Contents - Previous - Next
This is the old United Nations University website. Visit the new site at http://unu.edu
9. The dissolution of multi-ethnic states: The case of Yugoslavia
The situation after the process of dissolution
Unresolved problems will remain
What are the prospects?
In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in days of old;...
And I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens and eat the fruit of them.
And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord my God.
The consequences of the war in Yugoslavia which began in 1991 in Croatia and has now engulfed Bosnia and Herzegovina have been frightful: tens of thousands have been killed and at least three times that number wounded; millions will remain psychologically injured; more than seven hundred thousand people have become refugees; hundreds of thousands of homes have been ruined, families separated (a great number of whom were ethnically mixed), and industrial plants and infrastructure destroyed.
Seeing these atrocities and being aware that this is not yet the end of the destruction, one must ask a very logical question: Could the survival of the Yugoslav federation have avoided this cataclysm?
Before answering this question it is necessary to consider some facts. Economic, social, political, and other problems had been accumulating unresolved in Yugoslavia for decades, especially since the collapse of the economic reforms announced in the 1960s and the suppression of "liberal tendencies" at the beginning of the 1970s. The "results" of the "settlement" with liberalism in Yugoslavia could be compared with the "results" of two similar political-ideological phenomena in the communist world which were happening at approximately the same time: the cultural revolution in China and Brezhnev's rule in the Soviet Union. The dissolution of Yugoslavia had begun, in fact, in the seventies, after that liquidation of liberalism. The beginning of this process was marked by three factors of a general character.
First, the so-called "agreement economy" had been introduced, which meant, in fact, the abolition of market laws and legal obligations between economic entities.
Second, the decision-making process at the federal level regulated by the federal constitution of 1974 was ineffective. The major economic and political decisions regarding the "equality of nations and nationalities" had to be adopted by consensus of the republics and both autonomous provinces. It was very hard, if not impossible, to obtain, for instance, a consensus between the "developed" republics and provinces (Slovenia, Croatia, "inner" Serbia without provinces, Vojvodina) and the "underdeveloped" ones (Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo) on economic and political reforms and the restructuring of industry, reforms which have been in the last two decades a basic need for ensuring the stability and progress of the country.
Third, the political Úlites whom Marshal Tito had brought to power, at the levels both of the republics and the two autonomous provinces and of the federation, had neither adequate political wisdom nor the personal capacities necessary for managing the country.1
The one-party regime provided no opportunities for genuine corrections and adaptations of the political and economic system. The routine appointment of mediocre but contemptible "cadres" to political, economic, and other public posts further worsened the prospects for adequate governing of the country.
Inter-ethnic tensions, swept under the carpet by the political leadership of the country, have been another source of the ineffectiveness of the system. The situation was made even more complicated by political and legal systems which lacked effective methods and procedures for the democratic resolution of problems.2 By the 1980s the country had become a pressure-cooker without a safety valve. The brutal reaction to the Albanian rebellion in 1981, and the escalation of Serbian and, later, all other nationalisms ignited the final explosion.
The answer to the question of whether the survival of the Yugoslav federation would have avoided the cataclysm in this country is therefore very simple: no, because the Yugoslav federation had few chances for survival. But another assertion is unfortunately very clear, too: most of the ethnic leaders chose the worst of all possible ways for dissolving the federation, and in so doing have driven several generations of the members of "their nations" into war, stagnation, misery, and humiliation.
How many successor states have emerged on the soil of former Yugoslavia, and what international status do they have at the beginning of 1995? Of the former six federal republics, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia have declared their independence. Serbia and Montenegro have prepared a draft project of their unification in new/old Yugoslavia. The leaders of the Albanian political and trade union organizations in Kosovo are persistently declaring the right of the Albanians to self-determination (and to unification with Albania on this basis) but so far no actions have been undertaken in this regard.
Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been internationally recognized. The recognition of Macedonia has been delayed because of the objections of Greece, which is of the opinion that the use of the word "Macedonia" for the new state would imply territorial pretensions to that part of Greece with the same geographical name. Serbia and Montenegro claim to be the only successors of Yugoslavia and want thus enjoy the benefits of its legacy.
