Unlike in many other socialist countries, the former Yugoslavia not only focused on heavy industry but had manufacturing in a variety of areas: chemical industry, textile manufacturing, automotive, furniture and food industries and more.
Like everything else, the entire industry was hit hard by the 1990s war, sanctions and bomb attacks. In the early 2000s, industrial production was low and very uneven. Only in 2007 did you see an upturn. Since then, among other things, the international financial crisis and the euro crisis have caused industrial production to go up and down.
The industrial companies are located mainly around Belgrade and south along the Morava river; in Kragujevac, for example, is the important Fiat factory. In the town of Niš in the south you will find tobacco, electronics, construction, textile and food industries and more. Also in Vojvodina is the food and textile industry. In 2014, the manufacturing industry contributed almost a fifth to GDP and employed almost 16 percent of the labor force. Just under a quarter of the workforce was active in the industrial sector as a whole that year.
Kosovo faces 100 percent tariffs
Kosovo introduces 100% tariff duties on imports from Serbia (and Bosnia), warning Serbia of a total cessation of cross-border trade and the EU demands that the decision be immediately withdrawn. But Kosovo threatens more measures. The already tense situation worsened already on November 6, when Kosovo imposed 10% tariffs on Serbia and Bosnia, for running an “aggressive campaign” against Kosovo. According to Prishtina, Belgrade is behind the fact that several smaller states have withdrawn their recognition of Kosovo as an independent state. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has accused Kosovo of undermining stability in the region after the first increase. The decision to raise tariffs to 100 percent comes the day after the international police organization Interpol voted no to join Kosovo for the third time. Kosovo has invested big money in a campaign to support membership, while Serbia has campaigned for a no.
Cooperation on lost war victims
Serbia is one of five countries to sign an agreement to work together to identify victims of the 1990s war in former Yugoslavia. Around 12,000 of the 40,000 reported missing after the war have still not been found, according to the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP), a non-profit organization that contributes in the identification work with DNA samples and information exchange. The ICMP chief calls the agreement an investment in peace and stability and notes that it is especially important in the current era of “populism and nationalism”. In addition to Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Croatia and Montenegro are included in the agreement.
EU skeptical about land change
Several EU foreign ministers warn Serbia and Kosovo to move forward with a proposal to exchange land with each other, as part of efforts to normalize relations. According to the proposal presented by President Aleksandar Vučić in July, Albanian-dominated parts of southern Serbia would be replaced by parts of Serbian-dominated northern Kosovo. Vučić’s Kosovan counterpart Hashim Thaçi first appeared positive to the idea, but has since partially backed down. From an EU point of view, it is feared that the measure would tear up wounds and risk causing a domino effect of demands and counterclaims on changed boundaries in the ethnically charged region.
Croatia’s defense minister ported
26th of April
The government declares that Croatia’s Defense Minister Damir Krstičević is not welcome in Serbia – in response to the fact that Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin was denied entry into the neighboring country last week. Zagreb’s behavior was a reaction to Vojislav Šešelj’s behavior on April 18.
Nationalist outbreak interrupts Croatian visit
A delegation from Croatia cancels an official visit to Serbia prematurely after Serbian ultranationalist Vojislav Šešelj went into exile and trampled on a Croatian flag outside the Belgrade parliament building. The delegation was on a two-day visit to strengthen the fragile relations between the two countries. The Croats say in a statement that the visit started well but that it became impossible to stop because of Šešelj’s actions. Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and President Maja Gojković also condemn Šešelj’s outburst, which comes just a week after he was convicted of war crimes. Šešelj is a Member of Parliament for the Radical Party.
UN: “Šešelj guilty of war crimes”
The UN court ruled that Serbian nationalist leader Vojislav Šešelj was guilty of war crimes during the 1990s conflicts, thereby altering the lower court’s ruling (see March 31, 2016). The supreme court sentenced Šešelj to crimes against humanity to ten years in prison – but he does not have to serve any additional time in detention since he had previously spent eleven years in custody.
State visit to Croatia
President Aleksandar Vučić visits his Croatian counterpart Kolinda Grabar Kitarovič in Zagreb at the start of a two-day summit. The visit had been planned during the autumn, but had to be postponed due to the country’s insomnia (see October 4, 2017). This is the first time since 2013 the heads of state in both countries meet. Dispute issues include disagreement over the border line along the Danube. The presidents now agree to resolve the dispute within two years or else request international arbitration. The border issue is a question that must be resolved if Serbia can move on to a future EU membership.