistenti ed apra interessanti prospettive di crescita. I cittadini serbi e montenegrini dovranno invece attendere che si sblocchi la negativa congiuntura economica, e dunque diversi anni, prima di potersi permettere le vacanze sulle superbe montagne e le splendide coste di casa loro. Intanto la Croce Rossa di Belgrado ha organizzato nello scorso mese di agosto una breve vacanza al mare per i bambini più poveri.

Revocato l'embargo armi alla Yugoslavia

11/09/2001 -  Anonymous User

Il consiglio di sicurezza dell'Onu ha revocato alla Jugoslavia l'embargo sulle armi che durava da tre anni. Con questa risoluzione l'Onu ha preso atto delle aperture al dialogo mostrate dal governo di Belgrado verso la comunità kossovara albanese, concretizzatesi con il ritiro delle unità speciali di polizia e la conclusione delle attività di polizia contro i civili. La risoluzione richiede alla Yugoslavia di permettere l'accesso al Kossovo ai gruppi umanitari e alle rappresentanze diplomatiche. Inoltre la Yugoslavia dovrà accettare e facilitare le missioni dell'OSCE e dell'Acnur. Si terrà in questi giorni in Ungheria un convegno sul traffico di armi leggere nelle regioni del sud-est Europa a cui parteciperà anche l'Osservatorio sui Balcani.

Serbia: la povertà non è un brutto ricordo

05/09/2001 -  Mihailo Antović Nis

Dopo qualche tempo di inattività per mancanze di fondi, la mensa per poveri della Croce Rossa di Nis riaprirà i battenti. In passato questa mensa preparava pasti per 2000 cittadini in situazioni di estrema, ma con la nuova apertura - prevista per il 1° ottobre prossimo - si aggiungerà alla lista un altro migliaio di persone. "Inizialmente, tutte le spese verranno coperte dalla Croce Rossa" ha dichiarato Stojan Prokopovic - portavoce dell'organizzazione - "ma nel frattempo cercheremo il supporto di altri donatori, che siano disposti a coprire una parte delle spese fisse - soprattutto i costi di energia elettrica - e l'acquisto di alcuni generi alimentari di base necessari alla preparazione dei pasti". Prokopovic ha anche annunciato che in futuro la Croce Rossa vorrebbe anche avviare un servizio di mensa dietro pagamento di prezzi popolari rivolto a tutti i cittadini di Nis, in modo da assicurare il servizio gratuito a coloro che non alcuna possibilità economica.
La situazione allarmante, emerge anche dai dati resi ufficiali dagli esperti del Gruppo G17+ - tra i quali vi sono anche personaggi che fanno parte del Governo Serbo e Federale - relativi ad una ricerca effettuata a Belgrado e in aree della Serbia e della Vojvodina, su di un campione di circa 2000 famiglie.Come ha sottolineato Branko Milanovic - esperto delle Banca Mondiale e promotore della ricerca - i politici dovrebbero seriamente preoccuparsi dei dati emersi, considerato che "il 40% delle famiglie ha dichiarato che negli ultimi sei mesi le proprie condizioni di vita sono peggiorate, mentre il 50% ha la sensazione che non sia cambiato nulla rispetto alla situazione in cui vivevano nel precedente regime". Inoltre solo il 25% degli intervistati ritiene che la responsabilità della situazione attuale è del precedente regime mentre ben il 40% ne addossa la colpa al governo attuale, ma è emerge un alto livello di insoddisfazione anche dalle risposte date rispetto agli aumenti salariali considerati "minimi". Il 50% ha risposto che per vivere avrebbe la necessità di vedere il proprio salario mensile aumentato del doppio, e il 29% di almeno tre volte l'attuale mensilità percepita. (Glas Javnosti, 1 settembre).

Summer time in Serbia and Montenegro - 2° parte

15/08/2001 -  Anonymous User

According to the estimates of the Serbian government about one third of citizens in Serbia is living in poverty, and over than 750 000 citizens in their best years are unemployed. On the other hand, it is possible to find the same number of citizens actually employed, who again live on the fringes of existence. There are approximately one and a half million pensioners living in Serbia, and again a little bit more than a million and a half in actual employment. Therefore the estimate is that there are 1,4 employees to one pensioner, a statistic which demonstrates high dependency. Further to this, when we consider the 600 000 refugees, it is not hard to define the social situation in Serbia as unpromising.


