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Blue Bird Project

Civil Society, Political Society and the State

Split, November 21, 2001


Subject Topic: Constituting civil and political society in ethnically heterogeneous



Remarks[1] by Aleksandar Lojpur[2]


Executive Summary:


Existence of more than one ethnic group in a country, or ethnic diversity of a state, is not related to constituting civil and political societies.


The reason for this phenomena, that ethnicity appears to play such a major role in constituting the political society, is in the core of specifics of our region, the Balkans. Major social conflicts in our region appear to be conducted along the ethnic lines, or lines of ethnic divisions, especially in the period of the last two decades.


The paradigm of “our language” in Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina is analyzed. The cause of conflicts and wars among “our language” speakers was non-existence of functioning institutions, or what we call now, the functioning state. Former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was an experiment in every respect. During Tito’s life all major conflicts were solved in final instance by Josip Broz Tito. After Tito’s departure as final conflicts resolution mechanism every communist leader wanted the role of supreme power as Tito had in Yugoslavia, but as none of them was strong enough to be such power in the whole country, they were satisfied with this role in their own state.


Lectures from the success story of Slovenia should be learnt. What is the secret of success of Slovenia? How was it possible that Slovenia is at the doors of the EU membership while other countries of former SFR Yugoslavia hardly entered the yard leading to  the EU building?  After Slovenia separated it simply continued with economic reforms and started with political reforms. When she got independent, Slovenia continued privatization started under Ante Markovic’s federal government of former SFRY. Slovenia also reformed entirely her political system. These developments in Slovenia, so different than in other countries of former Yugoslavia, just confirm the simple rule: countries which start with reforms and continue the reforms in all segments (political, economic and institutional) continuously have economic and social development and are successful  in transition. On the contrary, countries which for any reasons do not start and do not develop the reforms in all segments simultaneously, or, cease with introducing the reforms, or,  - as in case of former Yugoslavia with exception of Slovenia -  abandon reforms  and return to the command economy and closed society, have quick economic and social decline, return to poverty and  social and economic underdevelopment.


Elements of the regional identity and the regional heterogeneousness can be analyzed from various aspects. Transitional countries of the region have in common the weak state, the unjustified  “powder keg” perception in the West, the denial of self-government, the need for regional cooperation, the need for building regional self-esteem.


Problems of the region can be also analyzed from various aspects. Study cases of Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and FRY as example of one sort of regional problems (unsolved aspirations for creation of new sovereign nations) usually have several possible solutions.


In dealing with problems two realities should be faced: there is nothing special about Balkans which differs it from other underdeveloped regions, and the effort of the West to assist economic and institutional development in the Balkans was far from what was the effort of the U.S. in the Marshall plan for the Western Europe after the WWII.


Governments of the countries and entities, as well as experts from the governments, think tanks and NGO’s from the countries of the region should establish regional cooperation and explore alternatives and try to build a regional transitional policy.



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1. Ethnic heterogeneousness does not relate to constituting civil and political society


At the beginning I would like to argue with the estimation contained in the title of this panel. In my view, existence of more than one ethnic group in a country, or ethnic diversity of a state, is not related to constituting civil and political societies. Saying this one might anticipate the question why than, in our region, in the Balkans, social conflicts, including wars, appear to be conducted along the lines of ethnic divisions, and why political tensions appear  to be arising from the fact that different ethnic groups constitute a nation (this word used in a commonly accepted meaning in the English language – meaning also country, or state).


1.1. What is so unique about the Balkans ?


The reason for this phenomena, that ethnicity appears to play such a major role in constituting the political society, is in the core of specifics of our region, the Balkans. There is a question why, when we use this term, the Balkans,  we  think that there is something very special about our region, something that differs our region,  in reality or in  our perceptions of the reality, from any other part of the world. We know that there are many other parts of the world that are socially and economically underdeveloped, with weak states, where politicians, judges, state administration officials, are corrupted, etc. What is the thing which makes our region so different than many other regions and countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia, etc? The answer seems to be laying in the fact that major social conflicts in our region appear to be conducted along the ethnic lines, or lines of ethnic divisions, especially in the period of the last two decades. That we had this earlier, at the beginning of the 20th century, it was nothing unusual. That we had this in the 40-ies of the 20th century was also normal. But that we had this in Europe in the late 80-ies and 90-ies - that was totally unusual. It was unusual because it was happening in Europe while the Western part of Europe was already in advanced stage of European integration, and because the Eastern part of Europe was already deeply involved in joining European integration process and was participating in the economic globalization processes.


1.2. The paradigm of the name of the language -  wars between “our language” speakers


Use of word “appear” demands clarification. It is easily to anticipate the question how dare we to use the word “appear” in the above paragraph when obviously this was exactly the case, we had wars as the most radical form of social conflicts and these wars were the wars of different ethnicities. Before clarification of use of word “appear” is offered, one digression will be made, related to these wars and their perception in the West.


There is no space for doubt that odd wars in the 90-ies returned the bad meaning to the name “the Balkans”. But, it was entirely unjustified because majority of nations or ethnic groups of the Balkans did not take part in these wars.In the beginning it was war that forces than in power in Serbia (hereinafter conditionally called Serbian regime forces)[3] launched against Croatia, over land,  a part of Croatia in which ethnic Serbs constituted a majority. Than it continued as war of the Serbian regime forces against Serbs[4], Muslims and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also over land, a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina in which ethnic Serbs were in majority or in which Serbian regime forces tried to constitute the ethnic majority of ethnic Serbs. Than forces in power in Croatia (hereinafter called: Croatian regime forces) launched a war against Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats over the land, a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which Croats were ethnic majority or in which Croatian regime forces tried to constitute ethnic Croats as  ethnic majority. These wars in 1994 continued as war that Bosniaks launched over the land, a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina in which the Bosniaks constituted ethnic majority or tried to constitute ethnic majority. Finally, the serial of these wars ended with the war that Croatian regime forces launched against ethnic Serbs, over the land, part of Croatia, in which ethnic Serbs were in majority, and in which Croatian regime forces tried to establish ethnic Croatian majority.


Until these wars ended, in November 1995, by signing the Dayton peace accord, no other parts of the Balkans besides Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro were involved. This is the part of the Balkans in which one language was spoken, a  language earlier (during existence of former SFRY) called “Serbo-Croat”[5] (in Serbia and Montenegro) or “Croatian or Serbian” and “Croato-Serbian (in Croatia)”[6] or Serbocroatian\Croatioserbian (in Bosnia and Herzegovina by Serbs and some Bosniaks) or Croatoserbian\Serbocroatian (in Bosnia and Herzegovina by Croats and some Bosniaks). Now ethnic Serbs call that language just Serbian, ethnic Croats call it Croatian, ethnic Bosniaks call it Bosnian, and some ethnic Montenegrins are starting to call it Montenegrin. In order to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings regarding ethnicity or ethnic backgrounds, when the conversation between unfamiliar people has to start, in our cross-ethnic communication, we call it “our language”.


1.3 Unjustified pejorative meaning to the name of the region and consequences


Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Romania, Macedonia[7], Turkey, all these nations, although they constitute much greater part of the Balkans than the nations in which “our language” is spoken, had nothing to do with these wars among “our language” speakers. However, because some scholars from the West in early 1990-ies remembered the old story of the wild Balkans and “Eastern Question”  from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, they started to use the name of the Balkans like self-understandable explanation for the bloody conflict of “our language” speakers. However, this was a mistake with catastrophic  consequences. This approach has been gladly accepted by Western mass media and in this way was put in the base of the Western entirely wrong answer to the crisis. It was easy to say these people from the Balkans are immature ethnic nationalists and shauvinists, they always lived under dictatorships, if they decided to establish ethnically clean entities there is little we can do about it, it is a mass, a war of everybody against everybody, the only thing we can do is to give humanitarian aid until the conflict and ethnic cleansing is ended and ethnically clean states are formed. By this policy of “not getting involved” the West strongly supported Serbian regime forces as well as Croatian regime forces in their devastating military efforts in Bosnia and in Croatia, until in later stage the West changed its policy, under the pressure of Western civic movements and media which was provoked by the humanitarian crisis that such policy created. Until the change of policy in 1995, the main protagonists of Serbian regime forces and of Croatian regime forces were received by Western presidents and other Western officials. Strong democratic forces, very active and present on the scene in Serbia and in Croatia throughout the years of the wars, being in opposition to the Croatian and Serbian regimes, were entirely ignored by the West.


But, the West has chosen to ignore the fact that ethnic heterogeneousness was not the cause of these social conflicts, that the conflicts only appeared to be conducted along the lines of ethnic divisions.


1.4 What actually happened – why there were wars between “our language” speakers


The cause of conflicts and wars among “our language” speakers was non-existence of functioning institutions, or what we call now, the functioning state. Former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was an experiment in every respect. It was a social and economical experiment, which even was partly successful under certain regional and global constellations, but which  failed when confronted with challenges of the changes of these global and regional constellations. When the crisis of that system of experiment called the SFRY started, the system broke on the ethnic lines.


1.4.1  Failed Yugoslav melting pot


When Yugoslavia as a nation (than called Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenains) has been created it has been based on the national (and nationwide) consensus – majority of citizens belonging to than considered constitutive ethnic groups, Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, expressed clearly and with no doubt that they wanted to unite into one strong modern European nation.   It was in 1918. Yugoslav movement was active in Austrian-Hungarian Empire for a century. Unfortunately, social conflicts which started immediately after the creation of the Yugoslav state prevented strengthening of the institutions in a way that they would become unquestionably accepted by the waste majority of the population. Communist movement was destabilizing societies throughout Europe, there was a big economic crisis in the 1930-ies and raise of fascism. This was the environment that  had impact on Yugoslavia in the period between the two wars in a way that economically and socially underdeveloped Southern parts of the country (Dalmatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Southern Serbia) could hardly get harmonized with more developed Northern part (Slovenia, central  Croatia,  Vojvodina, region of Belgrade, central Serbia). New institutions could hardly be strengthened in underdeveloped parts, separatist and nationalistic movements appeared at the same time as the communist and fascist movements in Europe, and they were looking for finding allies in each other, and they were successful in this. Rulers of the country from all three than considered constitutive ethnic groups cooperated well and introduced anti-democratic measures in order to oppose anti-governmental activities and the country entered into the phase of dictatorship in January 1929.  Although members of all ethnic communities were engaged in different acts of violence, the most visible was activity of Croatian extremist nationalists who assassinated  King Alexander Karadjordjevic of Yugoslavia in 1934, during King’s visit to France. Shortly, the Yugoslav experiment of creating a unified nation while keeping ethnic, religious and cultural diversities, a U.S. like melting pot,  failed in the 1930-ies in Yugoslavia with the raise of communism and fascism as totalitarian, authoritarian, anti-democratic and/or ethnically and culturally exclusive ideologies.


