The International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana, Slovenia has been regularly analyzing the events in the Middle East and the Balkans. IFIMES is analyzing the situation in Serbia with a special emphasis on the possibility of prohibiting the entry of individuals and leaderships of certain political parties in Serbia to the EU states and the U.S.A. The most important and interesting sections of the comprehensive analysis are given bellow:
The international institute IFIMES is analyzing the political situation in Serbia and is evaluating the contribution of particular parties to the progress and rapprochement of this country to the Euro-Atlantic integrations with a special emphasis on the G17 Plus party of the current Vice-President of the Government of Serbia, who is also presiding the government negotiation team for the negotiations with EU, Miroljub Labus.
The professional team of experts from the field of economy G17 Plus registered itself as a political party after the presidential elections in 2002, when Miroljub Labus, then a member of Democratic Party (DS) left the party of Zoran Djindjić under a pretense that the party did not offer him enough support in the election campaign. But the reasons for breakup between Miroljub Labus and Zoran Djindjić have to be sought for outside of daily media quarreling. The international institute IFIMES has already in September 2003 warned in its detailed analysis of the negative activity of G17 Plus in the daily life of Serbia, the negative effects of which are still felt today.
G17 Plus has from the founding assembly entered the governing structure of Serbia and into the organs of state union of Serbia and Montenegro, which implies that we are talking about a group that has formed a political party for the personal needs of G17 Plus functionaries, who are lead by Miroljub Labus, Mladjan Dinkić... The so-called economy experts, who present themselves as such, were in the time when G17 Plus was still acting as a nongovernmental organization composed of prestigious economy professors from the university of Belgrade and other Serbian universities and economists, who amounted their greatest wealth in the period when Slobodan Milosevic was on power. This grouping showed that they have no abilities to offer quality solutions for the destroyed economy of Serbia and that their observations are of theoretical nature only. When we take into the consideration the economy practice in Serbia, their observations remain at the level of theoretical models, while the existing practice shows that Serbia has no real economic growth.
In the government of the Prime Minister Zoran Djindjić and Zoran Živković, G17 Plus had its own representatives, whom Zoran Djindjić, before he died, succeeded to bring to his side, except two of them, Tomica Milosavljević, the Minister of Health and Mladjan Dinkić, the Governor of the National Bank of Serbia (NBS). After Dinkić was replaced and Karl Udovički became the Governor of NBS, the G17 Plus Party started with publicizing scandals in which ministers and high functionaries of the former government were involved. Scandals were at that time, in addition to G17 Plus, being brought to the public also by the party of the current Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica (DSS – The Democratic Party of Serbia), which was exclusively dealing with the abuses of the police action »Sword«. At that time the worst accusations were brought to public against the Minister of Police Dušan Mihajlović, the Minister of Transport and Telecommunications Marija Rašeta Vukosavljević, as well as against two other closest colleagues of Zoran Djindjić, Nemanja Kolesar and Zoran Janjušević. Even after more than a year none of the accusations have been proven.
By publicizing the scandals in Serbia, began the fight between the two opposite sides, by two opposite truths. Until the courts in Serbia won't begin responsibly solving all the cases of criminalization of the government, such a division in Serbia will continue. The murder of the Prime Minister Zoran Djindjić, abuse of the state of emergency, death of several soldiers in the garrisons of Serbia, the sale of Knjaz Miloš and other big and small companies in Serbia, are representing two irreconcilable sides of political parties that are exercising the power and the Democratic Party that is in the opposition, but is still controlling, together with G17, the largest part of the money flow in Serbia.