However, a lot of Serbian people somehow manage to afford going to the sea and most often it is the Montenegrin coast which they visit. The largest travel agency in Serbia, Yugoslav Airline Transport, offers many proposals every year where it is possible to pay in dinars even though the official currency in Montenegro is DEM (Deutsche Mark). The cheapest accommodation, in the peak season from 21- 31 July, for one person for 10 days is 269 DEM in Budva, whilst the most expensive is 1125 Dem in Milocer. It is quite a lot of money, when knowing that an average salary in Serbia is not more than 200 DEM. Hence it is much more cheaper for Serbian people to go to private accommodation. A bed in a private accommodation costs 10 to 15 DEM per night. By doing that a lower price for rooms is paid and by arranging their own meals they spend less money (often they eat sandwiches or biscuits. These tourists are called by a common name "tomato tourists").
Still the most common means of transport is the car. Therefore there are a lot of car accidents, because most of the drivers are tired of poverty, and the problems they confront each day. Sometimes they are even hungry, because it is not enough eating sandwiches and tomato and driving at least 600 km. The trauma people still suffer due to the last decade of dictatorship is still present. Some other causes of frequent accidents are overcrowded roads, old cars, routes in very poor condition and bad discipline of the drivers.
There are of course people from Serbia who spend their holidays in Greece or Turkey. Mostly those are young people who come from rich families. One quite strange thing very vivid in Serbian society is that a small group of rich people (businessmen, etc.) does not find the time to rest whereas the poor majority, with financial problems, actually does go on holidays. This is quite a paradoxical situation. In mid-August, for example, it was not possible at all to find any free rooms by going to the agencies. Everything the agencies were offering was full until after August 25. No special programmes for foreign tourists were offered this year by Belgrade tourist agencies. The price was the same for them but they cold not book anything from their country of origin. Notwithstanding all these problems, the Montenegrin coast is full of tourists, which was not the case in the previous few years. Then, people were afraid of conflict, sometimes of NATO, and sometimes of the possibility of sudden civil war emerging in Montenegro.


One can also find a small group of people travelling to the Croatian coast. Here it would be good to remind oneself that besides the fact that Milosevic is not ruling any more and Serbia is becoming open to the West and the rest of the world, it is still very hard to get a Croatian visa, because this relationship is still not renewed, and the shadow of the recent war is still present in the minds of the people. These people visiting Croatia are mostly people who have relatives there or have Bosnian or Croatian passports (refugees). Nowadays, besides the fact that the relationship between Serbia and Montenegro, as we know it, is not so friendly as it traditionally used to be, it is not an obstacle for Serbian people to visit the beaches of Herceg Novi, Kotor, Tivat, Budva, Sveti Stefan, Petrovac, and Bar. The situation in Macedonia also helped the number of tourists in Montenegro as it is not possible, at the moment, to travel safely to Greece by car. Since democratic changes in Serbia after October 5 2000 a lot of aid and donations have been coming to Serbia from abroad. This summer there were many projects to help children go to the seaside, the mountains, or somewhere else. One of these projects was run by the Red Cross, Belgrade which organized summer holidays during August for children coming from poorer families. The value for this kind of programme was put at 1.3 million dinars (DEM equals 30 dinars). This summer a lot of foreigners came to Montenegro Riviera. These foreigners, besides Cheks and Slovaks came mostly from the former Yugoslav republics of Slovenia, Macedonia and even Croatia. Ulcinj, the town on the very South of the Montenegrin coast, recorded the best tourist season ever. During July it was recorded that over 100 000 visitors spent their holiday on the Ulcinj Riviera. Employees in tourist services stated that in Ulcinj and its surrounding area there were around 60 000 visitors from Kosovo. Some newspapers published stories that Hasim Taci, one of the Kosovo Albanian leaders, was holidaying on one of Ulcinj' s beaches. Besides the dominant presence of tourists from Kosovo, there are also people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Novi Pazar (a town in Sandzak, the southern part of Serbia where the majority of the population is of ethnic Bosniak (Muslim) background). Russians, Checks and Slovaks also visited Ulcinj.Ada Bojana, however, once a famous nature haven, is not any more what it used to be and no more foreign tourists come there. It is actually the first year that people, especially those coming from FRY, are a little bit less tense. A new trend that shows how a residue of war memories are still floating in the air. Pictures of some war criminals, like General Mladic, sunbathing on Budva's Riviera were published, for example. There are some cultural events that bring a little bit of glamour to the picture of the overcrowded Montenegrin coast, with its problems of drinking water among others. Maybe the best example would be the 15th Budva Festival, famous for its numerous performances, theatre plays, concerts, etc. It starts on July 1 lasts for 51 days. It unites artists, not only from Montenegro, but also from Serbia and other foreign countries. Also in Ulcinj, a book fair was held between August 8- 13, which promoted 5000 titles in Albanian. The situation is certainly more optimistic this year than it was in the last decade. The Montenegrin coast was never so full of tourists. However not so many tourists from abroad came. Only foreigners from the former republics of Yugoslavia, who themselves felt nostalgia and now finally lived a moment passing the Croatia- Montenegro border not free of fear. The divisions are still visible however: Albanians and Bosnians stay in Ulcinj, while Serbs, Macedonians and Serbs from Republic of Srpska stay in the northern points of the Montenegrin Riviera.