1.4.2 Failed experiment of “our own” way to socialism and communism


During the WWII the country has been divided and the control by various puppet nazi regimes has been established. In Serbia and in Croatia ethnically exclusive regimes have been established which helped nazi’s in prosecution of Jews, Romas and other ethnic minorities. In territories (Croatia - with the exception of Dalmatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and part of Vojvodina) controlled by the nazi government of Ante Pavelic in Zagreb ethnic Serbs were exposed to genocide along with Jews and Romas,  wide territories inhabited by Serbs were ethnically cleansed. However, Yugoslav communists, lead by Marshall Tito, succeeded in organizing a resistance against the nazi forces in all parts of the country and Yugoslav partisans together with the ally forces expelled the nazis from the country and took the power in the country after the WWII ended.


After the World War II a specific system of politically authoritarian regime has been developed in Yugoslavia.


The communist leadership of the country abandoned the unitary approach of building a one unified nation and decided to create a kind of a loose federation. Constituent part of that federation were states. These states were not defined de iure as ethnic states, but they started to develop de facto as ethnic states. It was a specific trial to build “own” unique way to socialism and communism. Shortly, it was a social experiment, a mixture of Marxist class approach towards ethnicity and an open market economy.


Despite to what many believe it was economically viable system[8]. It had some major deficiencies in the economic sphere which provoked major structural unbalances, but this is something which should be matter of discussion in a separate paper.


Unfortunately, social experiments usually fail, because they prevent gradual institutional building.


Looking from the point of “good governance” theory, in which the concept of separation of powers is essential, the system in Yugoslavia after the WWII was institutional chaos:

-          there was no separation of powers,

-          there were no guaranties of judicial independence

-          there were no free media

-          there were no political freedoms


which altogether means that there were no conditions for institutional development.


However, there were conflict solution mechanisms, there were some institutions which made the society to somehow develop economically and generally towards improvement of civil liberties, cultural development and living standard of the population. But, these institutions and mechanisms were too weak to take deeper roots, as they were unique to former Yugoslavia, they never took roots in the mindset of majority of ordinary citizens. Also, as these institutions and mechanisms excluded political freedoms and free media, and as they were based on Marxist communist theory, these mechanisms could not survive the fall of the Berlin wall, the abandonment of the communist ideology by Russia and other communist countries of Eastern Europe. When communist ideology which was the major part of the system has been abandoned, the whole structure, the wholes system fell apart.


But, it was not a one day process. The system in its conception had building ethnic states (within the federation) as the important component.


Already in late 60-ies we had replacement of federal institutions by institutions of the ethnic states. At the end of the process, in late 1980-ies the only institution which remained was the army. All the others ceased to exist as genuinely federal institutions.


This process was followed by the raise of  nationalism all over the country.



1.4.3 Many small titos after Tito – “Croatian machinegun on Croatian shoulder and Croatian money-holder in the Croatian pocket” – The  version of same  in Vojvodina:

“Whose is our money” ?


The process can be looked from the point of what conflicts solution mechanisms were in the place. During Tito’s life all major conflicts were solved in final instance by Josip Broz Tito. After Tito’s departure as final conflicts resolution mechanism (which occurred a year or so before he actually died) every communist leader wanted the role of supreme power as Tito had in Yugoslavia, but as none of them was strong enough to be such power in the whole country, they were satisfied with this role in their own state. In 1990, after collapse of communism, former communists participated in first democratic elections and took power by raising nationalistic arguments. Croatian leaders were saying “Croatian machinegun on Croatian shoulder and Croatian money-holder in the Croatian pocket”. In Serbia, communist leaders were saying “Serbia will become big and united again”.  As there were no conflicts resolution mechanisms that could be competent for the whole of the country, and as in every state communist leaders succeeded to impose themselves as such mechanism, as supreme power excluding all other powers in the state or in the federal state,  there was no way in which the federal state could continue to operate.


This process has not yet, unfortunately, ended. The drive which leads present Montenegrin government to request that Montenegro becomes internationally recognized sovereign nation is partly originated in this desire of the current, formerly communist, leaders, to be absolute rulers in their republic. This desire to rule as Tito in a small territory is so transparent in the policy of some  political leaders in Vojvodina, northern autonomous province of Serbia. They say that they want Vojvodina to become a republic because they wish the money produced in Vojvodina to stay in Vojvodina. “We have the dispute” - they say about dialogue they have with present Serbian leadership – “about whose is our money. When we solve that our money is ours and not theirs, we shall have no disputes”. These leaders from Vojvodina  say they wish Serbia to decentralize, and they are right, Serbia should decentralize. But they wish that Serbia decentralizes in a way that  Vojvodina becomes a state as centralized as Serbia presently is. However, this policy is also the consequence of a status that Vojvodina and Kosovo have had in the former SFR Yugoslavia. Each of the  two provinces were only formally part of Serbia. Each of them had status of one of eight federal units, with independent legislative, executive and judicial branches of power and independent representation in all federal institutions, which operated, as explained above, on the bases of consensus.


When all mechanisms and institutions for conflicts prevention or resolution of the federal state collapsed, it was easy for traditionalists and nationalists, or as I dared to say in one text in 1990 “former communists in disguise as nationalists” to take power and to start building ethnically exclusive states.  Of course, the capture of power in Serbia by than openly communist oriented leadership and their success in capturing the control over the powerful federal Yugoslav Army were the main reasons for the West to support Slovenian and Croatian former communists, disguised as nationalists,  in their decision to define these countries as sovereign nation states.


By all these tragic coincidences we came to wars which appeared to be conducted as wars between ethnicities and the new stigma of the name of our region, the Balkans.


One should not forget the conflicts and tensions between Greece and Turkey which were present prior to Yugoslav wars helped this wrong perception of the Balkans as the zone of wild ethnic conflicts on the skirts of Europe.


However, if ethnic heterogeneousness is not an issue for constituting civil and political society, the question is – what is relevant for that process.


1.5  Success story of Slovenia: continuation of reforms and transition instead of total revision


Experience of a decade of transition in Eastern Europe shows that sooner the country starts to reform institutions and introduces rules of liberal democratic society, the quicker is transition from closed and authoritarian system to the open society as well as the economic recovery and development. On the contrary, countries which did not adopt and/or implement legislation necessary for the transition, or which did it only partly, reforming some segments and not reforming other parts of the system, remained socially, politically and economically underdeveloped, with all problems arising from such status.


The case of Slovenia is very instructive with this regard. When system of former SFRY collapsed states emerging from SFR Yugoslavia were on the similar level of social, institutional and economic development. Although most advanced than other republics, Slovenia shared same system, same heritage. There were regions (region of Belgrade, province of Vojvodina, region of Zagreb, Istria in Northern Adriatic) that were economically as developed as Slovenia was in the period of collapse of SFR Yugoslavia. However, today, Slovenia is entirely Europeanized, together with the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland first in the row for becoming the full member of the EU, and will become member of the EU together with these three Central European countries. Other countries emerging from former SFR Yugoslavia are far more distanced from the EU membership. Croatia, which is most developed among them, only recently signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, FRY and Bosnia and Herzegovina are not yet members of the Council of Europe, the international organization which is the first stair on the way to full European integration.


What is the secret of success of Slovenia? How was it possible that Slovenia is at the doors of the EU membership while other countries of former SFR Yugoslavia hardly entered the yard leading to  the EU building? 


In answering to the above question one has to look back into the system of SFRY. As mentioned above it was a unique social and economic experiment that collapsed. However, until the system collapsed it was economically viable, and the country had social and economic development and improvement of standard of living of the population. One important component of the experiment was that it had some very strong elements of a free market economy. According to theory of “socialist self-management” companies and enterprises belonged to employees, or to be more precise, companies and enterprises belonged to the “society” (not the state!) while employees managed the companies as trustees of the “society”. The bottom line is that employed managers of the companies behaved as their actual owners, other employees were represented through “workers councils” as kind of a board of companies. This allowed competition and development in an environment which more resembled the free market economy than to the Soviet stile of rigid state controlled planned economy. The most important deficiency of the system was that all forms of internal organization of the companies have been imposed by laws. These laws ordered that every new unit of a company or the enterprise has the right to self-management and is considered by law to be totally independent from the mother company (the investor) unless they conclude agreement by which they will form a kind of a business union. The effect of such absurd regulation was that companies did not have incentive to invest into new units, new production lines. Instead, successful company invested into building luxurious resorts for vacation of employees and in building apartments for accommodation of employees. The main investor was the state which took large loans from Western governments (presently the Paris club of creditors) and banks (presently known as the London club of creditors) for investing into big industrial complexes and infrastructure development.


It should be noted that there ware no financial markets in the country, which was also a major deviation from a normal free market system.


It should be noted also that not only the economic component of SFR Yugoslavia’s experimental system of “social self-management” has been characterized with fragmentation. The political system was also based on the concept of entire decentralization. Actually, not only that the SFR Yugoslavia was a confederation of  eight constituent entities (two republics and two autonomous provinces) but republics and autonomous provinces were actually a confederation of municipalities. The system of power has been fragmented to the level of municipalities. In political structures of the republics decisions were possible only as consensus of municipal leaders. Implementation of laws (no matter whether federal laws or laws of the constituent parts – republics and autonomous provinces) has been entrusted to the municipalities. Municipalities had their representatives in the supreme courts of federal units (republics and autonomous provinces) which took care that no judicial decision is adopted if it contradicts the will of the municipal leaders.  


It was the government of Ante Markovic[9], the last prime minister of former SFR Yugoslavia, who introduced economical and political reforms. In economic sphere Markovic’s government freed the enterprises and companies from the absurd obligatory forms of internal organization which prevented investments. Markovic also introduced the concept of share holding in commercial enterprises and financial markets, so normal in free market economy. Ante Markovic’s government introduced for the first time free private property investments. Start of business has been maximally simplified. Foreign trade has been liberalized, barriers in trade lifted. Finally, his government started the program of privatization of companies. Economic reforms of Ante Markovic’s government  were extremely successful. Thousands of new small and medium enterprises were founded and had big economic success. In just two years of economic reforms (1989-1991) deep structural changes have been implemented, new jobs created, there was increase of production, foreign trade, direct foreign investments,  salaries, and hard currency reserves.