The situation concerning the territory of new states is thus complicated from the very outset. Approximately one-third of the territory of Croatia is under the control of the local Serbian population, strongly supported by the Yugoslav (federal) army. This is a territory where the UNPROFOR peace-keeping units are supposed to be deployed. In a part of "independent" Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbs have established the "Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina." The Croats, on the other hand, are trying to gain de facto control over another "portion" of this state, western Herzegovina.3
The situation after the process of dissolution
Each of the successor states of the former Yugoslav federation has its own political, socio-economic, ethnic, and other circumstances. However, the following features could be a common denominator of the situation. (Slovenia has particular features which I shall mention when considering specific issues.)
1. There is terrible economic depression (in some cases even chaos). This is manifested, among other things, by a great diminution of industrial production, a fall in foreign trade and investments, and an enormous growth in unemployment. This situation is a logical continuation of the previous circumstances, which have rapidly worsened during the unmanageable process of Yugoslavia's dissolution which began in the seventies and continued apace in the eighties.
Generally speaking, the emerging states have similar economic, monetary, financial, and technological problems to the old Yugoslavia: an outdated industrial structure, low productivity, irrational and inefficient management of the economy and public affairs, foreign debt, unemployment, and declining standards of living. The social and economic situation in all the successor states has deteriorated tremendously in the last two years. The war in Croatia has worsened the social and economic situation in that country even more. Increasing misery and starvation of the population were the first "results" of the "democratic" changes in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1991, when the three parties representing the three nations (Muslims, Serbs, and Croats) won the elections. With the beginning of the civil war in this republic the situation deteriorated rapidly overnight.
The main deficiency of all the regimes in power is their lack of global concepts of how to handle the economy, and of wisdom about how to develop the most-needed economic, technological, and other reforms or how to conduct the restructuring of industries, ownership, management of the economy, public services, and so forth.
2. One of the most sensitive results of a steady fall in the standard of living, the immense unemployment, uncontrolled price rises, and so on is the fostering of social tensions in the new emerging societies.4 In these economic circumstances a tiny class of "haves" and a permanently increasing class of "have-nots" have been created in a short time. The gap between the two classes is larger every day. Such sociopolitical circumstances constitute a fertile ground for the spread of extremist ideas and activities.
Competition could be an effective impulse for development. But, according to many observations, the growing social differences are not always based on competition and law. Besides, in such circumstances the shortest way to enter the club of "haves" does not necessarily lead through the organization of new production but more often through "unproductive" activities, such as speculation of all kinds. This could work only in circumstances where capitalist economic methods are being introduced into the "socially-owned" economy, i.e., in a situation where nobody knows yet who owns the means of production.
3. The new nation states are being created as copies of the old state. Their common characteristics are thus the strengthening and growth of different kinds of administration and of the state apparatus of repression (national army, different branches of the regular and secret - civil and military - police forces, etc.). Looking at these developments, one could conclude that the primary goal of the "new ethnic Úlites" has been to replace the old "non-ethnic Úlites" in power, and not to reform the new societies and states in accordance with the democratic demands which were invoked in the endeavours to mobilize the masses against the old regimes.
It is hard to believe that the vanishing economies would be able to cover the increasing cost of these apparatus and services. On the other hand, less and less money is available for culture, science, research, health, or other social services. It is hardly necessary to explain what long-term consequences of such a division of the GNP might be expected.
4. Unreasonable ethnic nationalism and hatred of "the others" has become a cornerstone of the political mobilization of each group's own masses and of the creation of the new political regimes. After the atrocities of the Serbian Croatian war, the ethnic animosity between these two nations has attained immeasurable dimensions. Since the beginning of the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina the same could be said for Serb-Muslim relations.
5. The isolation of the emerging states on the territory of former Yugoslavia at the beginning of 1992 was twofold. Some of the emerging states (Slovenia and Croatia) were included in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) or were given the status of observers in European institutions such as the Council of Europe; but all of them, for the time being, have been left out of the process of European economic and financial integration.
Furthermore, there has been an immense fall in, or even interruption of, their political, economic, commercial, technological, scientific, and other bonds with foreign countries, especially Western Europe. The whole territory of former Yugoslavia is still treated as a war zone or at least as a zone of political turmoil. And it is well known that capital and economic activities in general avoid such risks.
Among the first consequences of the dramatic events in former Yugoslavia was a quick increase in the already existing trend towards developing the road, railway, and other communications from central and south Europe towards the Balkans via Hungary, Romania, Serbia, and Bulgaria, or via Italy and across the Otranto straits. However, the creation of new state borders between the former republics of Yugoslavia, with strict border and customs controls, and the adoption of many other measures of control of the new nation states over their territories, citizens, and the exchange of goods (and ideas), have contributed additionally to the reduction or interruption of European traffic through this territory. With the continuation of this trend, the physical isolation especially of Slovenia and Croatia will increase. Bosnia and Herzegovina has become a land-locked country, encircled by Croatia and Serbia, the two nation states which are potential claimants of "their ethnic parts" of its territory.
