Europe :: Serbia

Introduction ::Serbia

    The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was formed in 1918; its name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929. Various paramilitary bands resisted Nazi Germany's occupation and division of Yugoslavia from 1941 to 1945, but fought each other and ethnic opponents as much as the invaders. The military and political movement headed by Josip "TITO" Broz (Partisans) took full control of Yugoslavia when German and Croatian separatist forces were defeated in 1945. Although communist, TITO's new government and his successors (he died in 1980) managed to steer their own path between the Warsaw Pact nations and the West for the next four and a half decades. In 1989, Slobodan MILOSEVIC became president of the Republic of Serbia and his ultranationalist calls for Serbian domination led to the violent breakup of Yugoslavia along ethnic lines. In 1991, Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia declared independence, followed by Bosnia in 1992. The remaining republics of Serbia and Montenegro declared a new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in April 1992 and under MILOSEVIC's leadership, Serbia led various military campaigns to unite ethnic Serbs in neighboring republics into a "Greater Serbia." These actions were ultimately unsuccessful and led to the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995. MILOSEVIC retained control over Serbia and eventually became president of the FRY in 1997. In 1998, an ethnic Albanian insurgency in the formerly autonomous Serbian province of Kosovo provoked a Serbian counterinsurgency campaign that resulted in massacres and massive expulsions of ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo. The MILOSEVIC government's rejection of a proposed international settlement led to NATO's bombing of Serbia in the spring of 1999, to the withdrawal of Serbian military and police forces from Kosovo in June 1999, and to the stationing of a NATO-led force in Kosovo to provide a safe and secure environment for the region's ethnic communities. FRY elections in late 2000 led to the ouster of MILOSEVIC and the installation of democratic government. In 2003, the FRY became Serbia and Montenegro, a loose federation of the two republics. Widespread violence predominantly targeting ethnic Serbs in Kosovo in March 2004 caused the international community to open negotiations on the future status of Kosovo in January 2006. In June 2006, Montenegro seceded from the federation and declared itself an independent nation. Serbia subsequently gave notice that it was the successor state to the union of Serbia and Montenegro. In February 2008, after nearly two years of inconclusive negotiations, the UN-administered province of Kosovo declared itself independent of Serbia - an action Serbia refuses to recognize. At Serbia's request, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in October 2008 sought an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on whether Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence was in accordance with international law. In a ruling considered unfavorable to Serbia, the ICJ issued an advisory opinion in July 2010 stating that international law did not prohibit declarations of independence. In late 2010, Serbia agreed to an EU-drafted UNGA Resolution acknowledging the ICJ's decision and calling for a new round of talks between Serbia and Kosovo, this time on practical issues rather than Kosovo's status. The EU-moderated Belgrade-Pristina dialogue began in March 2011 and was raised to the level of prime ministers in October 2012.

Geography ::Serbia

    Southeastern Europe, between Macedonia and Hungary
    44 00 N, 21 00 E
    total: 77,474 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 117
    land: 77,474 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    slightly smaller than South Carolina
    total: 2,026 km
    border countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina 302 km, Bulgaria 318 km, Croatia 241 km, Hungary 151 km, Kosovo 352 km, Macedonia 62 km, Montenegro 124 km, Romania 476 km
    0 km (landlocked)
    none (landlocked)
    in the north, continental climate (cold winters and hot, humid summers with well-distributed rainfall); in other parts, continental and Mediterranean climate (relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, dry summers and autumns)
    extremely varied; to the north, rich fertile plains; to the east, limestone ranges and basins; to the southeast, ancient mountains and hills
    lowest point: Danube and Timok Rivers 35 m
    highest point: Midzor 2,169 m
    oil, gas, coal, iron ore, copper, zinc, antimony, chromite, gold, silver, magnesium, pyrite, limestone, marble, salt, arable land
    arable land: 37.28%
    permanent crops: 3.41%
    other: 59.31% (2011)
    919.6 sq km (2011)
    162.2 cu km (note - includes Kosovo) (2011)
    destructive earthquakes
    air pollution around Belgrade and other industrial cities; water pollution from industrial wastes dumped into the Sava which flows into the Danube
    party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    controls one of the major land routes from Western Europe to Turkey and the Near East