But, although very successful in economic reforms the government of Ante Markovic failed in reforming the institutions. Political leaders of republics opposed to political reforms of the system that Markovic wanted to introduce. Opposition was the strongest from Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia. Serbian and Montenegrin political leadership, headed by Slobodan Milosevic opted for wars against Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina with aim that parts of territory of these republics populated mainly by Serbs, to be annexed to Serbia. Slovenian leadership was decisive in separation of Slovenia from other republics. Slovenian leadership was afraid that strong opposition from Serbia, which was the biggest and the most populated of all republics, will prevail and that Milosevic will succeed in toppling down Ante Markovic and his reform policy. Croatian nationalist government lead by Franjo Tudjman was against Markovic as Tudjmanpreferred to have Croatia separated and under his absolute rule rather than sharing power with other leaders from other republics. Tudjman was also fighting against liberals represented in Markovic’s government.


After Slovenia separated it simply continued with economic reforms and started with political reforms. When she got independent, Slovenia continued privatization started under Ante Markovic’s federal government of former SFRY. Slovenia also reformed entirely her political system. Slovenia lost the big market she had in Serbia and Montenegro, but was very successful in penetration to the newly opened markets of the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, where she competed quite successfully with big Western economies.


Unlike Slovenia, in all the other republics reforms ceased. In Serbia and Montenegro privatization under Markovic laws has been annulated, all formerly called “social property” governed by employees has been nationalized by decree and put under formal control of the government. Politically, Croatia and Serbia totally centralized, local authorities lost all power, centralized government became omnipotent economic and political force and everybody else strictly under governmental control. These countries did allow development of the private property, but only to businessmen closely connected to the government. Omnipotent government with absolute powers was acting as a bad businessman.  Government replaced all managers of important industrial plants. New managers were mainly political figures that did not care much about prosperity of companies they managed but how to take as much of the assets of these companies into their own hands, rarely for the purpose of starting new businesses and mainly for the purpose of transferring moneys to their private accounts in Switzerland and Cyprus. In Serbia and Montenegro everybody had to pay certain amount of money privately to governmental officials, regardless to what kind of business was involved. This is how the government became gradually also the main force, the center, of the organized crime. Private companies connected with the government got exclusive rights for unregistered imports (smuggling) of cigarettes and petrol, and other commodities, ruining legal businesses and depriving the budget every year of hundreds of millions of Dollars.


These developments in Slovenia and other countries of former Yugoslavia just confirm the simple rule. Countries which start with reforms and continue the reforms in all segments (political, economic and institutional) continuously had economic and social development and are successful  in transition. On the contrary, countries which for any reason do not start and do not develop the reforms in all segments simultaneously, or, stop the reforms, or,  - as in case of former Yugoslavia with exception of Slovenia -  abandon reforms  and return to the command economy and closed society, have quick economic and social decline, return to poverty and  social and economic underdevelopment.


*          *          *


On the basis of above one conclusion is emerging: For constituting the political and civil societies in the Balkans the relevant issue is adopting and implementation of rules which make possible the transition to liberal democratic society.


Is there a possibility for regional approach – this is the  topic that will be discussed in the continuation of this paper.

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2. Elements of the Regional Identity and the Regional Heterogeneousness


Even before the launch of the Stability Pact for SEE there was emerging consensus in the region that countries of the region, although the regions is very heterogeneous, share something in common. Unlike many believe, as we tried to prove in the text above, this common thing is not the ethnic diversity of the Balkan societies and tensions allegedly arising from this diversity.


2.1 Regional Heterogeneousness


Looking from the aspect of closeness to the EU, the countries of the region could be divided to those that are members (Greece), that are long standing candidates (Turkey), that are candidates with Accession and Stabilization Agreement (Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria), that are soon to become candidates with no Accession and Stabilization agreement (FRY, Bosnia and Herzegovina).


Looking from the aspect of membership in the Council of Europe, there are countries that are members (all but FRY and Bosnia and Herzegovina) and those that are observers (FRY and B&H).


There are two protectorates, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo.


Looking from the point of internal stability some countries do not have to face separatist movements (Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania) and some do have such requests (Montenegro vs. FRY, Kosovo Albanians vs. Serbia, Serbian Albanians vs. Serbia, Bosnian Croats vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonian Albanians vs. Macedonia).


Looking from the point of stability of institutions, rule of law and democracy, some are at the beginning of the transition period (Serbia without Kosovo, Montenegro, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina), some just finished the initial period of transition and are entering the second phase, of implementation of transitional rules (Croatia, Bulgaria),  for Turkey it would be possible to say that it is about to end the transition period , one country is free (Greece), while in one territory  the transition has not yet started (Kosovo).


Looking from the starting point of transition all but two (Greece and Turkey) the Balkan countries could be divided into two groups: those emerging from former SFR Yugoslavia (FRY, Macedonia, BiH, Croatia), and those emerging from the former “Warsaw block” (Bulgaria, Romania, and Moldova (if she is considered to be the part of the Balkans) and Albania which was not the Warsaw block country but had the same system as these countries.


Finally, division is possible on existence of the consensus that there is the Balkan identity of a country (all countries with the exception of Croatia, and to some extent Moldova), or disputes about the Balkan identity within the country (Croatia)[10] or within the country and on the side of the “international community” (Moldova)[11].


2.2.  What do the countries have in common?


2.2.1  Weak State

The Stability Pact study of the EWI[12], as well as other papers that were looking upon the region, most notably the 2000 World Bank[13] study on the region, came to the conclusion that social, institutional and economic underdevelopment is an environment shared by the entire region (with exception of EU member Greece). Both, EWI Stability Pact Study and the World Bank Study conclude that deficiencies in the state building (“the weak state”), lack of functioning institutions, absence of the rule of law, non-implementation of existing laws, is something that all countries of the region (except Greece) have in common.



2.2.2 The “Powder Keg” Perception

Other thing which is shared in the region (in my view unjustly[14]) is the perception on the West of the entire region as the place where ethnic wars take place. Because of this mis-perception that some Western scholars adopted in the 90-ies, the word Balkans or Balkanic is too often unnecessarily used in a pejorative sense.


2.2.3 Denial of Self-Governance

There is an attitude on the side of the West, which has been developed in the 1990-ies in Bosnia and Croatia and in Kosovo to intervene in the region, or to conduct the policy of decision making,  without paying attention or taking into consideration "local" or "indigenous" or "native" policy makers, political leaders or experts. There is a confusion of roles, misunderstanding or even dispute on the ownership of decision making process regarding the region.  There are to many meetings and conferences in which think tanks, experts, decision maker's assistants speak on what "we" or "the international community" (in both cases meaning - the West) should do or not do in Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, whom they should support or not support, should Montenegro be independent, should Macedonia remain one country, should Bosnia stay as it is, should Kosovo become independent or stay in Serbia or become a third entity in FRY, and what the governments of Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, FRY, Albania, etc. should do or should not do in order to accommodate "our" or "international community's" (again meaning of course "the west") expectations. In the course of the last ten years there were uncountable (several hundreds) of meetings, conferences, all by Western experts and decision makers, hundreds of papers were written by different Western scholars. There was uncountable number of short "facts finding missions" on different aspects of social and political developments in the region. Ironically, all this hyper-activism of "us" or of the "international community" is carefully calculated as "aid" of the West to the region. Participation of "indigenous" people in the decision making processes, or in analytical work which is the basis for the decision making, is sporadic, it is never regionally or even bilaterally coordinated. When SEE Stability Pact has been launched in July 1999, the hope has been raised that a partnership will be developed, one that would replace the patronizing ownership of the processes in the region by the West. Unfortunately, the SEE Stability Pact as concept failed so far[15]. Surely, one of the reasons for the failure of the SEE Stability Pact is the fact that even in the office of the coordinator of the Stability pact none of the key personalities was from the region.



2.2.4 Building Regional Self- Confidence


The period of passive acceptance of Western decision making in the Balkans is approaching rapidly to an end. Although there is not yet a concentrated effort for regional decision makers and experts to meet regularly and try to formulate the regional policy without too much regard to what "we" or "the international community" (again meaning  the West) might be thinking or wanting, there is emerging consensus that such an effort is needed and that it should take place as soon as possible.  This new reality has been already expressed in several ways.


There was a call from many leaders in the region for a comprehensive peace process to take place, in the course of which all regional leaders of the countries, entities and ethnic communities will take active participation on an equal footing and which would end in a settlement of all pending disputes and requests. This process started by the French sponsored summit of presidents of SEE countries in Zagreb in November 2000. Than it continued by the serial of meetings of foreign ministers of SEE countries.


Secondly, there are initiatives of regional NGOs and think tanks, financed by the western governments or independent founders, fostering different aspects of the regional cooperation. The Igman Initiative, the Blue Bird project, the TFC efforts, cooperation of OSI branches, all these projects are  good examples of such efforts.


Thirdly, there is the system of trade facilitation agreements, agreed upon within the framework of the Stability Pact and SECI.


There is little doubt that the process of gaining self-confidence in the region will continue.


4. Draft study - problems of the region and alternative solutions


4.1.    Problems

There are several criteria for grouping regional problems.


4.1.1. New independent  sovereign nations, or separate entities within existing states 


Looking from aspect of unsolved aspirations for creating new independent  sovereign nations, or separate entities within existing states,  the following problems are existing in the region: request of Albanians from Kosovo for independence of Kosovo, request of Serbs from Kosovo for separation of northern part of Kosovo from Kosovo, request of Albanians from Southern Serbia for separation of three communities in the Presevo valley from Serbia and inclusion of these communities to Kosovo, request of Albanainas from Mecedonia for separate entity within Macedonia, request of Montenegro for status of independent internationally recognized sovereign nation,  request of Bosnian Croats for separate Croatian entity within Bosnia and Hercegovina, request of Bosnian Serbs for separation of Republika Srpska from Bosnia and Hercegovina and inclusion of that entity into Serbia. There is a request of  Moldovan ethnic Slavs for separate entity in the Transdniester region in Moldova, request for Vojvodina to become separate entity within Serbia or a separate state within FRY. There are tensions regarding position of Hungarian minority in Romania and Slavs of the Muslim religion in the region of Sandzak or Raska in Serbia. Although Cyprus is usually not considered to belong to the Balkans, two countries that undoubtedly do belong, Turkey and Greece still have unsolved dispute over Cyprus, which is still a divided island. These problems should not be confused with territorial disputes, like the question of Prevlaka between Montenegro/FRY and Croatia, or other, but the border territorial disputes should also not be forgotten.


