A Sort of Resurrection for Yugoslavia

BELGRADE/PODGORICA/BERLIN | | jugoslawien

BELGRADE/PODGORICA/BERLIN (Own report) - Next Sunday the people of Montenegro vote on leaving the State Union with Serbia. The vote will decide the formal completion of the German-sponsored final destruction of former Yugoslavia. The supporters of secession will profit from the support of Germany and the EU, who have given uninterrupted support to leading personalities in Montenegro for years, in spite of their long-known, obvious, criminal activities in smuggling. Admittedly Berlin would welcome a further isolation of Serbia although the final secession of Montenegro will not have any further decisive significance. In any case, according to political commentators, the State Union with Serbia is "not at all functional". In the meantime, in a move which lays bare the mainspring of the NATO war, the EU is working on a plan to improve the utility of South Eastern Europe for businesses from the Western industrial states. The region of powerless mini-states of shattered former Yugoslavia should be put back together again in the form of a free trade area.

Divided Negotiations

The Montenegrin secessionists can thank the promises of EU circles for a considerable degree of their support, arising from assurances that the economic position would be improved by the break with Belgrade. From the end of the war Berlin influenced Montenegrin internal policy in this direction. The most visible expression of this was the adoption of the D-Mark, which became the sole official legal tender in 2000. This enabled the German government to detach Montenegro (then still a constituent republic of Yugoslavia) from the sovereignty of Belgrade and favoured further movements towards secession. Brussels raised no objections to the continuing monetary division of Yugoslavia and subsequently approved the introduction of the Euro in Montenegro. In the actual negotiations for associated status with Serbia-Montenegro, the EU is conducting separate talks with both parts of the country behind the scenes and so is aiming towards a dissolution of the State Union.[1]

A Signal

Observers believe that a German-European measure may have a decisive influence on the outcome of the referendum. The EU suspended association status negotiations with Belgrade on account of the government's failure to deliver to the Hague one of its citizens accused of war crimes.[2] This punitive action occurred at the beginning of May, a few weeks before the vote was due. It is said that ten to fifteen percent of Montenegrin voters are undecided. In view of this renewed demonstration of anti Serbian policy from Brussels, they may be persuaded to vote for separation from Belgrade to achieve better prospects of getting a share of EU subsidies.[3] In spite of the support from Brussels and Berlin, a close-run referendum result appears likely next Sunday. It cannot be ruled out that the fiercely fought secessionist campaign may lead to violent disturbances.

War Criminals and Smugglers

The protagonists of Montenegrin secession come from highly questionable political circles. International investigators accuse President Milo Djukanovic of acquiring a fortune of millions during his political career from the illegal sale of cigarettes and of promoting secession as a means of avoiding prosecution for dubious business practices. According to the opinion of an investigator In the Munich Customs Office, smuggling from Montenegro "accounts for misappropriation of tax in billions" and this has occurred "under they eyes of the EU". The witness asserts that "for years he informed the appropriate authorities of the occurrences".[4] Consequences remain. Whilst the Italian Navy was conducting operations against refugee boats from Albania, Montenegrin boats could deliver their lucrative cargo undisturbed to EU territory and so create a financial basis for the secession.

War Crimes

With their silent toleration of illegal machinations, Berlin and Brussels continue with their known Balkan policy, in which suspected war criminals are allies - like the "President" of Kosovo, Agim Ceku. Ceku, a protégé of Berlin and campaigner for independent status for Kosovo will be received this week at the German Foreign Office for negotiations. He is accused of serious war crimes.[5]

"Harmonisation inconceivable"

In Berlin the decision on Montenegro's secession is regarded with calmness. "Independence will not bring any great changes with it" says Franz-Lothar Altmann, an expert on South East Europe for the Foundation for Policy Study (SWP). The political systems of Serbia and Montenegro were already "totally distinct, harmonisation between them inconceivable and, up to now, the Union did not function at all" [6] - a result of the Berlin's currency and economic policies. Experts on South Eastern Europe believe that it would be advantageous if Djukanovic were to fall from power after secession: then "a new leading personality must be found who is free of the burdens of the past".[7]

Statelets

Regardless of the outcome of next Sunday's referendum, after the separation of Kosovo which is planned for this year [8], only a territorial core will remain of the original Serb state. The Serbian mini-state has already been rendered incapable of any influence over Montenegro. Serious resistance to Berlin's South East European plans, such as occurred in Milosevic's Yugoslavia, is not to be expected.

A Grand Bazaar

Against this background, the centres of hegemony in Western Europe are driving forward an economic re-ordering of Europe's South Eastern periphery.[9] In January Brussels demanded an agreement between the "West Balkan" states (Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania) for a free trade area. In these countries such a proposal is not regarded as negotiable because it would lead to an economic and political reconstruction of something not unlike that Yugoslavia which was torn to pieces by war. The "West Balkan states" would join the free trade zone formally by accession to the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) of which Bulgaria and Romania are members. After their soon-expected accession to the EU, Bulgaria and Romania would pull out. As a result Yugoslavia would arise anew - as a politically disempowered entity, a sort of Grand Bazaar for Western business concerns.

[1] "Montenegro führt bereits eigenständige Verhandlungen"; Der Standard 02.05.2006
[2] Bis heute leben NS-Kriegsverbrecher in Deutschland in Freiheit, obwohl ihnen in anderen Staaten Gerichtsverfahren und Höchststrafen drohen; Sanktionen gegen Berlin werden deshalb nirgends in Erwägung gezogen.
[3] "Montenegro führt bereits eigenständige Verhandlungen"; Der Standard 02.05.2006
[4] Schnellboote voller Schmuggelzigaretten. Deutsche Fahnder in Montenegro; Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung 14.05.2006
[5] see also For the Good of Macedonia
[6] Wehende Fahnen, gebeuteltes Land; www.europolitan.de 20.02.2006
[7] "Montenegro führt bereits eigenständige Verhandlungen"; Der Standard 02.05.2006
[8] see also Mutmaßlicher Abschluss, Neuer Vasall, Imperial Consummation and Teil der Verwaltung
[9] see also Kriegsrendite