Vai alla prima parte

Co-operation with the ICTY: the question is still open

07/08/2001 -  Anonymous User

More than a month after Milosevic was extradited to The Hague ICTY, and the question of co-operation with The ICTY still remains open and undefined. The citizens of Serbia, occupied with everyday existence and survival, begin step by step to forget about the recent president detained in Scheweningen , while the politicians remain the ones who are certainly occupied with the question of "who will the next traveller to The Hague be" among the other four accused together with Milosevic in spring 1999. They are: the current Serbian president, Milan Milutinovic; the member of the main body of Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), Nikola Sainovic; SPS MP Vlajko Stojiljkovic (former Serbian Interior Minister); and lastly as the columnist of Daily Danas, Jasmina Lukac, names him "forgotten" office commander of Yugoslav Army (VJ), Dragoljub Ojdanic.
In the article, written by Jasmina Lukac, published in Danas, July 28- 29, the present situation and behaviour of this four previously mentioned is described. For instance, of the four, the person in the worst situation is probably Sainovic who himself constantly rejects any kind of statements to the press and never leaves house without his bodyguard. Whereas, on the other hand Milutinovic, it is presumed, will be called as a witness, instead of being the indictee. This is due to his "good behaviour" in the period after the fall of Milosevic' s regime (as it is well known Milutinovic refused to block some decisions of the DOS coalition as Milosevic family and SPS were asking him, Milutinovic as a Serbian president was in a position to do such a thing, however he did not), the fact is that he was an ambassador in Greece until 1995, so therefore he could not have been involved in the Bosnian war, as Sainovic is presumed to be. After Milosevic was arrested he resigned from all his SPS functions, etc. (Danas, July 28- 29)
In his interview to magazine "Vreme" (No 551) Serbian Prime Minister, Zoran Djindjic, stated that Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) has some time to prepare and define a concept of co-operation with The ICTY. Djindjic stated that one might say that with having Milosevic in The Hague, about 50 per cent of the obligations of Serbia, concerning the topic of extradition of the FRY citizens, have been fulfilled.He then explained that now two strategic plans are in front of DOS. The first would be that the list of FRY citizens to be extradited to the Hague finishes here, or the second that a part of those be put under the trial in FRY if that is possible and also if The ICTY accepts that...

Supporters of Milosevic and legalists

The best example on which the fractions in Serbia, FRY, formed on the different opinion about The ICTY itself and co-operation with it, is certainly the case of extradition of the former President, mister Slobodan Milosevic.First, there is a fraction that consists of relatively small number of Milosevic supporters, the majority of which come from the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), and Serbian Radical Party (SRS). This fraction is against any co-operation with The ICTY, their politics do not differ at all from Milosevic' s in the last 10 years. Secondly one can find a fraction, whose best representative would surely be FRY president Kostunica. To define this group, the simplest way would be just to refresh in one' s memory the statements of Kostunica, related to Milosevic' s extradition. He condemned extradition and said that it is not in accordance to the FRY Constitutional Law. People sharing this kind of opinion in Serbia, FRY are called Legalists.
Here it will be also good to cite Belgrade's famous law expert and president of the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, Vojin Dimitrijevic. In his interview for the magazine "Reporter" (No 169, year V, July 18) he said that among Serbian citizens it is still not rare to hear that Milosevic has made Serbian people suffer the most, and therefore he must be put on trial in Yugoslavia and not somewhere else. Dimitrijevic in his interview later explains that people saying this, however right they might be in a moral way, are as well trying to avoid the fact that Milosevic committed crimes against humanity and war crimes towards other nations and that by trying to trial Milosevic here they want to escape that part of his responsibility.

The third fraction

Besides the fraction of Milosevic supporters, and fraction of legalist, there is also another fraction. To explain this one it would be best to write how executive director of Yugoslav Lawyers Committee for Human Rights commented Milosevic's extradition. It is a fact that according to FRY Constitutional Law it is not permitted to extradite FRY citizens to another foreign country. However, the Executive director of Yugoslav Lawyers` Committee for Human Rights, Dusan Ignjatovic pointed out that in the case of Mister Milosevic one could not speak of extradition, in its classical interpretation. He stated that Yugoslav Lawyers` Committee for Human Rights finds that ICTY is not the court, nor body of any foreign country, but the body established by the United Nations. It is therefore important, he added, to comprehend that it is a duty for all countries, whether they are members of the UN or not, to respect the main UN documents like for instance Universal declaration for Human Rights. Today, stressed Ignjatovic, this kind of documents are in the field of common law. Ignjatovic also commented on the atmosphere during the rule of the previous regime, by saying that there were some signs and attempts of collaboration with the ICTY during Milosevic` s reign. As an example for that he cited former commanding officer of the Yugoslav Army VJ, Momcilo Perisic who said that Milosevic ordered him to surrender to the ICTY. However Perisic refused this.Ignjatovic also reminded us that since spring 1999, from the time when ICTY charged Milosevic with war crimes on Kosovo, any kind of co-operation was stopped, by Milosevic` s regime of course. Dusan Ignjatovic concluded that Yugoslav Lawyers` Committee for Human Rights finds that it is not possible to define cases such as Milosevic`s as an extradition, but simple transfer and a sort of collaboration with the ICTY, which is the court of FRY itself.