It will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to redirect these new communication flows back to the previous routes. Nor are the successor states showing interest in this. For instance, in proposals for the construction of new international road connections, only those roads - if they should ever be constructed - that would "link" the successor states with "Europe" have been taken into consideration, and not the traditional communication routes that connected Central
Europe, via the territory of former Yugoslavia, with the Balkans and the Middle East.5 On the other hand, all kinds of cooperation between the former republics of Yugoslavia have fallen drastically. In the case of Croatia and Serbia we can speak of the severance of all contacts. Restrictions on economic cooperation between the emerging states, bans on the export of various "strategic" goods (food, raw materials, etc.), transformation of the financial, commercial, and other bonds between them into inter-state (and as yet unregulated) relations - all these have further contributed to the disappearance of cooperation between the previous republics.
The new independent states of Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and of "united" Serbia and Montenegro, are strictly "defending" their "state interests." On the territory of former Yugoslavia, closed, politically controlled, and regulated markets have been created. The wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have destroyed chances for the beginning of genuine recovery for their economies and for the resolution of the most urgent social problems of the population.
Unresolved problems will remain
After the international recognition of the emerging states of former Yugoslavia, a great many very sensitive matters concerning future relations among them have remained unresolved. Each represents possible grounds for disputes, friction, even armed clashes. As an illustration, I will mention three of them:
1. The restoration of peace is a sine qua non for any political solution of the Yugoslav crisis. The UN peace-keeping forces (UNPROFOR) in Croatia - if the development of events provides the necessary conditions for their deployment at all - will have the mandate of ensuring respect for the cease-fire and of separating the two sides involved in the fighting. This is doubtless a precondition for any lasting peace. But the main issues concerning real pacification - the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes, the rebuilding of ruined settlements, cultural monuments, industrial plants, etc. will nevertheless remain open. The main political issue at stake remains how to ensure de facto control by the Croatian authorities over the whole territory of the new state. The problem has become politically even more sensitive, since Croatian propaganda has created in public opinion the impression that the deployment of UNPROFOR means the beginning of the "expulsion of the Serb invaders from the occupied territories of Croatia."6
Serbian ethnic nationalism and aggressiveness may be the main cause, but the Serbian-Croatian divergence is the main problem of the Yugoslav crisis. We are clear witnesses of the struggle between the two emerging nation states for the division of territories of former Yugoslavia along ethnic lines. The Serbian side is for the time being militarily stronger; but the new Republic of Croatia is very quickly building its own military force. The positions of the two sides regarding the territory of Croatia are defined: Croatia is defending its sovereignty over its national territory, which is now under the control of Serbian insurgents, while Serbia is claiming this territory as a zone of its interest on the basis of the local Serbian population's right to autonomy.
In this regard, Bosnia and Herzegovina is still an "open space." In spite of the recent international recognition of the independence of this former Yugoslav republic, its division along ethnic lines is the main goal of the Serbian and Croatian political strategy, the accomplishment of which depends on the present military actions. The first priority of both nationalisms is the de facto division of the republic, among other ways by the formation of "autonomous ethnic regions" which would, according to the authors of these policies, provide the legitimate basis for future territorial claims.7 In other words, aware of the present international control over Bosnia and Herzegovina by the European Union (EU), the Serbian and Croatian ethnic nationalists are for the time being trying to ensure at least "their sphere of interest" in the country, as a starting point for also getting, later, "their portion" of "their own ethnic territory."8
Each nationalism takes into account the fact that Muslims constitute more than 40 per cent of the population only in order to create a favourable balance of power "against the other," and not as a basic political factor for the future stability of this part of former Yugoslavia.
In addition to the atrocities that are occurring in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the ruinous breakdown of Serbian-Muslim relations will probably also provoke "rescue actions" by Muslims in favour of their kith and kin, such as the Muslims from Sandjak in Serbia and the Yugoslav Albanians. Stopping the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina has become another urgent task for the international community.
2. The problem of the borders between the new states is the most vulnerable aspect of the relations between them. In normal circumstances the first step towards resolving this problem would have been recognition of the administrative borders between those former Yugoslav republics that have obtained their independence, and of the borders between them and the rest of the country (Serbia and Montenegro), as international borders under international law. This solution would have been in line with the (insufficient) rules of international law9 and with the Helsinki Final Act of 1975.
