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A parting of the ways?

Peter van Dyk | 15:07 UK time, Friday, 19 May 2006

On Sunday, Montenegrins vote in a referendum on whether to secede from the union of Serbia and Montenegro. There have been rallies in the capital, Podgorica, in support of secession but the vote threatens to be close.

We'll be asking Montenegrins how they'll be voting. But what do you think they should do?

In the 1990's the former Yugoslavia was torn apart by fighting, as different ethnic groups sought independence and territory from one another. Since then, it has remained fragmented into several smaller states, enclaves and loose federations. Kosovo and Montenegro want to secede from Serbia & Montenegro, while Bosnia is split into two. All, however, are seeking to join the EU.

But are these splits viable? Can these smaller states survive economically or politically? None of them would be ethnically pure, which would leave minority groups in each. Given the long history of the Balkans, isn't this just asking for trouble at a future date?

Last month Gyula Hegyi, who is a member of the European Parliament suggested that membership to the EU should be dependent on these countries learning to get along with one another. That means Serbia and Montenegro should NOT split, and should learn to work together instead.

But Gordana Djurovic from the Montenegrin government, and a supporter of the campaign for an independent state of Montenegro was furious. She says that Montenegro has a right to decide its own fate and the EU should respect that. Breaking away from Serbia does not mean that they will not be good neighbours.

We have both Gyula and Gordana on the programme tonight. We also will be speaking to people in Serbia and people in Montenegro to hear what they think. If you want to join is the conversation, please call, text or use the post form below.


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