Citizens' opinion

Finally, it would be good to mention how citizens of Serbia see The ICTY. An opinion poll conducted by the weekly NIN in July 2001, which shows that a slightly over than a third of the citizens of Serbia, about 36.5 per cent think that the Serbian government was right to have extradited Milosevic to The ICTY, whereas about 56. 5 percent find that this was not the right move. That ICTY does not enjoy the support of the majority of the Serbian citizens upholds the fact that 61 per cent of those polled do not consider this court legitimate. Only 28 per cent approves of it. One third of the polled citizens think that Milosevic will have a fair trial in The Hague, whereas on the other hand, about 58. 5 per cent think the opposite.

Roma people in south Serbia

24/07/2001 -  Mihailo Antović Nis

It is today three years since Mr. Sait Balic, known as 'baro manush', which in Romany means 'a great man', died. Mr. Balic was the most famous Roma person in Nis, the man who fought for the rights of Roma people for almost 3 decades, and he was also the President of World Roma Congress. In the seventies and eighties, Nis (which hosts one of the largest Roma populations in the entire former Yugoslavia, about 30,000 people altogether), became a centre of Roma life: it hosted the first (and unique) manifestation known as 'The Meetings of Roma of Serbia" (still active), and it organized the first Roma professional organization known as "Pride". Thanks to Mr. Balic's efforts, in the eighties the first Roma kindergarten was also founded in Nis. But during the life of this great man, the rights of Roma were largely neglected, partly because of the lack of care of Serbian population, and partly because of the attitude of Roma themselves.
Nowadays, at least officially, the situation is slightly better. Romany technically have the same rights as the rest of the population. They are educated in the same schools as the others. They have their political parties, NGOs and regular participation in the media. Until recently, there was a TV show on the local Nis Television every Sunday known as 'Akaja Rat Si Romani', sponsored by the Fund for Open Society and devoted to Roma people exclusively. In the last six months, a radio station in Romany language has been active in Nis. Mr. Balic's son, Osman, has followed his father's footsteps: he is today probably the most active Roma politician in Serbia, currently at the position of Assistant to the Republic Minister of National Minorities, probably the first time in the Serbian history that a Roma person occupies a relatively important political position.

It is the ordinary man on the street and his attitudes, however, that are ultimately relevant when assessing Roma position. Apart from minority militant groups, such as skinheads (virtually nonexistent in Nis, but pretty active in Belgrade and Vojvodina), who often attack Roma people in the streets, excessive physical violence against the Roma is rare. But, there is a general undertone among the Serbs which shows that nobody takes the Roma very seriously. They are seen as petty thieves and smugglers, average musicians or simple labour force, and this conception is enhanced by the fact that in reality they seldom take any upper positions in the society. Misconceptions are sometimes all-present. For example, popular Roma jokes often describe them as 'dirty', which is not only racist but also physically untrue, since their worldview implies the cult of purity, both spiritual and physical, unknown to most Serbs. Needless to say, any mix between the two populations is rare, which is shown by a recent poll where the percentage of Serbs willing to marry a Roma was 0 (strangely, knowing the situation, even Albanians were more suitable prospective marital partners, although that figure was also very low).
The Roma, on the other hand, do not generally do much to improve their position. Many seem to be satisfied with living in semi-ghettos (residential areas known as 'Gypsy-Towns'), sometimes in very harsh conditions. Their education often stops after primary schools, they usually get married early and have a lot of children, whom they cannot fully support, so they are themselves married young, and so on. Crime rates among the Roma are very high, although their offences are usually minor. Their political life, apart from some NGO activity in the recent years, is very modest. In the middle of the 'cast your vote, participate in the elections' campaign last autumn, a large part of which was aimed at the Roma, posters put up in Roma-town in Nis contained an additional inscription: "Whoever tears the posters, let his mother die soon!" - which aimed at the traditional superstition of the Roma, and seemed to be the only way for the posters to stay in one piece and communicate their message. In Vranjska Banja, a spa near Vranje, south Serbia, almost exclusively inhabited by Roma people, almost the entire population of age has joined the currently ruling Democratic Party of prime minister Djindjic. The explanation to this sudden interest in political life came after a local party official, also a Roma person, boasted in front of the foreign journalists that "the Roma are always with those in power, which today means Democratic Party, and that everybody will join. Those who do not, will be 'located'". Someone might call this a new reading of democracy.

However, the funny stories of the local Roma people and their clumsiness when they are to somehow integrate into society are replaced by very grim stories of Roma IDPs from Kosovo. While ethnic Serb IDPs had somewhere to go to, or at least were given some attention, the Roma were left to wander on their own. No one was willing to accept them (in Nis there was one (only one!) family ready to accept Roma population). There was virtually no organized care for the Roma once they crossed the administrative Kosovo border. On the other hand, it would be fair to notice that Roma NGOs, in spite of such a neglect of their compatriots, always make programmes which help all IDPs, irrespective of their ethnicity.