People and Society ::Serbia

Government ::Serbia

    conventional long form: Republic of Serbia
    conventional short form: Serbia
    local long form: Republika Srbija
    local short form: Srbija
    former: People's Republic of Serbia, Socialist Republic of Serbia
    name: Belgrade (Beograd)
    geographic coordinates: 44 50 N, 20 30 E
    time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    122 municipalities (opstine, singular - opstina) and 23 cities (gradovi, singular - grad)
    municipalities: Ada, Aleksandrovac, Aleksinac, Alibunar, Apatin, Arandelovac, Arilje, Babusnica, Bac, Backa Palanka, Backa Topola, Backi Petrovac, Bajina Basta, Batocina, Becej, Bela Crkva, Bela Palanka, Beocin, Blace, Bogatic, Bojnik, Boljevac, Bor, Bosilegrad, Brus, Bujanovac, Cajetina, Cicevac, Coka, Crna Trava, Cuprija, Despotovac, Dimitrov, Doljevac, Gadzin Han, Golubac, Gornji Milanovac, Indija, Irig, Ivanjica, Kanjiza, Kikinda, Kladovo, Knic, Knjazevac, Koceljeva, Kosjeric, Kovacica, Kovin, Krupanj, Kucevo, Kula, Kursumlija, Lajkovac, Lapovo, Lebane, Ljig, Ljubovija, Lucani, Majdanpek, Mali Idos, Mali Zvornik, Malo Crnice, Medveda, Merosina, Mionica, Negotin, Nova Crnja, Nova Varos, Novi Becej, Novi Knezevac, Odzaci, Opovo, Osecina, Paracin, Pecinci, Petrovac na Mlavi, Pirot, Plandiste, Pozega, Presevo, Priboj, Prijepolje, Prokuplje, Raca, Raska, Razanj, Rekovac, Ruma, Secanj, Senta, Sid, Sjenica, Smederevska Palanka, Sokobanja, Srbobran, Sremski Karlovci, Stara Pazova, Surdulica, Svilajnac, Svrljig, Temerin, Titel, Topola, Trgoviste, Trstenik, Tutin, Ub, Varvarin, Velika Plana, Veliko Gradiste, Vladicin Han, Vladimirci, Vlasotince, Vrbas, Vrnjacka Banja, Vrsac, Zabalj, Zabari, Zagubica, Zitiste, Zitorada
    cities: Beograd, Cacak, Jagodina, Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Krusevac, Leskovac, Loznica, Nis, Novi Pazar, Novi Sad, Pancevo, Pozarevac, Sabac, Smederevo, Sombor, Sremska Mitrovica, Subotica, Uzice, Vajevo, Vranje, Zajecar, Zrenjanin
    5 June 2006 (from Serbia and Montenegro)
    National Day, 15 February
    adopted 8 November 2006; effective 10 November 2006
    civil law system
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age, 16 if employed; universal
    chief of state: President Tomislav NIKOLIC (since 31 May 2012)
    head of government: Prime Minister Ivica DACIC (since 23 July 2012)
    cabinet: Republican Ministries act as cabinet
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by direct vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 20 May 2012 (next to be held in 2017); prime minister elected by the National Assembly
    election results: Tomislav NIKOLIC elected president in runoff election; NIKOLIC 51.2% of the vote, Boris TADIC 48.8% of the vote
    unicameral National Assembly (250 seats; deputies elected according to party lists to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held on 6 May 2012 (next to be held by May 2016)
    election results: percent of vote by party - Let's Get Serbia Moving 24.04%, Choice for a Better Life 22.11%, SPS/PUPS/JS 14.53%, DSS 7.00%, Turnover 6.52%, United Regions of Serbia 5.49%, Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians 1.77%, other 18.54%; seats by party - Let's Get Serbia Moving 73, Choice for a Better Life 67, SPS/PUPS/JS 44, DSS 21, Turnover 19, United Regions of Serbia 16, Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians 5, other 5
    note: May 2013 composition by parliamentary groups - SNS 65, DS 45, SPS 25, DSS 21, United Regions of Serbia 16, LDP 13, PUPS 12, SDPS 9, Independent MPs 8, NS 8, JS 7, Together for Serbia Parliamentary Group 6, SVM 5, LSV 5, SPO 5
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Cassation (consists of more than 60 judges organized into 3- and 5-member panels for criminal, civil, and administrative cases); Constitutional Court (consists of 15 judges)
