bosnia report
New Series No. 11/12 August - November 1999
 
Vojvodina and the FRY
by BETA news agency, 1 November 1999

BETA news agency, 1 November 1999

On 30 October, chairman of the Vojvodina coalition Dragan Veselinov supported the introduction of the German mark as a parallel currency in Montenegro, and advocated "economic independence" for Vojvodina. In a statement to the media, he said Montenegro has the right to become economically independent from Serbia, as well as "to fully secede" because everyone in his right mind wants to get away from the shameful rule of the Belgrade regime. Veselinov underlined that it was now "Vojvodina's turn to have its say: the economic independence of Vojvodina is essential for all citizens living there." He explained that "almost 80 per cent of Vojvodina's products is under the state's price control regime, and because of this we have to sell oil and wheat cheap, while we do not have enough money to buy our own bread and milk."

Reuters, 3 November 1999

A regional opposition leader said on Wednesday [3 November] he would ask Serbia's parliament next week to let the northern Vojvodina province hold a referendum on economic sovereignty. The announcement by Dragan Veselinov of the Vojvodina coalition came a day after the Westernüleaning Yugoslav republic of Montenegro moved towards greater economic independence from Belgrade by legalizing the German mark. Veselinov, whose coalition has three deputies in the 250-seat Serbian parliament and is also relatively small in the regional Vojvodina assembly, welcomed Montenegro's move, saying it would encourage Vojvodina's citizens. "Vojvodina must break away economically from the Belgrade regime", Veselinov told a news conference in Vojvodina's capital Novi Sad. "Economic sovereignty is Vojvodina's historic interest." It was unclear whether other opposition parties in the province would back the coalition's position. Any such request, however, appears highly unlikely to win much support in the Serbian parliament as it is dominated by the ruling coalition of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who removed Vojvodina's autonomy in 1989. The parliament holds its first session in more than three months in Belgrade on 9 November. Many Vojvodina residents have long felt that too much ofÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ the province's wealth is swallowed up by Belgrade. "We do not condemn the secessionist mood of Vojvodina's citizens as our fields, oil refineries and capital assets are being robbed on a daily basis", Veselinov said.

VIP Daily News Report, 4 November 1999

Veselinov said that the Montenegrin decision effectively meant the end of the Yugoslav federation. Secessionist aspirations in Serbia's northern province were on the rise and if there were no change in state policy they would eventually become legitimate.

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