Unfortunately, the question of borders has become a purely political matter. The division of territories of the former federal republic of Croatia was in fact the main reason for the bloody and destructive Serbian-Croatian war. Recent events have shown that Serbia, under the cloak of the continuity of the Yugoslav state, is claiming, at least, all the Croatian territories that are now under the control of the Yugoslav army and of the local and paramilitary Serbian forces.10
The division of Bosnia and Herzegovina between Croatia and Serbia along the lines of ethnic territories was reportedly the incentive for the talks between the leaders of the two republics/states after the elections in Croatia in 1990. Attempts to make this notion a reality remain, as I have explained above, the most sensitive and explosive problem involved in searching for adequate mechanisms for the peaceful resolution of the Yugoslav crisis. After the international recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent state, the main task of the EU and the UN will therefore be to ensure peace in this new state and to protect its borders with the Republic of Croatia and with new/old Yugoslavia - or rather, with united Serbia and Montenegro.
Considering the traditional territorial pretensions of the Serbian nationalists towards Macedonia, it would be very naive not to expect Serbian-Macedonian misunderstandings concerning their future relations.11 Ambiguities over land and maritime borders exist even between Slovenia and Croatia, two states which have declared their friendly cooperation from the very beginning of the process of disolution.12 All the former Yugoslav republics except Slovenia have ethnically mixed populations.13 In such circumstances it is not even possible in theory to draw inter-state borders along ethnic lines. It was in awareness of this fact that the Serbian nationalist strategists, during the war in Croatia, found another "method" for resolving this problem. By inflicting unprecedented atrocities on civilians, they frightened the remaining population of "other ethnic origin" into fleeing from their homes, thus transforming the area of "operations" into "ethnically clean" territories. Subsequently, the Croatian extremists have adopted the same methods for "cleansing" their territories of the Serbian population.
According to these strategies, the second step should be the settlement of these areas with the people of "their ethnic origin." The result of the implementation of this "strategy" in Croatia were hundreds of thousands of refugees, displaced, and missing persons not only of Croatian but also of Serbian, Hungarian, and other ethnic origins. These "methods" were known, for instance, from historical events on the Indian subcontinent and in Palestine.
The use of these methods for creating "clean ethnic borders" in ethnically completely mixed Bosnia and Herzegovina, as is obviously already happening, has as its first consequences a horrendous number of people killed and wounded, at least a million displaced persons, and a human tragedy on the continent that has declared the last decade of the century as the period of its decisive economic and political unification.
There is a real possibility of the renewal of another `'historical border" on this part of Europe. On the territory where the UNPROFOR units should be deployed, there existed during the Austro-Hungarian empire a so-called military zone (militargrenze, Vojna krajina) where the settlers (many of them of Serbian origin) had a duty to defend the empire (and Europe) against the Turkish invaders. If it lasts for a long period, the deployment of the UNPROFOR units will renew this "historical border," separating nations, cultures, and religious communities. This would be a catastrophe not only for peoples living in this area but for Europe as a whole.
3. The problem of succession is another Pandora's box in the Yugoslav crisis. First, the successor states have no sincere political will to regulate this matter. Second, the dissolution of Yugoslavia has not been yet completed; Serbia, together with Montenegro, for example, considers itself to be the sole successor to Yugoslavia. Third, a great many matters concerning the succession of the state are impossible to regulate on the basis of the inadequate rules of the various Vienna conventions - which, moreover, are not yet in force for the Yugoslav area.14 The regulation of the succession calls for the cooperation of the states concerned. But as things now stand, some of the successor states have not expressed clear ideas on how to resolve this problem
(except the division of debts and embassies!), and the others (Serbia and Montenegro) do not have the political will to do it. As completely different stands can be expected from the Yugoslav successor states concerning this matter also, there seems no possibility of settling it even partially without international assistance, first of all from the European Union.
The regulation of this matter would represent the definitive dissolution of Yugoslavia and would make easier the international affirmation of the successor states (membership of the UN and its specialized agencies and the conclusion of international agreements). Last but not least, in normal circumstances it could be expected that the successor states would establish, together with the agreement on dissolution, a basis for future international cooperation among themselves.
What are the prospects?