The Roma from Kosovo were put up in some camps where conditions were generally worse than those camps hosting Serbs. There is a large camp known as Salvatore in Bujanovac. From June 1999 to June 2000 the Roma there were put up in tents. Only last summer were they allowed containers donated by the Japanese government. The most terrible story was the one from Kursumlija, in the southwest, were a number of families settled downtown, in the open air, under the bridge. Some had to survive through the winter in unfinished buildings with no windows, no heating, and bad roofs - such as the Cultural Centre building in Kursumlija. In Kragujevac, their situation was slightly better - they were allowed to enter small bungalows with joint kitchen and toilet, shared by eight families. There are some situations where the Roma are settled within Kosovo, also as IDPs: such is the case in the camp in Plementina, a virtual ghetto a few miles from home, where there are about 700 IDPs (mostly Roma, with some Kosovo Serbs and a couple of Serbian families earlier settled from Krajina, Croatia). They are taken care of by the Kosovo branch of ICS.
It is rather difficult to work with Roma population and most NGOs avoid this activity. Repatriation programs still do not exist, and integration is almost impossible. The social habits of many are extremely low, so they are usually taught the most basic things by NGO activists: literacy, basic hygiene (for which they often get small packages with soap and toiletry weekly) etc. Some are trained in workshops, where they choose activity according to their wishes: they are taught some English, music, rap, folklore, even karate - virtually anything to get them socialized as much as possible. ECHO and ICS have started up the project "Evropako Rom" (European Roma), which consists of making the Roma population, especially the youth, active in preparing their own magazine. It is published every two months, and it covers the topics in Roma legends, history, culture, but it also offers some news and interviews.

The overall situation of the Roma, however, remains grim. Generally treated with disrespect, not well organized and not determined to fight, they have remained on the fringes of society for centuries. Among them, those displaced from Kosovo have probably generally been through the most humiliation and neglect of all ethnic groups since the break up of the former Yugoslavia.

New serbian Government wants to keep its promises

11/07/2001 -  Anonymous User

Before winning the elections in September 2000 Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) promised many things, amongst which fighting against the corruption and crime in all segments of society and penalties for those who have suddenly grown rich over the last ten years.Today, when examining the present Serbian financial situation, everyone can notice that, as Finance Minister Bozidar Djelic said in parliament, "Serbia was a blend of methods of robbing the people, none of which was individually original, but the blend was unique...".
The New Serbian Government is on a way to start fulfilling its' promises.
On 20th June, after five days of debates, the Serbian Parliament has a law sanctioning a one-off tax on extra profit and extra property acquired from the beginning of the Milosevic regime (Danas, 21st June). Djelic' s previously mentioned statement therefore finishes as following "... the blend was unique and the law is therefore unique in legal practice in the world".
This law shall not be levied on those who were directly breaking the law, but on those who were in a position to benefit from the laws which previous regime was adopting to approve its mainly illegal actions. For instance, it was very common to buy foreign currencies by the "official exchange rate" much lower than the real one. This "official exchange rate" existed just for the previous government and their associates. In one period of Milosevic's regime for 1DEM one should have paid about 30 dinars on the street and they (the regime and its associates), at the same time were paying only 6 dinars according to their actually non existing "official exchange rate".
This is not the only example of how this "extreme legalist", as journalist of magazine NIN Tanja Jakobi calls them, misused their functions, robbed various founds, got numerous enormously large flats and houses, etc...

How the law on a one-off tax on extra profits will work?
The progressive rate is going to be from 30 to 90 percent on profit acquired from 1st January 1989 to the day on which the law comes into force. The lower end would tax profit of DEM 100.000 and the higher level would be applied to profit in excess of DM 10 million.
Also the tax will be paid for flats/houses bigger than 90 square metres (here it might be interesting to mention that the Serbian Radical Party suggested the limit to be 200 square metres. However this was rejected). Taxpayers are required to submit their tax forms within 30 days after the law comes into force. Special Government Commission will monitor the whole process while at the same time the part of the Republic Parliament will control its monitoring.
Not much time has lapsed since the Law was brought into the light, and already there are a lot of speculations about who are going to be these taxpayers. Among this guesses there are for instance Bogoljub Karic (called "Braca Karic") who has already found time to comment on the Law on extra profits. It is symptomatic that potential taxpayers, as well Bogoljub Karic speak of this law in the same way. Besides explanations that they are not the one who are going to be obliged to pay the tax, none of them is saying anything directly against it, however they do not miss a chance to give some "advice". Of course not one of them is defending themselves because all of them are waiting to see what are they exactly accused of.
For example Bogoljub Karic, in the Weekly magazine NIN (26th June), is giving examples of companies "Mercedes" and "Fiat" which were working under the fascist regime and were not punished afterwards. "They were even helped by new democratic government" explains one of the brothers Karic.
Djordje Antelj ("NIN", 21st June), Director and owner of the firm "Gemax", first commented on numerous accusations that his firm has been building various things without proper permits by saying that he works for every regime as long as he gets money. After that he said that he finds the Law on extra profits unnecessary because nowhere in the world there are retroactive laws.
Nevertheless it is true that this law is retroactive, however American experts for corruption told that in such an extremist situation something extreme need to be done.