4.1.2 Status of reforms and transition


Looking from the aspect of achieving ideal of liberal democratic,  economically and socially developed society, and the social and institutional reforms in the transition towards that ideal, problems existing in the region are the following: generally, all transition countries (which means all countries with the exception of Greece) in the region suffer from institutional, social and economic underdevelopment. There is no enough new domestic and foreign investments[16], it is usually difficult and complicated to start new business, there are still too much unnecessary (in developed democracies unseen) forms of intervention of the state in the economy, unreasonable barriers to trade and investments. Usually, institutions used in the developed democracies for protecting private property, investments and other rights (judiciary and media) are still under strong influence of the government. The weak institutions and barriers make new investments impossible. Without new investments there is no possibility for economic development, which is a precondition for institution building and establishment of the rule of law. Level of corruption is high, tax evasion is massive in all transition countries. Other forms or crime are still strong, throughout the region. Poverty, unemployment and social instability make majority of people to feel unsecured, without a perspective for better life in the future. However, although all these social and economic problems are present in all transitional countries of the region, they are not present with the same intensity in every country. In some countries poverty and unemployment rates (which usually correspond with weak and unstable institutions) are very high (Moldova, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo). In other countries (Croatia, Bulgaria) social and institutional reforms are more advanced than in other countries, and overall situation is better than the regional average. General rule is that the countries which started social and institutional reforms earlier are doing better than those who had delays in starting with the reforms[17].


4.1.3. Truth and reconciliation processes


Looking from the aspect of truth and reconciliation processes countries of the region can be divided into two groups: those that had on their territories ethnic violence in the 1990-ies and those that did not have ethnic violence in their recent history. Group of countries or entities that were engaged in the ethnic violence in the 1990-ies (all countries emerging from former SFRY with the exception of Macedonia[18]) can be divided into two subgroups: those that have the organized effort for engaging in the truth and reconciliation processes (Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia) and those that have not such efforts (Croatia, Republika Srpska, Kosovo, Montenegro). In the group of countries which need to go through truth and reconciliation processes, a division can be made also with regard to relation with the Hague Tribunal. Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska have special legislation on cooperation with the Hague Tribunal, Serbia is preparing such legislation, Kosovo and Montenegro neither have neither plan such legislation. Croatian and Bosnian courts are processing war crimes. Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, did not process war crimes so far.





4.2. Alternative Solutions for the problems[19]


4.2.1. Kosovo  Recent history background


The most complicated regional problem is the problem of Kosovo.

Throughout the history of the region periods of violent domination of one ethnic community over the other were changing, depending on the state to which the province belonged. In the times when the region has been just one part of Serbia, Albanians were a minority, and Serbian majority violently dominated over them. In the times when the region had strong autonomy, the Albanians became a majority, and in these periods they were  violently dominating over the Serbian or more precise (non-Albanian) ethnic minority. In the period of strong provincial autonomy (1968-1989) rights of the Serbian minority were disregarded, there was a pressure for the Serbs to sell their property and move to Serbia. Many Serbs left the province under the pressure, although many left the province because of the economic reasons, and also because they felt unsecured in an predominantly Albanian surrounding. In 1989 Milosevic regime unlawfully cancelled the autonomy of the province. In the period of 1989-1999 Serbian police systematically unlawfully pressured the Albanian minority. Albanians were expelled from the police and state administration, political parties were unlawfully banned, Albanian political leaders unlawfully arrested, police massively maltreated and harassed young Albanians with no cause. Expelled from the official system of Serbia and FRY, Albanian leaders established parallel unofficial political and social institutions and structures. In 1994 members of the provincial parliament which has been unlawfully dismissed by Milosevic in 1989  proclaimed the Republic of Kosovo and chosen moderate Albanian leader, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova as President of the Republic.  In the peaceful period of Milosevic rule, when Milosevic has been accepted by the West as  the guarantor of peace and stability in the region, after the Dayton peace accord has been signed for ending wars between Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia, there were negotiations between the Milosevic regime and Albanian Kosovo leaders. In 1997 Milosevic and Rugova even signed an agreement on normalization of the relations, firstly in the field of education. Unfortunately, Milosevic failed to implement the first part of the agreement, there were no attempts to resume efforts for peaceful settlement. In March 1998 for the first time the Albanian guerilla appeared publicly, known as UCK or KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) and attacked Serbian police forces as well as Serbian civilians. Response of the Serbian police was extremely brutal, there were numerous unnecessary civilian casualties and there was no political effort to calm down the situation. After May 1998, when extreme right wing Serbian Radical Party lead by Vojislav Seselj entered the Serbian government, police brutality increased leading to further mobilization of the Albanian guerilla groups and a total war. The West supported Albanian side in the conflict. First serious threats of military attack against Milosevic regime by the West occurred in October 1998, and it was under these threats that Milosevic and Holbrook signed an agreement making non-military solution possible. However, Albanian guerilla leadership became more ambitious. Despite the Milosevic-Holbrook agreement, attacks by the UCK on Serbian police officers and civilians continued, but as there was a OSCE monitoring mission in place, lead by William Walker, Serbian police forces did not respond as brutally as in March 1998. On January 16th  1998 the Racak incident took place in the course of which 45 ethnic Albanians were killed by the Serbian regime forces. Chief of the OSCE monitoring mission William Walker declared that the victims were civilians which were massacred without reason by the Serbian regime forces. Serbian regime forces told that the victims were all KLA terrorists. This incident was the reason for renewing the threats of military intervention against Milosevic regime. On February 15th Vojislav Seselj, speaking as deputy PM of the Serbian government threatened that “if we will be attacked there will be no Albanians on Kosovo[20]”. US and EU organized Rambouillet peace conference in early March 1999, but in a way which prevented Serbian and Yugoslav delegation to negotiate with UCK leaders Hashim Taqi or political leaders of the Kosovo Albanians. UCK leaders insisted that referendum on independence of Kosovo has to be agreed upon, and were refusing to sign draft of the agreement which did not accommodate this request.  Serbian negotiators refused to sign the draft which gave unlimited military surveillance  to NATO and had provision that the future of the province will be decided by the people of the province. It was under pressure by the US that UCK finally accepted and signed the draft of the agreement, which opened the way for military punishing Milosevic for not accepting it. After another trial by Holbrooke to persuade Milosevic to accept the Remboillet paper failed, and after US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright succeeded in convincing other leaders of NATO countries that there is no other  possibility but to force Milosevic by air strikes to accept the agreement, NATO attacked by air strikes Yugoslavia. Serbian police immediately started to fulfill the threat by Seselj of February 15. Some 700 thousand Albanian civilians were forced by the Serbian police forces to leave the province in March and April 1999. Police took away from them their documents and destroyed the registers. Many of those who resisted were killed by the Serbian regime forces. Many of civilians were randomly killed by regime forces or paramilitary groups, just in order to frighten Kosovo Albanian civilians and make them leave the province as soon as possible. The exact number of murdered civilians is unknown. There are reports, yet not confirmed, that there are about 10,000 civilians killed by the Serbian regime forces or paramilitary groups, and there is estimation that 1,000 of the killed civilians were children under the age of 5. In April 2001 new leadership of the Serbian police discovered that bodies of dead Albanian civilians, in an obvious effort to hide the evidence, were transported in trucks from Kosovo to places inside Serbia,  buried in mass graves located on the soil occupied by police installations. At the same time as the Serbian regime forces were engaged in expulsion of Albanian civilians from Kosovo, and together with paramilitary groups in mass executions of Albanian civilians, Yugoslav military forces were fighting against UCK fighters inside Kosovo. On June 16th  1999 UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1244 putting the province under the rule of the UN. On June 24,1999 Kumanovo cease-fire agreement has been signed, ending NATO attacks against Milosevic regime.  While UN started to establish the control over the province, Albanian refugees returned to the province. At the same time as Serbian police and military forces were leaving the province, some 250,000 Serbian civilians as refugees left the province for Serbia proper, mainly under the fear of revenge by the UCK. That the fear was reasonable proves the fact that some 1300 Serbian civilians had been taken as hostages in the first weeks after the withdrawal of Serbian forces from the province. Whereabouts of these Serbian civilians is not known. There are some 700 Serbs which were killed in terrorist attacks which took place after the UN took control over the province. Members of the Serbian community in Kosovo do not have the freedom of movement. They live in enclaves under protection of international forces, many moved from their homes in other parts of Kosovo to the Northern part which has enclaves with larger number of members of the Serbian ethnic community.  Constitutional Framework for Kosovo and general elections


In May 2001 head of the UN administration of Kosovo, Hans Hakkerup, using

the authorities he has from the UN SC resolution 1244, adopted the Constitutional Framework for Kosovo, providing that general elections for Kosovo Parliament, province's interim government and province's president will take place on November 17th, 2001. Albanian parties were unsatisfied with the Constitutional Framework because the document did not contain provision that there will be a referendum for independence of the province paving the road for the province to become independent state. Serbian parties were not satisfied with the document because  the document did not guarantee that Serbian minority collective rights were not protected by granting the right of veto to Serbian members of the parliament in the questions important for minority collective rights.


Serbian political leaders remained divided over the Serbian participation in November 17th elections. However, after the call of Serbian democratic leadership of Serbia and FRY some 280,000 voters registered in September and October 2001 and some 52%  participated in the voting of November 17th, despite the strong boycott campaign by part of the Serbian political leadership.


Serbian participation in the elections in Kosovo, in spite of the boycott campaign and in spite of the harsh conditions in which the  Serbian community is living in Kosovo,  has shown that Serbs have accepted the new reality in Kosovo: periods of domination of one ethnic community over the other are over. Kosovo Serbs understood that the only result of the boycott of the elections would be that they would be excluded from political life in the province. Those Serbian leaders that advocated boycott of the elections wrongly thought that Serbs will be able to apply the same prescription which Albanians applied in fighting against Milosevic repression, that is the boycott of official institutions, creating parallel networks and institutions. However, majority of Serbian Kosovo voters understood that  situation of Serbian community would worsen should they have chosen to boycott the Kosovo emerging institutions.