Before considering whether cooperation or integration is possible between states after so violent a split, it is necessary to consider some pertinent questions concerning the organization of future life in the successor states, peace and stability in the region, and the inclusion of this part of Europe in the process of European cooperation and integration. In considering these issues it would be wise also to take into account the following views and assertions:
1. The end of hostilities in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be only the first step towards the real pacification of the Serbian-Croatian confrontations; it will not resolve the basic political problems that have brought the Yugoslav federation into this cataclysm. As I have already suggested, the deployment of UNPROFOR forces in Croatia and probably in Bosnia and Herzegovina would be the only way to oblige the parties involved to stop fighting. If, on the other hand, political solutions concerning the occupied territories of Croatia are not achieved and respect for the borders and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina is not assured, the explosion of a new war, this time a total war, will be a real danger. I believe Serbian and Croatian - especially the former - territorial pretensions towards Bosnia and Herzegovina, can checked only by direct political and military intervention on the part of the EU and the UN (UNPROFOR, NATO, the WEU?), aimed at introducing some kind of provisional international protectorate over the country.15
It is most likely that particular European states will become more and more involved in the confrontations between the successor states of Yugoslavia, either by giving political support (to their allies or client states) or by supplying them with military equipment.
Ensuring respect for the inviolability of the "external" borders of the successor states on the soil of former Yugoslavia, especially by their neighbours, will be a great challenge for European and world policy. The destruction of the first Yugoslavia at the beginning of World War II, and the division of its territory between Germany (which annexed Austria), Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, and "Greater Albania," are still present in the historical memory of the people. Europe is thus, in my opinion, confronted with one of the greatest dangers for peace since World War II. It is to be hoped that the city of Sarajevo will not be mentioned in history as a place where two human disasters have been ignited in one century.
2. The primary challenge for all the new governments will be to show their ability to reform their economies and resolve without delay the large number of social, economic, political, and other problems which represent a nightmare for the great majority of the population of all the successor states. Recent events have shown that ethnic nationalism, ideology, and the insignia of statehood - to mention only few of the political tools of the new elite - are not a sufficient basis for achieving economic and social progress for the emerging societies.
Owing to the level of its economic development and the proximity of Western markets, Slovenia probably has the best chances for recovery and for achieving relatively sound progress in the near future. This could occur if a wise political regime were to come to power with the next elections and if it were able to create the basic political, economic, and other conditions required for the steady development of the country.16
Economic revival also depends on the political stability in the area as a whole. The prospects for achieving stable political solutions do not encourage optimism. The EU Conference on Yugoslavia, for instance, has not yet resolved any of the important issues on its agenda. Unless things change in the near future, there will be few chances for larger foreign economic and financial involvement, especially as regards investments, in this geographical area, and minimal chances for the renewal of the traditional European tourist flows in these directions as well.
3. It is hard to imagine that progress can be achieved without a genuine democratization of the emerging societies. Despite the formal changes of regime, the political methods developed by the communist rulers have remained the favourite tools of the new rulers of the successor states, partly because most of them were important figures during different phases of the former regimes.
Here we must recall how democracy has been widely misused to spread ethnic nationalism, racism, hate, and destruction of all that is different from "us". Mass media have become the most efficient tool for achieving this goal. In some of the emerging post-Yugoslavia nation states, very sophisticated political propaganda has completely overshadowed democracy. However, the nationalist wave that brought the new elite to power is losing the magical attractions it once had when the people, regardless of their ethnic origin, could not see optimistic prospects for their lives. Nevertheless, nationalism is still the main element of the programmes of the political parties in most of the successors of Yugoslavia. The structure of membership of the political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for instance, fully corresponds to the ethnic and religious composition of the population.
The growth of extremist behaviour of a fascist nature, both in Croatia and Serbia and with less significant manifestations in other successor states, is another noxious nuisance. The uncertainties surrounding the fate of the occupied territories of Croatia will open even wider the door for the radicalization of the Croatian political and military bodies, where extremist groups of belligerent orientation already exist. The effect, both in Serbia and Croatia, will be unfettered pretensions to the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina on an ethnic basis. In Serbia and Croatia, distinct signs of authoritarian behaviour on the part of the "national leaders" could be identified. The presidents of the two countries have concentrated in their hands a huge amount of political power which hinders fulfillment of the competencies of parliaments and governments and diminishes the chances for these states and societies to take up other democratic options subsequently.
Looking at the situation from this point of view, one could conclude that the more decisive changes concerning the development of the successors of Yugoslavia will be achieved only if a genuine democratic reconstruction of these societies is undertaken. This is one of the preconditions for the urgently needed recovery of the emerging societies and states. Unfortunately, the possible development of other, non-democratic solutions in this area of Europe cannot be excluded.