It is actually very amusing to listen to these businessmen and ex-politicians during the rule of the former FRY president Slobodan Milosevic, so very untouchable then and now so full of various explanations and compromises. However people are still very sceptical and due to this scepticism it is plenty enough to mention that many people who were the closest associates of the previous regime joined the new streams of a new democratic government as nothing has happened. Probably the best example of such behaviour is Bogoljub Karic. The BK TV the media house that was reporting the same as RTS did during last ten years, and now it acts like it was all the time the greatest enemy of Milosevic.
The central person in the launching and adoption of Law on extra profits is Serbian Finance Minister Bozidar Djelic. In his interview to the weekly magazine Vreme (21st June) he explained that the Law on extra profits is necessary for people to start to trust again in state institutions, and for everyone to know that no one can act any more as it did in Milosevic's era. He also stated in the Parliament that the money gained by taxing the profits will be used for the poorest among the citizens, who paid have the dearest price during the last ten years.
All in all it is again on citizens to wait hoping that the real bad guys will be punished.

Privatisation - The Major Stumbling Block So Far

03/07/2001 -  Mihailo Antović Nis

The sudden rush about extraditing the former president Milosevic to the Hague Tribunal seems to have given another tumult to the political situation in Serbia. Its political, rhetorical, historical and (pseudo) patriotic consequences have unfortunately out-powered the real reason for the last-minute act: we need (a lot of) money, and we need it badly.
The present economic situation in the country is, speaking in terms of European standards, catastrophic. The first thing a foreign visitor would notice upon entering Serbia are the vehicles on the road - the average age of a Serbian car is 15 years. Scarce new Audis and BMWs are there just to remind us we are actually not in the eighties, and that there is a small minority who did quite well during the former regime. Black-market clothing, toiletries with fake labels, unreasonably cheap food and electricity and pirated property (software, movies, music etc.) have kept the population from bursting out in anger for years. However, in the changed conditions after October 2000, the intention to join the European integration processes means we will be forced to accept two principles: the rule of law and market economy. As for the first principle, courts are regaining their authority pretty slowly, although there is substantial consent within the population that they should pay taxes, respect regulations and cease with any illegal or semi-legal activities which helped them survive during the former period. Market economy, however, begins with privatisation.

Privatisation law is currently being discussed in the parliament. It looks like a compromise between what is called here "shock therapy" (meaning - fire everybody you have to, sell state property quickly and then think what to do once you have the money) and status quo from the Milosevic era, known as "buddy privatisation" (meaning - restricted for the 'buddies', i.e. the chosen loyal businessmen who would split up all the property and snatch the profit). As all the Milosevic trademarks, "buddy privatisation" was accompanied by a seductive cover story: no factories would become majority owned by foreigners, which means 51% (or more) would become the property of the workers, since they would all get the initial equal share of the stocks once the privatisation process began. Many ill-informed workers, and even some trade unions, bought this story, which reminded them of the nostalgic years of the former Yugoslavia when the property was 'common' (as they believed, theirs). Of course, the story was just a fairy tale: in reality, most companies were not privatised at all, since Milosevic's cronies were waiting for them to deteriorate as much as possible so that they could be bought off at ridiculous prices in the end. Those that got privatised were in most cases bought by their former state-appointed executives and their next of kin. True, many workers were given stocks - but hardly any of them knew what those pieces of paper actually meant, and they were often willing to sell them to their 'kind' executives at the prices which to them seemed gigantic (a couple of grand) at the time their monthly salaries equalled 20 DEM or even less. Now it is too late to ask for the stocks back.
The new Government has therefore decided to stop this process and initiate a new type of privatisation - tender-based sell-out to foreign companies (up to 70% of the firms privatised). Their main argument is, paradoxically, historical: since Serbia is ten years late compared with the rest of the transition countries, it can at least take advantage of the historical perspective and not repeat the mistakes associated with some of those countries. One of the mistakes, as claimed by the Cabinet, is giving out free stocks to the workers.
Since the opposition has been using this fact to accuse the government of unfairness and even open brutality to the workers' rights, finance minister Djelic and privatisation minister Vlahovic have been at pains lately to explain to Serbian workers that it would be much better for them to become ordinary, but well-paid labour force in foreign-owned stable factories than 'owners' of non-existent property or, even worse, shareholders of factories up to their ears in debt. But the rhetoric of the opposition in the parliament seems to have alarmed the workers of their rights, and many trade unions are unwilling to comply with the total sell-out of the factories to foreign investors.
There is yet another problem behind the grain. Foreign businessmen care about profit, and profit only, regardless of their mild rhetoric assuring the workers they will all be taken care of. This means many will have to be fired. Large industrial complexes, based mostly in Nis (Electronic and Machine Industries, with smaller factories almost 40,000 workers altogether - with their families almost a half of the city population) and in Kragujevac (with Zastava automobile plant, hosting 11,500 workers). With no investment over the last 10 years, with no former Yugoslav or Soviet markets, these plants have been decaying for years. Their workers have got used to the minimal wages, amounting to 10-30 DEM a month, fictitious job positions (since they don't really work at all) and spending most of their spare time either selling smuggled clothing garments at the local flea market or ploughing their village estate and selling food in town. Their official salaries are indeed humiliating, but they believe they are at least socially secure, since they are officially employed, so no one can deny them their pension. Those who work hardly do what they are qualified for - the horrid reality has made the Machine Industry in Nis use one of its formerly most distinguished facilities for growing mushrooms! Similar stories are heard all over the country.

