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Constitutional Law / Droit constitutionnel 2008 Serbia / Serbie

2008 / Vol. 20, No. 4, (70)
Digital Edition

Constitutional Law / Droit constitutionnel

Serbia / Serbie

Violeta Beširević

Associate Professor at the Union University Law School, Belgrade

This chronicle is concerned with efforts to implement the right to provincial auton­omy in Serbia. It sheds light on the fact that unlike most European countries, Serbia has not yet recognized the growing importance of regionalism and value-based reasons for implementing decentralization. By using the particular example of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, the chronicle traces difficulties in the redis­tribution of State functions downward towards provincial authorities. It shows that putting political decentralization into effect is associated with mystification and rhetoric reforms rather than with substantial reforms aimed to give citizens or their elected representatives more power in public decision-making. The predomi­nant approach towards political decentralization still equalizes this process with ulti­mate territorial secession and promotion of an independent State rather than with its real aims of enabling democratization, promoting ethnic harmony, and elimi­­nating fears of territorial secession. The unusual constitutional status that autono­­mous provinces enjoyed in the former Yugoslavia, the country’s recent experience of territorial secession, the strong influence of those who favor a uni­tary State and, above all, the incomplete constitutional arrangement, are key rea­sons why endur­ing disagreement on the status of the autonomous provinces con­tinues. In the meantime, the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina is still left with­out its new Statute although the Constitution provides for differently.

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