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A short history of "Solania"

Montenegro's Milo Djukanovic and Serbia's Kostunica looking glum - Copyright by Vijesti
Montenegro's Milo Djukanovic and Serbia's
Kostunica looking glum

The fall of Milosevic did not solve the problems of the dysfunctional Yugoslav federation. Federal president Vojislav Kostunica, Montenegrin president Milo Djukanovic and Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic concluded on 26 October 2001 that the positions of Belgrade and Podgorica were irreconcilable. "We have tried today to bring our two positions closer, and we concluded that this is not possible", Kostunica announced, adding that "the Montenegrin public should vote on the issue in a referendum".

Montenegro's population, however, remained divided over this issue, as did the international community. The European Union's High Representative Javier Solana embarked on intensive shuttle diplomacy to get an agreement for a continued joint state. Under EU pressure Serbia and Montenegro agreed in spring 2002 to establish a loose "state union". Montenegro would not call a referendum on independence for three years.

"Solania", as the state-union soon came to be called, never really worked. It took a year to agree on a "constitutional charter" which was then not implemented. Disagreements on fiscal issues, on joint customs tariffs and on the future of the army were never resolved.

The end of the state union was farce, not tragedy: a quarrel on the selection of the representative to the Eurovision song contest in 2006 on the eve of Montenegro's referendum led to the disqualification of Serbia-Montenegro. The last football game of Serbia-Montenegro in the 2006 World Cup in Germany brought a 0:6 defeat against Argentina.

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