The Government has been trying to convince the workers that "reducing the labour force" does not mean that they are all automatically fired, but that there would be pre-qualification programmes and guaranteed social aid for the expenses. But the figures are unforgiving: out of 11,500 people, only 4,500 will be kept in the Zastava automobile plant. The rest will not be officially fired, but "pre-qualified" - though no one really knows how frightening this word sounds to a 55-year-old worker who has been assembling cars for the last 35 years. No wonder the trade unions of the factory yesterday (25 june) announced a new strike, although they seemed to have reached an agreement with the Government only five days before. On the other hand, the Government is rushing to extradite Milosevic and others, hoping it would get about $1 billion at the Donor's Conference Friday, and use the money obtained primarily for stifling expected social blows during the autumn.

Finally, some blows have come already. Although "shock therapy" is too tough a phrase, the Government has already carried out some unpopular decisions, such as allowing the prices of food, petrol and electricity to go up. The remaining unpleasant pill to be swallowed is the price of stable and mobile telephony, which was to rise for 60%, but the figure allowed by the Government yesterday stopped at 35%. Finance minister Djelic said earlier this was an important step for many reasons: first, this convinced the IMF that we were serious about the reform, including its less popular sides, such as allowing reasonable prices of basic articles and services; second, these prices have reached their limit for this year, and they cannot go any higher, whereas salaries are expected to continue (?) growing throughout the year, which means truly better standard of the population.
But the population is anxious. Along with these, other prices are also going up, and average monthly salaries of 150 DEM, even though twice higher than those of the previous year, are simply too low to cover even the most basic expenses.
The Serbian Government is therefore in a very delicate position. The latest polls have shown about 50% of the population still firmly in favour of the reform and the new cabinet. But the underlying message was: "do something that will make us feel at least small benefits of what you are doing, and do it quickly, or else..." Premiere Djindjic and his staff know this, and this is why they are rushing towards the Donor's Conference in Brussels and privatisation law.


30/06/2001 -  Anonymous User

Il 28 giugno è una data particolare per la Jugoslavia. La storia attraverso i secoli ormai ce lo ha insegnato. Si tratta di "Vidovdan", il giorno di San Vito. Joze Pirjevec ha perfino intitolato un suo libro: "Il giorno di San Vito".
Cosa è accaduto nel fatidico giorno che riecheggia nelle canzoni popolari e che ha influenzato buona parte delle narrazioni epiche della cultura serba?
La prima data storica cui, con ogni probabilità, rimanda Vidovdan è il 28 giugno 1389 giorno della celeberrima battaglia di Kosovo Polje, dove la leggenda serba narra dell'uccisione del Principe Lazar, divenuto in seguito santo, da parte delle forze ottomane. Iniziò allora l'ascesa celeste del popolo serbo e da lì il Kosovo iniziò a far parlare di sé. Tuttavia la storia ci insegna ancora di più: il 28 giugno 1914 Gavrilo Princip, facente parte del gruppo Mlada Bosna, uccise a Sarejevo l'Arciduca Francesco Ferdinado e sua moglie, dando il via alla prima guerra mondiale. In tempi più recenti, il 28 giugno 1989, Slobodan Milosevic parlò ad una folla di un milione di persone riunite a Kosovo Polje, per la commemorazione del seicentenario della battaglia della Piana dei merli, annunciando che mai più nessuno avrebbe sollevato una mano contro il popolo serbo. Il 1989 fu l'anno in cui iniziò la disintegrazione della Jugoslavia di Tito e l'anno in cui ci furono parecchie proteste da parte della popolazione albanese per una indipendenza del Kosovo, purtroppo però finirono con la revoca dell'autonomia che gli era stata concessa da Tito nel 1974.
La storia jugoslava, che è sempre foriera di sorprese, segna infine il 28 giugno 2001 la data della consegna di Slobodan Milosevic al Tribunale Internazionale dell'Aja. Non scevro da polemiche e imminenti crisi tra i partiti di governo, quest'ultimo evento verrà impresso ben in evidenza nelle pagine della storia della Jugoslavia.
Che tutto ciò sia frutto di semplici coincidenze storiche o di logiche politiche mirate lasciamo che siano gli analisti a sentenziarlo, noi abbiamo solo voluto segnalare il ripetersi attraverso la storia di una data, il 28 giugno appunto, in cui ci si potrà forse anche in futuro aspettare qualcosa.