In the Kosovo general elections for 120 seats in the parliament majority of 46 seats has been gained by Albanian moderate leader, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova. Party of former UCK commander Hashim Taqi Democratic party of Kosovo gained 23 seats, Serbian coalition "Povratak" (Return) will have 22 seats (Serbian minority has 10 seats  reserved according to the Constitutiona Framework) and former UCK's leader Ramush Hardinay's party gained 8 seats in the parliament. 10 seats are reserved for other ethnic minorities, and the rest is shared by other Albanian parties. Kosovo after general elections


Albanian parties promised to Albanian voters that immediately after the elections the Parliament of Kosovo will organize the referendum on independence or that the new parliament will proclaim the independence. However, UN administrator of the province warned Albanian leaders that such a decision by the Kosovo parliament will not have any effect as it would be contrary to 1244 UN SC Resolution. Serbian political leaders called moderate Albanian leader Dr. Inbrahim Rugova to form the coalition with the elected representatives of the Serbian minority.


Whether or not there will be coalition between Albanian and Serbian political leaders in governing the province, the post - election period in Kosovo opens the possibility for both communities to devote their efforts to social and economic development of the province, creating conditions for safe return of refugees to their homes, protection of basic human rights and liberties for all citizens of the province. Alternative solutions for Kosovo


Theoretically, there are five alternative solutions of the status of Kosovo. One  alternative is that the final status of Kosovo will be that it remains as it is now formally the autonomous province in the Republic of Serbia in FRY. This is the alternative which is officially the policy of the Serbian leadership. Some Western politicians see Kosovo as one of three (or four - if Vojvodina adopts the same path) constitutive states within the loose federation, the FRY, together with Serbia and Montenegro. The third alternative is that Kosovo will become independent sovereign nation. This is the alternative which is the policy of the Albanian leaders from Kosovo. The fourth alternative is that Kosovo, Albania, part of Macedonia  populated by ethnic Albanians and three communities in Southern Serbia  joint together in a "great Albania". The fifth alternative is that the final status of Kosovo is not discussed for several years, until conditions in the province improve, until there is institutional, social and economic development providing rule of law, security for all citizens of Kosovo.


Which of the five alternatives for Kosovo will finally be implemented? Which of the five solutions "we" or "the international community" (meaning West) should encourage and which "we" should discourage?


It is difficult to predict which solution will prevail. There are too many actors with unpredicted behavior, contradictory and mutually exclusive requests, possible regional developments with yet unknown effects on Kosovo. How far will Kosovo Albanians go in materializing their request for independence ? Will they be ready to turn the arms against military and political representatives of the West now governing the province ?  It is impossible to say now. What would be reaction of the West ? Will the West fight back or just let the Albanians have things done their way? How will the war against terror effect response of the West to the new possible Kosovo war, now launched against the West by Kosovo Albanians? How much are the Serbs ready to fight for control over Kosovo? Presently no one can expect that Serbia will allow to be engaged in the war over Kosovo. But this situation can be changed in the future. How will Macedonian crisis be solved? How will organized rime respond to further developments? Will Serbia succeed in reforms, or there will be no progress?  Will FRY stay as framework for Montenegro and Serbia? Albania proper is presently playing very constructive role in the region. Leaders from Albania are not for creating with Kosovo of the great Albania. They are afraid that instead of "great Albania" we shall witness "great Albanian Kosovo" in which Albania proper will lose it's identity and present Albanian leaders from Albania proper will be totally marginalized.  Will the attitude of Albania proper remain prudent as it is now  is also the question with no clear answer.


Although it is impossible to predict what will be the final solution, one conclusion is arising from discussions I had, or the discussions I was hearing, or from material I read: The solution of final status of Kosovo, no matter which  of the alternatives will prevail, will be conditioned with improvement of security for ethnic minorities in the province. Only if human rights of all citizens will be recognized, if there will be return of refugees, if there will be institutional, social and economic development there will be possibility for negotiations on the final status. All key players, the Albanian leaders,  the Serbian leaders, as well as the "international community" leaders, they are all aware of this.  This is the reason why the feeling of optimism was prevailing in all the discussions I witnessed. When asked what was their opinion how they see Kosovo in five years, my correspondents told that they believe that none of the two confronting ethnic communities will resort to violence in order to achieve their political goals, and that because of this they see Kosovo in five years time as an entity  in advanced stage of transition, politically organized as multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society, refugees returned to their homes, open borders with the neighbors, with mutually recognized rights of free movement and settlement and starting of the new business for all persons and legal entities from the neighboring territories.  If this optimistic prediction is materialized, it will become irrelevant what will be the formal status of the province at that time. No matter what official political arrangement will be made with regard to sovereignity in 5 years time, there is no doubt that Kosovo affairs will be governed entirely by the people of Kosovo. On the other hand institutional, social and economic development, non existence of ethnic violence, factual recognition of rights without regard to ethnic backgrounds, will have as the effect that there will be more readiness to negotiate final settlement on both, Albanian and Serbian, sides.


4.2.2. Bosnia and Herzegovina


There are six alternatives for requests  of separation of Republika Srpska from Bosnia and Herzegovina on one side and of the request of Croats from Western Herzegovina for forming the separate Croat entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina. One alternative is that Republika Srpska will separate from Bosnia and Herzegovina and unite with Serbia proper. The other alternative is that Croat entity is created as third entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina and three instead of two federal entities form  one federal state. The third alternative is that Republika Srpska separates and that Croats and Bosniaks form one federal state. The fourth alternative is the status quo, with the recent variation arising from decisions of the Constitutional Court - establishing that the three people are constitutive in both entities. The fifth alternative is that Republika Srpska separates and joins Serbia, Croatian entity is formed and joins Croatia and Bosniak entity remains as one sovereign state. The sixth alternative is the unification of the country - alternation of the Dayton accord in a way that central authorities or local authorities take competence from the entities. 


From the debates in Bosnia and Herzegovina,  Serbian and Croat nationalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina do support each other in claim for separation from Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, none of the separatist movements is at present ready to resort to violence in order to achieve the goal. The "international community" seems to be quite determined to govern the country as long as is necessary for the unification of the country to become accepted by waste majority of population in the entire country.


Separatist movements are at present isolated by Serbian and Croatian leaderships on power in Serbia and Croatia respectively. Although at the October 19-21, 2001 meeting of the Council of the Igman Initiative[21] ten forms of discrimination of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and (the Muslim and Croat entity which together with Republika Srpska form the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina)  it's citizens by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, there is no aspiration of the present Serbian leadership in power in Serbia and in FRY for Republika Srpska to join Serbia. Croatia is not applying any longer any form of discrimination of citizens of Republika Srpska or Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nowadays Croatia  does not support in any way Bosnian Croatian separatists.


However, there is a strong request, shared by majority of politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina from all three ethnic communities, for the “international community” to change it’s attitude and mode of operation in the country. The request is that the role of the “international community” should entirely change. Presently, the High Representative of the International Community (which is the official title, according to Dayton agreement) has the competence of the supreme authority in the country. He is the supreme legislator as well as the final instance for resolution of the disputes. He has unlimited powers, he can alter any court decision at his free will and he can ban application of any law adopted by the competent authorities of the entities or of the state. The role should be changed in a way that would enable development of institutions of the two entities and of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The international community should stay there for preventing armed conflicts and for securing the implementation of the laws and regulations adopted by competent authorities  within the entities and of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina when they are in accordance with the legal system of the country. The citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina should be owners of the processes of all decision making, not the “international community”. The international community should be there for securing peace and rule of law until the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina become capable of doing this job on their own, without the intervention of the “international community”. However, as this will be possible only when separatist and nationalistic movements become politically marginalized, the "international community" shall need to stay in the country for several more years, but it's role should be changed: it should be there to provide implementation of the rules adopted in consensus by leaders of three ethnic communities and institutions of the country, rather than to be the supreme legislator and rule as a middle-age sovereign with dictator's powers.


The most realistic scenario for Bosnia and Herzegovina is that this country will remain a protectorate of the "international community" (meaning the West) for several more years, until leaderships of the three ethnic communities do not agree to devote to institutional, social and economic development of the entire country. This goal will be achieved sooner if there will be more regional cooperation, especially in truth and reconciliation process, if transitional reforms in Serbia and Croatia will be successful, and if situation in Kosovo and in Macedonia develops in a way which will contribute to regional stability and prosperity.


