Most that could be achieved
by Janusz Bugajski
It would be good if emotional reactions are avoided in Montenegro. Instead, the Agreement should be viewed as positive and the pro-independence government should be maintained. Any weakening of the government, or its overthrow, would weaken the Montenegrin position vis-à-vis the European Union and Serbia.
While full independence is the only effective long-term solution for both quasi-states, in view of the intensive pressure from Brussels and the divided electorate within Montenegro the Agreement on a common state is probably the most that could be achieved at this moment. The Agreement promoted by EU security chief Javier Solana is merely an experiment. Many issues remain open, affecting the practical functioning of the common state: whether it will be dysfunctional and conflictual or whether it will allow enough space to embark upon reform and international integration...
...As a response to this unnecessary Agreement, public-opinion surveys carried out recently show that for the first time since the break-up of Titoist Yugoslavia support for Serbian independence has gone above 50%. The intriguing question arises: will Serbia proclaim its independence before Montenegro?
Janusz Bugajski, Director of the East European Department of the Centre for Strategic Research, Washington D.C. The final comments here are translated from Nacional (Zagreb), 26 March 2002.