    note - in 2003, specialized panels on war crimes were established within the Serbian court system; the panels have jurisdiction over alleged violations of the Basic Criminal Code and crimes against humanity, international law, and criminal acts as defined by the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court justices proposed by the High Judicial Council (HJC), an 11-member body of which 7 are judges, and elected by the National Assembly; Constitutional Court judges appointed - 5 each by the National Assembly, the president, and the Supreme Court of Cassation; judges of both courts appointed to permanent tenure by the HJC
    subordinate courts: appellate courts, higher courts, and municipal and district courts; courts of special jurisdiction include the Administrative Court, Appellate Commercial Court, and two levels of misdemeanor courts
    Albanian Coalition of Presevo Valley [Riza HALIMI]
    Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians or SVM [Istvan PASZTOR]
    Bosniak Democratic Union or BDZ [Elmir ELFIC]
    Choice for a Better Life [Boris TADIC] (includes Democratic Party of DS [Dragan DJILAS], Social Democratic Party of Serbia or SDPS [Rasim LJAJIC], League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina or LSV [Nenad CANAK], Greens of Serbia or ZS [Ivan KARIC], Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina or DSHV [Petar KUNTIC], and Christian Democratic Party of Serbia or DHSS [Olgica BATIC])
    Democratic Party of Serbia or DSS [Vojislav KOSTUNICA]
    Let's Get Serbia Moving [Tomislav NIKOLIC] (includes Serbian Progressive Party or SNS [Aleksandar VUCIC], New Serbia or NS [Velimir ILIC], Movement of Socialists [Aleksandar VULIN], Strength of Serbia Movement or PSS [Bogoljub KARIC], Association of Small and Medium Businesses and Entrepreneurs of Serbia, Coalition of Refugee Associations in Serbia, Bosniak People's Party [Mujo MUKOVIC], Democratic Party of Macedonians [Mile SPIROVSKI], Roma Party [Srdan SAJN], Movement of Vlach Unity, and Economic Renewal of Serbia)
    None of the Offered Options or NOPO [Nikola TULIMIROVIC]
    Party of Democratic Action of the Sandzak or SDA [Sulejman UGLJANIN]
    Party of United Pensioners of Serbia or PUPS [Jovan KRKOBABIC]
    Socialist Party of Serbia or SPS [Ivica DACIC]
    Together for Serbia Parliamentary Group
    Turnover [Cedomir JOVANOVIC] (includes Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Cedomir JOVANOVIC], Serbian Renewal Movement or SPO [Vuk DRASKOVIC], Social Democratic Union or SDU [Zarko KORAC], Rich Serbia [Zaharije TRNAVCEVIC], Vojvodina's Party [Igor KURJACKI], Democratic Party of Sandzak, Green Ecological Party [Mithat NOKIC], and Party of Bulgarians of Serbia)
    United Regions of Serbia [Mladan DINKIC]
    United Serbia or JS [Dragan "Palma" MARKOVIC]
    1389 (Serbian nationalist movement)
    Dveri - Movement for the Life of Serbia
    Obraz (Orthodox clero-fascist organization)
    SNP NASI (Serbian National Movement NASI)
    BIS, BSEC, CD, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, EU (candidate country), FAO, G-9, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM (observer), OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, SELEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
    chief of mission: Ambassador Vladimir PETROVIC
    chancery: 2134 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 332-0333
    FAX: [1] (202) 332-3933
    consulate(s) general: Chicago, New York
    chief of mission: Ambassador Michael KIRBY
    embassy: Kneza Milosa 50, 11000 Belgrade, PAK 112807
    mailing address: 5070 Belgrade Place, Washington, DC 20521-5070
    telephone: [381] (11) 361-9344
    FAX: [381] (11) 361-8230
    three equal horizontal stripes of red (top), blue, and white - the Pan-Slav colors representing freedom and revolutionary ideals; charged with the coat of arms of Serbia shifted slightly to the hoist side; the principal field of the coat of arms represents the Serbian state and displays a white two-headed eagle on a red shield; a smaller red shield on the eagle represents the Serbian nation, and is divided into four quarters by a white cross; interpretations vary as to the meaning and origin of the white, curved symbols resembling firesteels or Cyrillic "C's" in each quarter; a royal crown surmounts the coat of arms
    note: the Pan-Slav colors were inspired by the 19th-century flag of Russia
    double-headed eagle
    name: "Boze pravde" (God of Justice)

