Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rollercoaster – are we getting close to the top?

Living in Serbia does remind me of rollercoaster ride. If you feel you are going up be certain that you are heading for hair-raising drop at some point of time.
This time occasion is Serbian presidential elections. Runoff between Boris Tadić and Tomislav Nikolić will be held on 3rd Feb 2008.

Most likely outcome is:

Irrespectively of the election result, it appears that Serbia is turning away from accession to EU. This change will be more dramatic if Radical Tomislav Nikolić is elected for president. Kosovo Declaration of independence will follow elections shortly. Serbian government will activate agreed secret plan that has been prepared for this occasion (from diplomatic and legal activity, to sending troops to Serbian held parts of Kosovo). Most of the EU countries will recognize Kosovo independence. Serbian prime minister will insist on steps that will be too much for Tadić’s Democratic Party .
What happened in last 7 years is that Serbia become much more dependent on investment and funding from outside. Exchange rate will be the first indicator to watch. Central bank will intervene with foreign reserves but it would be difficult to offset annual investment and loans flow of 3.5 bn USD that pushed demand for local currency. Interest rates will follow and this will lead to higher borrower delinquency. New investments will be first temporarily then indefinitely put on hold.

With Radical president and government Serbia will become EU pariah once again. In times of conflict with outside enemy rulers tend to get even more support so the Radicals might get another turn. Milošević managed 11 years in office.

So it could be year 2018. All Serbia’s neighbors are in EU and NATO. Hundreds of thousands left Serbia for greener pastures.

Friend of mine suggested that history accelerates. This could compress the Kosovo crisis in couple of years perhaps?

I don’t think I want to give it another go if Radicals run government in Serbia. In my case this will be a trigger to apply for Canadian permanent residence. We are expecting 3rd and it makes sense to spend here few more years but, as it looks at the moment , this might not be an end of the jouney…