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19 February 2012 / ree-Akademediasrbija

When Yugoslavia fragmented two decades ago, its property was distributed among six newly-formed states. The 2001 Succession Agreement defined the distribution method, which was most effectively realized when diplomatic offices were concerned, but was difficult when it came to citizens’ and company assets.

A real solution to that issue can be expected only within a new joint framework, i.e. when all the ex-Yugoslav republics become EU member-states. More in the INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC REVIEW, prepared by Biljana Blanuša.

When the Succession Agreement was signed in Vienna in 2001, each of the states that were created through the disintegration of former Yugoslavia got its own piece of the cake. The distribution employed the model used by the IMF for the distribution of Yugoslav debts. On the basis of that model, Serbia and Montenegro, the member-states of the then FR Yugoslavia, were granted 36.5% of the property, Croatia was granted 28.5%, Slovenia 16.4%, Bosnia and Herzegovina 13.2% and Macedonia 5.4%. However, the agreement has been only partly realized to date and the process was intensified only last year, when 44 diplomatic edifices were distributed, while another 79 are still waiting to be distributed. Some of the buildings, namely those in Africa and Latin America, will go on sale as no country is interested in them, which is to improve state budgets. Serbia can expect tens of million euros on that basis.

In the process of distribution of diplomatic offices, Serbia has obtained some twenty buildings so far, seven of which are embassies and six residences, some of which are located in very important centres, such as Berlin, London, Athens, Rome, Budapest or Ankara, and also consular offices in Thessaloniki and Sydney, a building in Washington, DC and a house and apartments in Ancara and Trieste. Two valuable pieces of real estate are to be finally sold this year – an apartment in New York, the value of which is estimated at 20 million USD and the embassy building in Bonn, estimated at some 2.5 million EUR. Serbia is to receive a significant amount of the proceeds bearing in mind its share in the total assets.

Former Yugoslavia also had foreign currency funds abroad, which have been distributed to the successor-states twice so far. An amount of 237 million dollars from US banks was distributed in 2003 and Serbia and Montenegro obtained 90 million. Two years later, foreign currency funds from banks in other countries were distributed as well, Serbia and Montenegro receiving 84 million dollars of the total amount of 221 million..

The major problem seems to be the assets of companies, which, due to the traumatic fragmentation of Yugoslavia, have been often prone to various types of misuse and embezzlement. Many companies, having lost valuable property, sustained immense damage and no financial indemnification was feasible because of the complicated relations among the newly-formed states. The entire process has been additionally complicated with privatization, as a considerable part of the assets has obtained new owners, so numerous lengthy court procedures are under way. However, the situation is not the same everywhere. For instance, the well-known furniture manufacturer „Simpo“ of Vranje, in the south of Serbia, has succeeded in recovering its property in Macedonia, where they are now operating successfully, while the same company is having difficulty recovering their 100 million euros’ worth facilities in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.


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