Without considering the threats of many months that due to the lack of cooperation with The Hague Tribunal they will leave the government of Serbia, the Chief Committee of G17 Plus has decided differently, i.e. to stay in the government. For this they gave several reasons: solving of the Kosovo question, relations with Montenegro, adopting a new Constitution for Serbia and receiving a positive evaluation of »The Feasibility Study for the Joining of Serbia and Montenegro to the European Union«. G17 Plus traveled in one year, since they are in the government, from a partner of the anti-reformist Koštunica to a fellow traveler of DSS without any serious conflicts. The fact that not a single accusation against the former government ministers and functionaries has been solved is not a lonely case when we are talking of the Serbian parting with their past. That there is no such a political initiative witnesses the fact that Branko Pavlović has been replaced from position of the Privatization Agency Director. Pavlović has seriously accused the NBS governor Dinkić that with his replacement he wishes for the return of »Vlahović model of criminal and corrupt privatization«, which has brought to a wholesale of Serbian economy, low investments and fall of production. This shows that to the experts of G17 Plus reforming the Serbian economy is not important, as is not important the export and production growth, but rather as quickly as possible and at any price to sell what is left and by this »to buy the social peace«. Thus, Serbia is instead of joining the EU threatened by Argentinean or rather Russian scenario, and all for the sake of »peace in the house«. The Prime Minister Koštunica is silent on these issues and prefers to put affront the question of (non)cooperation with The Hague Tribunal, since to a Serbian this is much less painful than loosing a job or life in poverty.
The G17 Plus Party has dominantly directed itself into trying to lead the economic policy, while social policy is on the theoretical level being handled by the Social-Democratic Party of Slobodan Orlić. The two parties entered into a coalition after the syndicates threatened with general strikes in almost all of the Serbian factories. The Center for the Research of Alternative has diagnosed that a total of 43% of citizens are ready to go to demonstrations again, even if these demonstrations become violent. Throughout 2004 in Serbia occurred organized and spontaneous strikes, road blockades and even physical conflicts. Strikes occurred mostly as consequences of unreal promises given by the parties in power before the parliamentary elections. Inclusion of different political actors into organizing protests can bring to direct or indirect confrontation on the political front. In Serbia, the interested political options are supporting and channeling protests of different unsatisfied groups against the government with a desire to destabilize it. From the other side the protests also mean, as a multi-layered phenomenon, that the government is not operating well and that it is not able to control the situation, which for example was not the case in the period of Zoran Djindjić, who, as much as the protests of the workers are concerned, held the strings tightly in his hands.
IS SERBIA THREATENED BY THE »ARGENTINEAN SYNDROME«?
As long as the opposition and »the opposing Serbia« are searching their political chance in protests, it should be noted that the confrontations on the relation state vs. syndicates are very dangerous, due to the fact that not a single serious economist can say that it is not possible in Serbia to come to a catastrophe similar to Argentinean, when the people in rage toppled a whole system. »The Argentinean syndrome« will overflow Serbia, when the government decided to go to economic reforms without institutional ones, without which it is impossible to create an ambient for supportable growth. Payments for credits will at the end of 2006 and at the beginning of 2007 amount up to 1.6 billion American dollars. If the reforms are by rule painful and are implemented without reforms in limiting the power of the government, decentralization of the administration, reforms of courts and the police, then it is clear that Serbia entered a process of constant theft by former socialist directors and the private companies that are close to them. On auctions, it is understood, always the same buyers appear – those that were at the time of Milosevic plundering the national economy.
It can be said without any doubt that neither present nor previous government is guilty of the economic problems, but it is guilty of not apprehending the ones that are guilty. In this way the whole burden of reforms is falling upon the poorest segments of population, which is one of the reasons for taking the Serbian political scene into the right. There even is a possibility of new Nazism that is socially motivated.
CRIME IN THE TOP OF THE GOVERNMENT
If the elections on all of the levels were held after the famous sale of the »Knjaz Miloš« factory from Arandjelovac, only Radicals of Šešelj and Socialist of Milosevic would remain in the parliament. The government has in this case clearly shown that they want this sale to be framed for a specific buyer. In brief, »Knjaz Miloš« – anatomy of myth and corruption was developing in the following manner: The Commission for Government Stocks at first disqualified »Apurna«, the joint company of Vlado Divac and French company »Danone« because of breaking the law, when the basketball player Predrag Danilović subsequently offered the owners 3.500 dinars per stock. This decision was changed after great pressures from the Government of Serbia on the members of the Commission: the President Milko Štimac (G17 Plus) entered a pre-cardiac attack state and ended in house medical treatment, Vice-President of the Commission Djordje Jovanović finished in hospital, while Dušan Bajec (DS) resigned the Commission membership. According to the government order, The Agency for Fighting the Organized Crime interrogated all of the members of the Commission and the investigation continues. Criminal accusations were issued against the wife of a well-known basketball player Vlado Divac and Predrag Danilović.
