Transatlantic and ‘Euro’ Options — Case Study Yugoslavia

  • Simon Duke
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


Yugoslavia enjoyed extensive links with the EC, dating back to a trade agreement with it in 1970. As a non-aligned state, Yugoslavia was in a relatively privileged position vis-à-vis its east European neighbours. Yet it was not until 1989 that Yugoslavia indicated that it wanted to build formal links with the EC by which time others, such as Hungary, were also making similar gestures. Although the Commission did respond in 1990 with a package of arrangements, including PHARE eligibility, further progress was blocked by Belgrade’s difficulties in meeting the EC’s standards and strictures, such as the need for open, multi-party federal elections organised in a democratic manner. Already by 1991, secessionist strains made the organisation of federal elections well nigh impossible. Under the Yugoslav constitution, the rotating Federal Presidency was due to be assumed by a Croat, Stipe Mesić. Jacques Delors offered, on behalf of the Community, substantial economic assistance in return for a peaceable dialogue on a solution to the brewing constitutional crisis. This was not only blocked by Slobodan Milošević and other Serb nationalists, but opposed by a majority of Croats who made transparent their wish to secede from the federation in a referendum held on 19 May 1991. This followed an earlier resolution, of 20 February 1991, by which Slovenia disassociated itself from Yugoslavia. The EC, almost against all odds and defying the referendum, continued to support the idea of a federation with a rotating presidency with a variety of infrastructure programmes and by expanding PHARE. Informally, the implicit message was that potential EC membership would be endangered by Croatian independence. However, the secessionist strains gradually became more pronounced. Croatia and Slovenia gave notice of their intention to declare themselves independent states, which they formally did on 25 June 1991.


Security Council Foreign Minister Contact Group Security Council Resolution European Security 
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Notes and References

  1. Quoted in David Buchan, Europe: The Strange Superpower (Brookfield: Dartmouth, 1993), p. 67.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Simon Duke 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Duke
    • 1
  1. 1.European Institute of Public AdministrationMaastrichtNetherlands

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