4.2.3. Montenegro and FRY How the situation developed from 1997


After democratic changes took place in Serbia in October and December 2000, the government of Montenegrin president Djukanovic announced the change of the policy with regard to future relations with Serbia. In 1999 Montenegrin government proposed to Serbian authorities, than firmly in the hands of former FRY President Milosevic, that Serbia and Montenegro redesign their relations in a way that Yugoslavia becomes a loose federation of two states, keeping only limited competence for the federal level, in the field of defense, monetary union and foreign policy. Milosevic regime never sent a serious answer to this offer of the Montenegrin government. It should be noted that in late 1997, when Montenegrin president Djukanovic decided to break the alliance with Milosevic regime, Milosevic expelled representatives of the government of Montenegro from federal institutions and replaced them with members of the faction of Djukanovic’s party that formed new party, Socialist People’s Party (SNP), lead than by Momir Bulatovic. Momir Bulatovic, whose party was in opposition to Montenegrin government in Montenegro, has been nominated as federal Prime Minister. Montenegro responded by ignoring federal institutions and federal laws.  However, instead to respond to Montenegrin offer of 1999,  on July 6th 2000, after secret negotiations with Bulatovic SNP party that lasted less than 24 hours, Milosevic made the federal parliament amend the federal Constitution in a way that direct elections for federal president will be organized, as well as for the both chambers of the federal parliament. It was a clear attempt by Milosevic regime  to provoke another crisis in the region, to provoke  Montenegro to officially declare independence, and open the ground for use of force or threat of use of force to prevent the independence of Montenegro. It was an attempt by Milosevic also to  demoralize  Serbian opposition, which had in Djuakonovic a strong ally in  trial to oust Milosevic from power. Serbian opposition found itself in an awkward situation. Constitutional changes of July 6, 2000 were illegitimate and doubtfully legal.  On the other hand it was obvious that Milosevic will organize elections in accordance with the amended constitution, hoping that the opposition will boycott the elections. Within the EastWest Institute’s  project of Task Force on the Future of FRY, also known as the Bratislava process, there was a conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, on July 8th, 2000, just two days after the illegitimate constitutional changes were adopted by the federal parliament of FRY. Montenegrin delegation, which earlier confirmed their participation,  cancelled their arrival to Bratislava, as Montenegrin parliament was holding at the same day an emergency session in response to constitutional changes. Serbian leaders of opposition to Milosevic came, and after discussions, agreed to adopt a resolution condemning the regime for changes of the Constitution without participation of the Montenegrin government in the legislative process. However, although in the document Serbian opposition leaders concluded that the 6th of July constitutional changes were illegal, and  expressed their solidarity with the people and the government of Montenegro,  they also decided to accept the challenge of the Milosevic regime and to fight Milosevic in the elections. The decision took Milosevic by surprise, and he therefore decided to hold the elections as soon as possible, hoping that the opposition will not have time to organize for the campaign. He was also badly advised that he still enjoys support of people. Milosevic was also hoping that the opposition will never unite against him, and that instead of having to fight against one strong counter-candidate, each of many small parties from the opposition will nominate it's own candidate. However, 18 parties of the Serbian opposition formed a united block and nominated one strong candidate, Mr. Vojislav Kostunica, a professor of constitutional law,  a  moderate nationalist from the center right. On September 24, 2000  there were elections for the federal president and for the federal parliament. It was obvious that Milosevic lost the elections, but he tried to rig the results using loyal members of his governing structures in the election commission. However, on October 5, 2000 mass protests of citizens in Belgrade and throughout the country forced Milosevic to admit his defeat in the elections.


The participation of the Montenegrin government in the elections was very controversial. Serbian opposition leaders were negotiating with Djukanovic for his party to participate in the elections for federal parliament and the president, in order not to allow Milosevic to enjoy 50 Montenegrin seats in the federal parliament (thirty out of 128 in the lower house and twenty out of forty in the upper house).  Djukanovic declined saying that  he could not give legitimacy to constitutional changes by participation in elections organized on the basis of these changes. Actually, as many in the “international community” wrongly predicted that Milosevic will win the elections, Djukanovic, believed the same.


After it was clear that Kostunica won the elections against Milosevic, elected Serbian democratic leaders proposed to Djukanovic to send his representatives to the federal government, proposal which Djukanovic also declined. In the meantime, new leader of the SNP party from Djukanovic’s opposition,  former Montenegrin allies of Milosevic, told on October 6th, 2000 to Serbian democratic leaders  that they are ready to form a coalition with Kostunica and his group. It was the next day after massive demonstrations  wiped out Milosevic regime, but in the morning, until it was not yet clear whether Milosevic will accept transition of his powers to Kostunica, but,  when it was already clear that if he did not do this voluntarily, he would be certainly forced to do it. On October 7th , 2000 the first session of the newly elected federal parliament took place and Vojislav Kostunica  swore in as a new FRY President. After negotiations,  the new federal government, based on the coalition of SNP from Montenegro and Serbian Democratic Opposition (DOS) group, has been formed. This made relations between official Montenegro and Serbia more tensed. However, unlike Milosevic, new Serbian leadership decided to accept whatever decision is taken by Montenegro regarding the future of the federal state.


In January 2001 Montenegrin government made a new proposal to the Serbian government for new arrangement of relations between Serbia and Montenegro. Unlike in their 1999 proposal, the FRY would cease to exist, two new sovereign nations would be created, Serbia and Montenegro, and these two sovereign internationally recognized nations would make a new Union of Sovereign Nations of Serbia and Montenegro, that would perform only very limited joint functions.


In the meanwhile relations between Montenegro and Serbia worsen. Serbia under Milosevic introduced blockade of export of goods from Serbia to Montenegro. Montenegro found supplies from other countries in the surrounding. Montenegro introduced its own custom service and German Mark as official currency in the republic. Now, Montenegro and Serbia function as two separate markets, there is a customs check point on the Serbian side of the border between Serbia and Montenegro, two entities have different customs and tax systems and rates, different currencies. Payments between two countries is complicated and costly. There is no cooperation in the fields as infrastructure development, copyrights protection, etc., there is limited cooperation between police forces and in the military field, as well as in negotiations of debts restructuring and other cooperation with the international organizations.


However, it became obvious that Montenegro is split into two equal halves over the issue should Montenegro stay with Serbia in federation or should it become a sovereign internationally recognized nation.


It should be noted also that very quickly after the changes in Belgrade, the international community supported the new Belgrade authorities by lifting of all sanctions earlier imposed against Milosevic regime, and by inclusion of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into all main international organizations, initiatives and structures, notably the UN, OSCE, SEE Stability Pact, the World Bank, the IMF, SECI, and other. It was also the first time that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has been unquestionably formally recognized as a sovereign nation, despite the fact that in part of the country (Montenegro) federal authorities can not perform any power, and in the other part (Kosovo) there is a protectorate of the UN.


In April 2001 there were elections for the parliament of Montenegro. Parties which were for independence formed one block, represented by Montenegrin president Milo Djukanovic. His coalition named “The Victory is of Montenegro” was opposed by coalition of parties that wish Montenegro to remain with Serbia in the federation. This coalition was chaired by Predrag Bulatovic (not to be confused by Momir Bulatovic, federal PM under Milosevic, who separated his faction from SNP and formed his own party after Milosevic’s defeat). The name of the pro-federalist coalition in April 2001 elections was “Coalition Together for Yugoslavia”. Djukanovic’s coalition won by very narrow margin. It should be noted also that the right to vote has been given only to citizens of Montenegro that could prove that their residence was for the two years before the elections in Montenegro. This means that several hundred thousand of citizens of Montenegro, or at least one third of total number of citizens of Montenegro, residing in Serbia and outside of FRY, could not participate in the elections.


The results of the April 2001 elections in Montenegro, together with progress of Serbian reforms, international acceptance of the new FRY leadership, have demonstrated to Djukanovic that it may happen that the voters of Montenegro will not decide to separate Montenegro and Serbia in a referendum. Furthermore, there is a problem with Montenegrin constitution, which requests that there must be two times a majority of two thirds of votes in the Montenegrin parliament for the change of the Montenegrin constitution to be valid. It is clear that even if there will be a narrow majority of voters voting for independence of Montenegro, it will be impossible to get two times two thirds of votes in the parliament of Montenegro in favor of  the change of the constitution.


At present there is a strong pressure from the “international community” that Montenegro remains with Serbia in the FRY. International organizations request to have sure address of entities they negotiate with, and it is not sure if FRY is such address for Montenegro. In some cases it is, in some it is not, and the international community can not tolerate this confusion any longer.  All high officials visiting Belgrade and Podgorica are repeating one message: democratic Montenegro within democratic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.


In Serbia there is growing unease because of the present unsolved situation. Serbian leaders are repeatedly pressuring Djukanovic to solve the crisis in Montenegro, to have the referendum organized as soon as possible, so that it becomes clear whether the Federal Republic will stay or not. Serbian leaders repeatedly say that they would prefer for Montenegro to stay together with Serbia in a reformed and functional federation, but they also say that they will honor the decision should Montenegro decide to separate. However, Serbian leadership is failing in putting their vision of content of future relations between two republics on the negotiating table. It would be easier to achieve solution of the formal status of the two republics if the two leaderships could reach an agreement that no matter what the formal status solution will be,  citizens and businesses of one republic will have free movement rights to the territory of the other, that property and other rights will be recognized in the same scope and in the same way as to domestic citizens, that rights to establish home or business will be recognized to citizens of one republic on the territory of the other republic without discrimination, that there will be cooperation of the governments in a trial to form a unique market, with harmonized rules, with perhaps unique currency, with harmonized infrastructure development policies, that they will have a joint military forces, and perhaps a joint foreign policy.     


One of the reasons why Serbia insists on the quick resolution of the present unclear status of Montenegro is the internal dynamics in Serbia itself. Serbia needs to reform its institutions, to go through constitutional reform. Than, because of the internal tensions between two main branches of power within Serbia (FRY President Kostunica and Serbian PM Djindjic) there will be a need for new political arrangements within Serbia and possibly new elections for Serbian institutions. Serbian leadership feels blocked by unclear federal framework, because if it remains, than it also has to be profoundly reformed, if it goes away, than all the efforts will naturally be concentrated only on Serbian internal reforms.  Alternative Solutions for Montenegro and FRY


There are six alternative solutions for the problem of the future of FRY.


First possible scenario: Referendum on independence succeeds, parliament votes with two thirds majority for the constitutional change


If Montenegrin government organizes the referendum and majority of voters accept that Montenegro should separate from FRY, than the Montenegrin parliament will have to decide with votes of majority of two thirds of members of the parliament whether there will be change of the constitution of Montenegro and Montenegro will become the sovereign internationally recognized nation. If the parliament decides so than general elections for the parliament have to be organized and the new parliament will have to decide with majority of two thirds of votes of members of the parliament if the proposed constitution will be adopted. In that case FRY would cease to exist, Serbia and Montenegro would have to undergo a succession process. Trying to discourage Montenegro from separation EU high representative Javier Solana told Montenegrins on Nov. 28, 2001 that Montenegro will have to apply for membership in UN and other international organizations as Serbia will automatically be considered state successor of the FR of Yugoslavia if FRY ceases to exist.


Second possible scenario: Referendum on independence succeeds, parliament does not vote with two third majority for the constitutional change.


There is a possibility, however, that the referendum will be organized, that majority of voters at the referendum votes for independence of Montenegro and that it is impossible to get the votes of two thirds of the members of the parliament for the constitutional change.


If this happens two different scenarios are possible:


1) that Montenegrin parliament decides with majority of only 50% of parliamentary votes that Montenegro will declare its separation from FRY. The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe as well as OSCE found that such a scenario would be deemed unconstitutional move, which would make impossible membership of Montenegro in the Council of Europe and international recognition of Montenegro as sovereign nation. It is very likely that Serbian authorities also would not recognize independence of Montenegro. This would destabilize Serbia, Montenegro and consequently the entire region;


2) Second possibility is that Montenegrin government organizes new parliamentary elections hoping that the new parliament will approve constitutional changes already adopted in referendum. In that case, the new parliament would have to discuss and adopt only the draft of the new constitution with majority of two thirds of votes, another parliamentary elections would have to be organized and than the new parliament would adopt the new constitution with two thirds majority votes. This would be legally well done change of the status of Montenegro, FRY would cease to exist, and Montenegro and Serbia would become two sovereign separate nations.