Thoroughgoing and large-scale integration of the successor states into the European structures would doubtless contribute to their democratization. But the main issues concerning democracy must be first of all resolved at home.
4. Improving inter-ethnic relations after the cataclysm that has stricken the people of former Yugoslavia will be the main task for future generations in their endeavours to resume normal life, cooperation, and political stability and peace in this part of Europe. The relations between Serbs and Croats will also be a crucial problem, and the future revitalization of former Yugoslavia and its inclusion in the processes of European integration will depend on the regulation of those relations. Further political and military intervention by the UN and the EU will probably be the only way to stop these two nation states from fighting for the redistribution of the territory of former Yugoslavia, in particular Bosnia and Herzegovina, along ethnic principles.
Real pacification, however, can be achieved only on the basis of the restoration of the now-broken confidence between the two ethnic groups. Looking at the demographic structure of Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, and especially Bosnia and Herzegovina leads one to the conclusion that dividing them politically by means of ethnically "purified" frontiers between nation states is unrealizable even in theory. As in the past, they will also have to live together in the future. Any attempt at other solutions is sure to lead to new wars, even bloodier than the present.
5. Cooperation among the new states is a sine qua non for the formation of any system of security in the area, for healing the terrible consequences of war, for development, and for the region's future integration into European structures. In 70 years of common life many bonds have been established between the peoples of Yugoslavia, and many common economic and other interests developed. However this fact should not be overestimated. For instance, because of the unskillful governance of the country and polycentric ethnic tendencies, the integration of markets, technical systems, and other entities was never achieved. The result of the recent events, as I have said, is the interruption of cooperation between the former republics, including the functioning of transport and communication facilities, financial traffic, and so on. It is self-evident that such a state of affairs could not be the basis either for the renewal of life in this European area nor for its integration with the rest of Europe.
All the emerging states have declared their "European orientation." By this they mean, first of all, membership of the EU and other supranational European organizations. What is less certain is whether the people are fully aware that the first step towards the KU, for instance, must be made at home, by reforming the economy so as to enable it to cope with the standards adopted by the KU. The same applies to the need to develop among the successor states a level of cooperation at least as high as that existing among the other countries of Europe.
No serious analysis or consideration of this problem is known to the public. We have the impression that more or less all governments are of the opinion that cooperation between the successors of Yugoslavia is not important for their development or future incorporation in the EU and other European and international organizations and institutions, especially those dealing with economic and financial matters, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. I am of the opinion, on the contrary, that developing mutual cooperation between the emerging successor states would make it easier to resolve accumulated domestic problems and to work towards integration in international institutions as well.
It is very risky to speculate as to which fields will be most suitable for developing cooperation among Yugoslavia's successors, based on mutual interests. But even a general consideration of this issue reveals the need to try to develop such a cooperation in at least the following areas:
(a) Intercultural exchange and cooperation in the spirit of the various conventions of the Council of Europe.
(b) Economic cooperation concerning the functioning of infrastructure and communication facilities; assurance of minimal conditions for unhampered financial flows, open markets, investment opportunities, and exchange of goods; cooperation in the production and distribution of energy, food, and other goods. However, apparently nobody in former Yugoslavia is taking seriously the proposals put forward in this regard by the Hague Conference on Yugoslavia or by the president of the Conference, Lord Carrington. 17
(c) Free exchange of information;18 a ban of any kind of political propaganda aimed at incitement to racism, racial discrimination, or hate, or making any distinction between people because of their ethnic origin or religious belief.
(d) Free movement of people in the territories of the successor states of Yugoslavia and the elimination of any discrimination concerning the conditions for obtaining passports and other relevant documents.
(e) International guarantees of basic human rights and freedoms for all citizens of the successors of Yugoslavia, including a ban on any kind of discrimination among former Yugoslav citizens because of their ethnic origin.
(f) Guarantees of individual and collective rights for ethnic minorities;19 this should be regulated preferably by international regional treaty or treaties signed also by the neighbouring states of former Yugoslavia. The agreement should regulate the rights of minorities living in successor states and in these neighbouring states. The efforts of the EU Conference on Yugoslavia in this regard have not yet been successful.20
(g) Cooperation concerning succession. In dealing with this issue it is recommended that future common interests, not only the division of the (miserable) heritage of the Yugoslav federation, be addressed.
Contents - Previous - Next