30/06/2001 -  Anonymous User

Quando si tratta dell'uranio impoverito e delle conseguenze dei bombardamenti della NATO con munizioni radioattive è necessario informare bene i cittadini sulle conseguenze possibili, però si deve anche stare attenti ad evitare di diffondere false informazioni esagerando con i dati. Questo ha dichiarato l'associazione jugoslava dei chimici e tecnologi che ha organizzato ieri (21 giugno) un seminario di formazione.
L'uranio dalla munizione brucia anche fino al 70%, passando in aerosol e particelle molto piccole che si trasmettono facilmente attraverso l'aria. Se l'uranio entra nella terra , finché non viene rimosso, provoca contaminazione . Nonostante le informazioni diverse e non sufficienti delle Nazioni Unite e della NATO che sono state un tentativo di negare e minimizzare il pericolo, Radojko Pavlovic, dell'Istituto delle scienze nucleari di Vinca, ha detto che secondo i concetti moderni di protezione, non esiste una quantità di radiazione non pericolosa.
E' stato detto che non si deve abbandonare l'idea del risanamento totale dei luoghi contaminati. Slobodan Petkovic, generale del Ministero Federale di difesa, ha ricordato che, secondo tutte le analisi fatte fino ad adesso, non sono state trovate munizioni radioattive a nord di Vranje. Inoltre ha detto che anche l'Istituto di Vinca era una dei bersagli potenziali, ciò ha aumentato il pericolo di radiazione, però sono state prese tutte le misure di precauzione per diminuire il pericolo. E' necessaria la costruzione di un deposito permanente per il rifiuto radioattivo che da noi ancora non esiste. Per un controllo migliore della salute dei cittadini è necessario tenere sotto controllo la loro salute. Una delle conclusioni di ieri è che la contaminazione con l'uranio impoverito è un nostro problema e per risolverlo efficacemente abbiamo bisogno di attrezzatura moderna e di un laboratorio moderno.


29/06/2001 -  Anonymous User

La portavoce del Ufficio dell'Alto Commissariato delle Nazioni Unite per i rifugiati (UNHCR), a Belgrado, Maki Sinohara ha dichiarato ieri che la FRY si trova al primo posto in Europa per il numero delle persone rifugiate.
"Da queste persone circa 390.000 sono profughi dalla Bosnia ed Erzegovina e dalla Croazia, mentre 230.000 persone sono sfollati dal Kosovo. Secondo i dati più recenti, dopo la ripetuta registrazione dei profughi in FRY, il totale è 600.000 persone rifugiate e sfollate sul territorio della FRY", ha dichiarato ieri (20 giugno) la portavoce alla conferenza stampa, organizzata in occasione della Giornata mondiale dei profughi.
Ha poi aggiunto che paragonato con i dati da 1996, il numero dei profughi in FRY si è ridotto del 30%.
"Del totale delle persone registrate, il 60 % ha dichiarato che vorrebbe rimanere in FRY", ha detto la portavoce dell'UNHCR aggiungendo che solamente il 5.3% vuole ritornare a casa, mentre il 25% è ancora indeciso.
Sinohara ha poi detto che l'afflusso di profughi dalla Macedonia nella FRY si è ridotto rispetto alla settimana precedente, quando UNHCR ha registrato circa 700 persone che hanno attraversato la frontiera ogni giorno, ma ha aggiunto che l'UNHCR è pronto ad agire nel caso di un grande afflusso di profughi dai paesi di confine.
L'Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite ha fissato il 20 giugno come giorno per ricordare il coraggio, la perseveranza ed il talento delle persone rifugiate da tutto il mondo. Questo giorno è stato celebrato ieri per la prima volta.

» Fonte: © Glas


28/06/2001 -  Anonymous User

Inizia domani a Bruxelles la Conferenza dei donatori per la Repubblica Federale di Jugoslavia. I rappresentanti della Commissione europea e la Banca mondiale hanno ieri confermato le aspettative secondo le quali nell'incontro dei donatori saranno raccolti 1,25 miliardi dollari per la FRJ, quanto, secondo le stime degli esperti, è necessario allo stato per effettuare le riforme economiche dell'anno in corso. Alla conferenza stampa della Commissione europea è stato detto che l'aiuto economico sarà sempre condizionato sia politicamente che economicamente anche dopo questo incontro. I donatori possono, infatti, promettere denaro, ma possono anche bloccarne in seguito l'elargizione, ha riferito il portavoce della Commissione.

» Fonte: © Sense;