    lyrics/music: Jovan DORDEVIC/Davorin JENKO
    note: adopted 1904; the song was originally written as part of a play in 1872 and has been used as an anthem by the Serbian people throughout the 20th and 21st centuries

Economy ::Serbia

    Serbia has a transitional economy mostly dominated by market forces, but the state sector remains large and many institutional reforms are needed. The economy relies on manufacturing and exports, driven largely by foreign investment. MILOSEVIC-era mismanagement of the economy, an extended period of international economic sanctions, civil war, and the damage to Yugoslavia's infrastructure and industry during the NATO airstrikes in 1999 left the economy only half the size it was in 1990. After the ousting of former Federal Yugoslav President MILOSEVIC in September 2000, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) coalition government implemented stabilization measures and embarked on a market reform program. After renewing its membership in the IMF in December 2000, Serbia continued to reintegrate into the international community by rejoining the World Bank (IBRD) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Serbia has made progress in trade liberalization and enterprise restructuring and privatization, but many large enterprises - including the power utilities, telecommunications company, natural gas company, national air carrier, and others - remain in state hands. Serbia has made some progress towards EU membership, signing a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Brussels in May 2008, and with full implementation of the Interim Trade Agreement with the EU in February 2010, gained candidate status in March 2012. Serbia's negotiations with the World Trade Organization are advanced, with the country's complete ban on the trade and cultivation of agricultural biotechnology products representing the primary remaining obstacle to accession. Serbia's program with the IMF was frozen in early 2012 because the 2012 budget approved by parliament deviated from the program parameters; the arrangement is now void. High unemployment and stagnant household incomes are ongoing political and economic problems. Structural economic reforms needed to ensure the country's long-term prosperity have largely stalled since the onset of the global financial crisis. The economy slipped by an estimated 2.0% in 2012, following growth of 1.6% in 2011, 1.0% in 2010, and a 3.5% contraction in 2009. Growing deficits constrain the use of stimulus efforts to revive the economy and contribute to growing concern of a public debt crisis, given that Serbia's total public debt as a share of GDP doubled between 2008 and 2012, reaching 61.5% of GDP at the end of 2012. Further, Serbia's concerns about inflation and exchange rate stability preclude the use of expansionary monetary policy. Serbia adopted a new long-term economic growth plan in 2010 that calls for a quadrupling of exports over ten years and heavy investments in basic infrastructure. In 2012, however, exports fell by 3.6% compared to 2011, largely as a result of the halt in production at the former US Steel plant and a summer drought that slashed agricultural production. Major challenges ahead include: high unemployment rates and the need for job creation; high government expenditures for salaries, pensions, and unemployment benefits; a growing need for new government borrowing; rising public and private foreign debt; attracting new foreign direct investment; and getting the IMF program back on track. Other serious challenges include an inefficient judicial system, high levels of corruption, and an aging population. Factors favorable to Serbia's economic growth include a strategic location, a relatively inexpensive and skilled labor force, and free trade agreements with the EU, Russia, Turkey, and countries that are members of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA).
    $80.02 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    $81.45 billion (2011 est.)
    $80.16 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $37.4 billion (2012 est.)
    -1.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 207
    1.6% (2011 est.)
    1% (2010 est.)
    $10,600 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    $10,800 (2011 est.)
    $10,700 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    household consumption: 79.3%
    government consumption: 20.2%
    investment in fixed capital: 17.3%
    investment in inventories: 0.7%
    exports of goods and services: 43.2%
    imports of goods and services: -60.8%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 7.6%
    industry: 31.7%
    services: 60.7% (2012 est.)
    wheat, maize, sugar beets, sunflower, raspberries; beef, pork, milk
    base metals, furniture, food processing, machinery, chemicals, sugar, tires, clothes, pharmaceuticals
    -2.9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    3.17 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    agriculture: 21.9%
    industry: 19.5%
    services: 58.6% (2010)
    25.9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    23.7% (2011 est.)
    9.2% (2010 est.)
    28.2 (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    30 (2003)
    revenues: $15.54 billion
    expenditures: $18.41 billion
    note: this is the consolidated budget, including both central government and local goverment budgets (2012 est.)
    41.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    -7.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    59.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    48.7% of GDP (2011 est.)
    note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued or owned by government entities other than the treasury (for which the GOS issued guarantees); the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities (for which the GOS issued guarantees), as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment, debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions
    7.3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    11.2% (2011 est.)
    11.75% (6 February 2013)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    9.5% (January 2012)
    17.4% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    17.2% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $5.79 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    $5.783 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $19.78 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    $18.55 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $21.55 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    $21.43 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $9.54 billion (13 February 2013)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    $8.365 billion (31 December 2011)
    $9.69 billion (31 December 2010)
    -$3.895 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    -$4.122 billion (2011 est.)
    $11.33 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    $11.78 billion (2011 est.)
    iron and steel, rubber, clothes, wheat, fruit and vegetables, nonferrous metals, electric appliances, metal products, weapons and ammunition, automobiles
    $18.35 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    $19.18 billion (2011 est.)
    $14.13 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    $15.6 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $33.69 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    $31.57 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $24.67 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    $11.95 billion (2006 est.)
    Serbian dinars (RSD) per US dollar -
    87.992 (2012 est.)
    73.104 (2011 est.)
    77.729 (2010 est.)
    67.634 (2009)
    62.9 (2008)

