Yugoslavia: Serbia and Montenegro (2003–6)

Serbia and Montenegro (2003–6)

By 2002 Montenegro's drive for greater autonomy had developed into a push for independence, and a referendum on the issue was planned. In Mar., 2002, however, Serbian and Montenegrin representatives, under pressure from the European Union and other nations opposed to immediate Montenegrin independence (fearing that it could lead to further disintegration and fighting), agreed on a restructured federal union, and a constitutional charter for a “state community” was adopted by the Serbian, Montenegrin, and federal parliaments by Feb., 2003. Following the federal parliament's approval of the charter, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was reconstituted as Serbia and Montenegro.

Most governmental power shifted to the two republics, as the union became a weak federal republic. Although the two republics shared a common foreign and defense policy, they had separate currencies and customs regulations, and after three years either republic could vote to leave the union. Svetozar Marović, of Montenegro, was elected president of the union in March, and was its only president.

Despite the increased autonomy accorded Montenegro, Montenegrin leaders generally avoided any moves that would be supportive of the union and continued to call for Montenegro's independence. In May, 2006, after three years had passed, Montenegrin voters approved independence in a referendum, and Montenegro declared its independence on June 3. The government of Serbia and Montenegro then dissolved itself and, on June 5, Serbia declared itself a sovereign state and the political heir to the union. Serbia's proclamation brought to an end the prolonged dissolution of Yugoslavia into the constituent republics that had been established by Tito following World War II.

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