Third possible scenario: Montenegro and Serbia agree on loose federation


The pressure of the “international community” on Montenegro may become irresistible. Djukanovic’s government is depending on budgetary help from the West. It is possible that Djukanovic, once faced with conditioning of the support for Montenegrin reforms, will once again change his policy and accept to keep Montenegro in a loose federation. In my view this is the most likely scenario.


Fourth possible scenario: Montenegro and Serbia agree on separation


There is a possibility that Djukanovic will postpone referendum for unlimited period of time, keeping the problem unsolved. It is possible that Serbia will not accept prolongation of the unclear status quo, and will propose to Montenegro agreement on separation, which Montenegrin government could easily accept. This would require the vote of more than 50% of votes in the Serbian parliament. However, it is not very likely that it would be possible for the government to get 50% of votes. If the party of FRY president Kostunica would not support such move, even if with the votes of other parties the government could get more than 50% of votes for such a proposal,  this scenario would be destabilizing for Serbia, because of the political dynamics inside Serbia.


Fifth possible scenario:Montenegro and Serbia agree on confederation of sovereign states


This is a possibility which has been repeatedly refused by democratic authorities in Serbia. Serbian leadership does not see the need for such a confederation. They want either functioning federation either total separation. In my view instead of refusing flatly such proposal Serbian authorities should rather speak with Montenegro on what would be the content of the future relations.


Sixth possible scenario: Status quo until changes occur in Montenegro


There are many of those in Serbia who do not understand the need for rushing into the solution of the problem. They have “wait and see” policy. If Montenegro organizes referendum and decides to separate from Serbia, the state functions now performed by federation would be performed in Serbia. According to this theory the new Serbian constitution should be adopted as if federation existed, but there should be also a special law which would be applied at the moment when Montenegro would officially separate. If Montenegro can not organize referendum, or can not implement the results of referendum if the result would be in favor of independence, Serbia would continue to use FRY institutions and competence in the same way as it does now. This is also a not very likely scenario. Serbia wishes to continue with reforms. Serbian democratic leaders share on the federal level power with SNP, which does represent one half of Montenegrin electorate, but because of the boycott of federal structures by the Montenegrin authorities, all laws and regulations adopted by federal bodies can be applied only in Serbia. Status quo means that Montenegrin members of federal bodies decide only for Serbia, which is totally absurd consequence of a status quo, a condition which can not be politically tolerated any longer in Serbia. This became evident in the case of the law on cooperation with the Hague tribunal. The draft law prepared by than federal Minister of Justice, prof. Momčilo Grubač from Serbia, and adopted as draft proposal by votes of DOS members of the federal government, had to be withdrawn from the parliament because SNP members of the federal parliament told they will vote against the law. Without support of SNP  no federal regulation can pass the federal parliament. This provoked the crisis of the federal government, PM Zoran Žižić of SNP resigned and the new cabinet, with equal number of members from Montengero and Serbia, chaired by SNP member Dragiša Pešić  swore in. Prediction – what will happen, which scenario will actually take place in



In the year from democratic changes of October 2000 Serbia has been using federal institutions for the reforms in those fields that presently belong by the law to the federal state. Progress of reforms in the field of foreign affairs, in the field of monetary policy, deregulation of foreign trade, reform of defense structures, has been remarkable. This is the reason why the “international community” puts strong pressure on Montenegro to refrain from any unilateral move. FRY is becoming democratic, and no one sees reason why Montenegro should not be one of two  democratic republics in democratic federal Yugoslavia. On the other side, there is a campaign against Djukanovic in which he is charged for alleged smuggling of cigarettes. Croatian weekly  “Nacional” is publishing week after week very serious accusations against Djukanovic, which if proven correct, according to many analysts,  could have been made available to the Croatian magazine only by Western secret agencies.  Montenegrin opposition requested that a parliamentary committee  be formed in order to clarify whether the accusations were correct. However, although none of the governmental officials whose names were connected to the affair appeared to testify before the committee, parliament concluded that the committee should cease to work, and SNP decided to withdraw from the parliament until the committee will be allowed to continue its work. In the last week of November 2001 Djukanovic filed label charges against “Nacional” before the Court of the Zagreb County in Croatia. No matter if Djukanovic succeeds in his case in Zagreb or not, the affair is very damaging for his reputation inside Montenegro, and he might lose support he enjoyed in April 2001 at the elections. 


The most likely scenario is that under pressure from West, as well from the inside of Montenegro, Djukanovic will accept agreement with Serbia on transforming FRY into a loose federation. According to some proposals in Serbia the name of the federal structure would be Yugoslav Union, with structures similar to the EU. The decision making at the level of the Union would be only consensual. There would be, however, joint defense, foreign representation and monetary, fiscal  and customs regulation. Each of the two constitutive republics would have possibility to have their own diplomatic representatives abroad or to use the joint diplomatic mission. Many analysts believe  that the agreements between Serbia and Montenegro will be reached very soon.


2.  Agenda for Constituting the Civil and Political Societies in the Balkans


2.1. Vicious circle of investment unfriendly environment, and breaching it


All these topics that we are dealing with originate from one question – how our nations, more or less poor, and politically, socially and economically underdeveloped, can embark on the ship called the “European Union”.


There can be little doubt that elites of our nations do know exactly what are the necessary steps for achieving that goal. More precisely, our political leaders and other elites know that the prescription is universal, and actually very simple. First you must adopt lawswhich are precondition for:  start of the institutional reforms in the governance, allowing establishing rule of law and separation of powers, public control of public affairs through free media, balanced state spending, removing unnecessary barriers for trade and investment, respecting human and political rights, respecting minority rights. Than you must implement these laws, eliminate unfair or illegal monopolies, stop printing money, stop forcing banks to give bad loans, clean the internal debts, shortly, behave in every detail fairly, lawfully, and decently.


However, although we all know what should be done, for some  reason this is not done. Our region is not at all specific with this regard. One can look at Latin America, or Africa, or poorer members of the EU. There are countries that for decades  did not succeed to develop strong institutions as we know them in the West, despite the effort of democratically elected and democratically oriented political leaders.


So where the problem is, why here in the Balkans, as well as in some Latin American, African and Asian countries, our elites, although they know what should be done, fail in adopting laws which make the institutional reform and socially beneficial economic development possible? Also, why so many governments failed in implementing these laws once they were adopted?


There seems to be a vicious circle that we should overcome. No socially beneficial economic growth is possible when there are unjust monopolies, when there is no security for the investment, when laws are bad, judges and state servants poorly paid and corrupted, when politicians are corrupted. No one will invest  money in a country in which every investment can be wiped out by a decree of a corrupted minister or judge. On the other side, without new investments economy will remain poor, which means judges and public servants can not be paid properly, educated people will leave the country, there will be no human resources for preparation of the good  laws and/or implementation of the good laws, there will be no sufficient social development enabling society to change the grim situation it is caught in.


Therefore, for us in the Balkans, our principle question – how to embark on the glorious and luxurious ship called “European Union” – translates to the question – how to break the vicious circle that could be conditionally named as “no investments in an investment unfriendly environment”.


We have to stop deceiving ourselves. We shall never become part of the European Union unless we have much quicker economic development. And we can not have quicker economic development without new domestic and foreign investments. Let us therefore see what can be done in order to make our investment unfriendly countries to become investment friendly.


2.2 Facing reality: regional grim picture and deception by the West


Now, it is time to face other realities. The first reality is that there is nothing unique about the grim picture of the state of the nations in the Balkans. There are failed states, corrupted politicians, underdeveloped societies around the globe, there is nothing unique about us. Yes, we are in bad shape, but it is nothing extraordinary in comparison with other poor regions on other continents. (Actually, as we know well, although the situation is extremely bad, we have known even worse times, times of wars, daily murders of innocent civilians in besieged Sarajevo, murders and expulsions of civilians from their homes in Croatia, murders and expulsions of civilians from Kosovo, destruction and civilian victims euphemistically called “collateral damage” of  NATO campaign in Yugoslavia. Thanking to God, times of wars seem to be behind us.)


This other reality we have to face is that the West deceived us. The West, EU  and the US,  promised to help us through the Stability pact as a kind of a new Marshall Plan for the Balkans. But, if we compare what the Marshall plan was for the Western Europe, and what the Stability Pact was in reality for us, we can see that the promise of boost of investments in infrastructure, institutional reforms and social development, was not realistic at all. But, the West is not the only side to be blamed. We share this responsibility, we gladly accepted the role of a subject of Western aid which was smaller than we expected, rather than of a partner in building a better Europe. There is a comparison which demonstrates that the West has never been serious about the Marshall plan for the Balkans. West (by virtue of Western Germany) invested 500 billion Euro in the absorption into the EU of former Eastern Germany, in the period of 10 years. In year 2000 the West promised to invest 6 billion Euro in the economic recovery of the Balkans, in the period of 5 years. The disproportion is obvious and demonstrates clearly that the West was not truly committed to “Europeanisation” of the Balkans. But, although there has been no serious investment effort on their part, EU is not hiding its resolve to influence the politics in the Balkans, to be the key player in the Balkans. This role is, however,  restricted to the goal of preventing armed conflicts and eliminating security threats, rather than boosting economic and social development.


2.3 What can we do? Draft agenda for regional self-esteem


So, if we can not expect bigger investments from the West, is there anything at all that we can do?


Yes, there is.  We should relay on our own forces in the beginning, at least until we have started to recover economically. There is an enormous role the civic society has to play in this period[22].


Firstly, each of the country  should identify own country’s capacities.


Secondly, we should meet together, compare each country’s capacities with the needs and possibilities of regional development.


Thirdly, we should identify what are the obstacles for investments in every specific country and  we should  press our governments to eliminate these obstacles.


Fourthly, we should identify for each country what is needed for building investment friendly environment, and what is the cost involved.