Vice-President of the Government Miroljub Labus (G17 Plus) and the Minister of Economy Predrag Bubalo (DSS) were named as the main actors of the scandal and it was these two that exercised most pressure on the Commission to annul the solution of disqualifying »Apurna« of Divac. From the other side, the Radicals of Šešelj repeated several times in the media that Labus in his apartment received the vice-president of the company »Danone«. The vice-president of the government explained that he was ill at the time and that the visit does not have any connection to the sale of stocks of »Knjaz Miloš« to the »Danone« company.
As much as G17 is favoring certain own financiers, the same is done by the Democratic Party through their influence on the cadres in the Commission for the Government Stocks. Four years after the fall of Milosevic are marked by struggle with the remnants of his regime, which is through its present political elite still having power in Serbia.
Serbia and her government have so many problems and none of them has priority. It is fortunate that Carla del Ponte and Haag are not interested in economic issues and social politics. The president of the European Commission Chris Patten assessed that the government of Vojislav Koštunica is »shaky« and can as such not survive for long. Except the fact that the representatives of G17 Plus increased their information activities in the government, the government is not known to do anything on repairing its own bad image. The revolutionary phase through which went the newly established government in Serbia in the last year is over. The chaotic phase isn't.
THE FASCISTS AND THE ANTISEMITISM
The political party G17 Plus has been recognized by the citizens of Serbia as an incapable grouping and they stopped believing that this party can perform any meaningful switch in the political life of Serbia. For Serbia it would be much more meaningful to search for the support among those people that posses a real knowledge confirmed in practice without any consideration as to what party they belong to.
About what kind of group of people and a political party we are talking about shows the fact that G17 Plus was one of the carriers of the proposal to pass a law with which the rights of pro-fascist oriented formations during the World War II (the Chetnik movement of general Draža Mihailović and others, who openly collaborated with the fascist occupier) and their followers would be equalized with those of true anti-fascists (the Partisan movement).
Taking the side of protecting the members of the fascist movement in Serbia during the Second World War, the G17 Plus has clearly shown that its orientation isn't civilized (European), a fact that was in Serbia manifested through the appearance of Anti-Semitic actions in form of writings through open Anti-Semitism, for the appearance of which the responsibility has to be taken by G17 Plus.
All of this leads us to think that the organs of EU have to thoroughly consider, whether Miroljub Labus can competently and with all the named hypothecs lead the negotiations of Serbia with the EU on the joining of Serbia to Euro-Atlantic integrations.
The international institute IFIMES believes that the EU and the U.S.A. have to seriously think about whether it is necessary to selectively limit to Labus, Dinkić and other functionaries the movement on the territory of EU and U.S.A. and through the boycott against them as a first step emphasize a new process of profiling people and politics in Serbia that is in a realistic and practically realizable manner trying to establish cooperation with the EU and the U.S.A. This clearly signifies that EU and U.S.A. have to determine whether they a partner in Serbia that is supporting the fascists of the WWII and their heirs or they desire for a cooperation with the political parties of Serbia that were founded on a antifascist tradition.
RESPONSIBILITY OF RASIM LJAJIĆ
The international institute IFIMES thinks that the present Minister for Minorities and Human Rights in the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro Rasim Ljajić needs to resign or be replaced, since he did not take responsible action to solve open questions of minorities and human rights, which relate to prevention and struggle against anti-Semitism as well. Minister Ljajić is mostly concerned with the question of cooperating with The Hague Tribunal, which by nature of this Ministry isn't within his competence. By this Rasim Ljajić committed a double damage to Serbia: the principal two people accused of war criminals Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić were not arrested yet, while with the appearance of anti-Semitism great damage was done to the reputation of Serbia abroad.
The international institute IFIMES believes that it is necessary to quickly pass laws in Serbia that will solve the open question of participation of minorities in the social and political life of Serbia. The recent parliamentary elections showed that due to the high threshold of 5% there are no minority representatives in the Parliament of Serbia. Serbia has to begin an all-encompassing social action to prevent the appearances of anti-Semitism and intolerance towards the minority groups, based on the antifascist tradition. In the opposite case, shall we expect a new wave of anti-Semitism in Serbia?