Energy ::Serbia

Communications ::Serbia

    3.03 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    10.182 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    general assessment: replacements of, and upgrades to, telecommunications equipment damaged during the 1999 war has resulted in a modern digitalized telecommunications system
    domestic: wireless service, available through multiple providers with national coverage, is growing very rapidly; best telecommunications services are centered in urban centers; 3G mobile network launched in 2007
    international: country code - 381 (2011)
    1.102 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    4.107 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 57

Transportation ::Serbia

Military ::Serbia

Transnational Issues ::Serbia

    Serbia with several other states protest the US and other states' recognition of Kosovo's declaration of its status as a sovereign and independent state in February 2008; ethnic Serbian municipalities along Kosovo's northern border challenge final status of Kosovo-Serbia boundary; several thousand NATO-led Kosovo Force peacekeepers under United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo authority continue to keep the peace within Kosovo between the ethnic Albanian majority and the Serb minority in Kosovo; Serbia delimited about half of the boundary with Bosnia and Herzegovina, but sections along the Drina River remain in dispute
    refugees (country of origin): 49,931 (Croatia); 16,418 (Bosnia and Herzegovina) (2012)
    IDPs: 228,215 (most are Kosovar Serbs some are Roma, Ashkalis, and Egyptian (RAE); some RAE IDPs are unregistered) (2011)
    stateless persons: 8,500 (includes stateless persons in Kosovo) (2012)
    transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin moving to Western Europe on the Balkan route; economy vulnerable to money laundering