Fifthly, when we have made the plan of institutional reforms for each country (each country is at different level of institutional reform) and when we have calculated the cost of reform of the state administration, the legislative branch of power (parliaments) and the judiciary,  we should come to a figure of cost of institutional reform for the entire region and we should ask the governments and the West to develop a plan of regional reconstruction and direct the funds needed for institutional reforms to be used for that purpose. This would be a good chance for the West to reconsider whether really there is a readiness for repetition of the generosity of the U.S. government it had when  implementing the Marshall Plan for the Western Europe. Marshall Plan was, of course, partly result of political divisions in Europe after the WWII, but, there may be little doubt that there would hardly be such quick institutional and economic recovery in the Western Europe without such determination of the U.S. to help Western Europe.


Sixthly, we should press our governments to make a precise commitment, including the precise calendar, regarding the changes in the legislation required for institutional reform and its implementation.


Seventhly, we should press our governments to build in country social consensus for reforms, and once this consensus is built within each country, we should press our governments to make together regional plan of reforms.


Eighthly, we should press the West to press our governments to implement the promised reforms and to condition the support to reforms with fulfillment of promises governments made with regard to the reforms.


Ninthly, we should impose ourselves as partners to our governments and the West. We can do it by seriousness of our researches, by institutionalization of our cooperation, by good division of labor among us, by good relations with media of our countries and region-wide. The both, our governments and the West, should understand that we, citizens of the Balkans are the owner of the process of regional cooperation. Our governments as well as the West turned the thing upside down. As attorney, I can put it in a comparison with client – attorney relation. My client is the owner of the case. He can dismiss me if I am not performing as he wishes. In the case of Balkan and West cooperation, West is behaving as if the West is the owner of the case[23]. In the case of relations between us citizens and our governments, governments behave as if they are the owners of the case, as if the government can dismiss citizens.


*          *          *


Discussion on the agenda for the region requires discussing the methodology of regional coordination of implementing the agenda.


In the next part of this paper a contribution to this discussion will be offered.


Setting up the goal of the discussions on regional cooperation in transition


One possible way of engagement of regional brains in  transition processes  is to institutionalize the permanent exchange of experiences, views and analysis by regional experts.  This project should be ambitiously led. The goal should be:

so-bidi-font-style:italic">building regional consensus on ways of transition of societies in the Balkans into modern liberal democracies.  


All countries of the Balkans have as strategic goal to become members of the EU. This means that system of liberal democracy which is established in the EU has to be established also in the candidate countries. The sooner reforms start the sooner will the results be achieved. Elements of the system of  liberal democracy are interconnected, the system can be established only if all elements are present at the same time. If any of the elements is missing, there is non stability and the whole system is in danger. For example, in order to join European Union, countries must have developed economies that would enable them to have competitive markets. This requires more domestic and foreign investments. But, in order to have more investments, there has to be the rule of law and independence of the judiciary. One of the preconditions for independent judiciary are good salaries of judges, as well as good salaries for state administration is a precondition for the rule of law. This returns us back to the economy. Of course, independent judiciary has no significance for protection of investments if there is no free media as main tool of public control over the government. Investments are more attractive in big markets. This means that regional cooperation in removing trade barriers, in trade facilitation, development of the infrastructure should be intensified. All this is not possible if there will be feeling of insecurity in the region because of disrespect of human rights, or of the rights of ethnic minorities.


This project should help that regional dialogue between experts, think tanks, people from the state administration is developed,  in order that a regional approach to social, economic and institutional development is achieved.


Defining methodology of the project


Task Force on the Future of the Balkans

The methodology should start with setting up the body of regional experts that might be called The Task Force on the Future of the Balkans. It should be the main mechanism for building the above mentioned regional consensus. This means more active approach in envisaging the work of the body should be applied. There is no reason not to build on the good experience of the FRY Task Force project[24]. The name of that body was Task force on the Future of FRY. It's main goal was building consensus on need for changes in the FRY. There is no any reason why we should not suggest the name Task Force on the Future of the Balkans.  It should be consisted of experts, think tanks, people from the administrations, from each Balkan country. These people should meet once in two months and would exchange views on what is to be done to improve state of matters in the region, how should existing regional problems be dealt with. Instead of just analyzing the consequences of alternative solutions they should discuss the most desirable solution which should be applied in order to achieve the strategic goal that each country has, to become a democratic liberal society integrated in Europe.


Monthly political and economic reports, reports from the meetings of the Task Force


One of the products of this project should be focused political and economic monitoring of transition in the countries of the region. Development of regional problems should be reported about systematically and regularly, and by regional experts. The political reporting which has regional scope that presently exists, neither is systematic, nor regular, and is made mainly by experts from the West. The same goes for economic reporting.


In depth analysis on the problems of the region


Other product of the project should be in depth analysis of regional problems. These analysis should be written by experts of the region, it should contain historical background, explanation of how the specific problem has been developed and recommendations to involved policy decision makers. These analysis would be, together with political and economic reports, good starting point for discussions at the meetings of the Task Force.


Reports from the meetings of the Task Force


The Task Force on the Future of the Balkans would issue report after each meeting that would also contain analysis of the problems and recommendations to all involved policy decision makers.



                                    *          *          *


Conclusion arising from this paper is that for constituting civil and political societies in the Balkans there should  be institutionalized regional cooperation of decision makers from the governments of transitional countries in the Balkans, experts from the governments of these countries, experts from think tanks of these countries, NGO activists, trade unions, in an effort to make the regional transitional agenda.






[1] This paper should be seen as a draft for the possible study on the problems and possible solutions for the development of the Balkans. It is just a presentation of author’s views on some problems of the region and a suggestion for further researches and in depth studies.   

[2] Author is a lawyer from Belgrade and Prague and a political analyst  engaged in developing regional cooperation in the Balkans. 

[3] It should be noted that Serbian regime forces were engaged in abuse of military power in 1980-ies in Kosovo and in 1991 in Belgrade, but these “blitz-kriegs” were never considered wars in analysis. In Belgrade in March 1991 protests of citizens of Belgrade, no doubtfully in majority ethnic Serbs, requesting  democratization and reforms was crashed by military intervention requested by Serbian regime forces and approved by majority of votes of federal presidency of former SFR Yugoslavia. The short war over Slovenian independence in 1991 was launched by federal SFRY authorities only formally, with no serious intention of Serbian regime forces, which already controlled the SFRY army, to prevent Slovenian separation.

[4] Many ethnic Serbs fought together with ethnic Croats and Muslims (Bosnian Slavs of the Muslim religion – lately called Bosniaks) in the war launched by Serbian regime forces against Bosnia and Herzegovina when Bosniak and Croat members of the parliament of the republic declared independence and separation from former SFR Yugoslavia.

[5] Srpskohrvatski

[6] Until 1970-ies and appearance of democratic-nationalist movement in Croatia – “Maspok” the language was officially called in Croatia “Hrvatskosrpski” or, in English “Croato-Serbian”.  After 1970-ies the language changed its official name in Croatia and was called “Croatian or Serbian” (Hrvatski ili Srpski). Colloquially in Croatian the name of the language was with almost no exception named just Hrvatski or Croatian. After changes in 1990, the language was officially called Croatian. Until late 1980-ies in Serbia and in Montenegro the language was colloquially called equally in both ways Serbo-Croat (Srpskohrvatski) or just Srpski (Serbian). After late 1980-ies, with raise of Serbian nationalism, the language was called officially and colloquially only Srpski (Serbian).

[7] Conflicts in Macedonia between Macedonian Albanians and ethnic Macedonian majority started only recently, have been exported by leaders of ethnic Albanian military forces from Kosovo, and there is a hope that these conflicts can be considered terminated by the acceptance of most of the requests of ethnic Albanians from Macedonia by the government of ethnic Macedonian majority.

[8] Please see chapter 2.3 of this paper (page 10)

[9] Mr. Ante Markovic is a Croat by ethnic origin. It  is a paradox  that a Croat has been the one who was the last defender of idea of Yugoslavia as union of South-Slavic ethnic groups and their states.


[10] In the West there is no dispute that Croatia is part of the Balkans, but large part of the Croatian establishment insists that Croatia is part of the Central Europe rather than of the Balkans. In order to accommodate this feeling of large part of the Croatian public the West is using the name of Southern Eastern Europe as the second name of the Balkans. Ethnic wars in the 20th century were more often, and had more devastating consequences  in other parts of Europe than on the Balkans.


[11] Some Western agencies place Moldova to the SEE (or Balkans) some do not.

[12]In 2000 the New York and Prague based EastWest Institute (EWI), an "action and think tank" working in the Balkans, Ukraine and Russia, has been commissioned to offer agenda of reform of  the SEE Stability Pact. EWI worked on this with the European Stability Initiative (ESI) and the work was finished by the end of 2000.

[13] World Bank Study - Road to South-East European Regional Prosperity and Stability of January 2000


[14] Unjustly because only countries of the former Yugoslavia were at ethnic disputes and clashes, while larger part of the Balkans (Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Moldova, Albania) has not been participating in ethnic wars that took place in the late 1990-ies. Please see point 1 of this paper.


[15] Launched in 1999 as a Marshall Plan for SEE, the Stability Pact turned into the badly managed burse of the projects that Western governments or Western institutions already decided to finance.

[16] Please see point 2.1 of this paper

[17] Please see point 5.1 of this paper – case of Slovenia

[18] The conflict in Macedonia is new, it started in year 2000 and there is hope that it ended by recently adopted agreements.

[19] This part of the draft of the study on the status of the region will be related only to some of the problems raising from unsolved requests for forming sovereign nations.

[20] Belgrade daily “Danas”, Feb. 16, 1999

[21] The Igman Initiative is a program of regional cooperation between FRY, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, governed by three NGO’s, Center for Regionalism of Novi Sad (FRY), Forum of Democratic Alternative of Sarajevo and  Civic Center for Human Rights of Zagreb.

[22] Unlike Western governments, Western NGO donors and foundations saw interest in supporting think tanks and other professional NGO’s from our countries. Although this process had some negative side effects, this helped re-creation of a middle class, small in the number, but important as beginning of the process. The negative side effect is that long existing “indigenous” institutions ceased to exist, capable and educated people from establishment and governmental agencies moved to work for Western international organizations or West sponsored NGO’s. Other problem is that this does not help building institutional capacities in the countries. If for any reason NGOs lose Western support, they will have to close, if they fail in establishing themselves as institutions.

[23]This I particularly visible in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Please see point 3.3. of this paper.


[24] Please see part page 22 of this paper, and also