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Issue No. 165. - March 13, 2000.
       By Slobodan Rackovic
       By Valeri Kalabugin
3. The Czech Republic: A LAW TO BE USED ONCE ONLY
       By Petruska Sustrova

By Slobodan Rackovic
Montenegro, the oldest state among South Slavs, found itself in the worst and most complicated situation of all ex-Yugoslav
republics; one hand Serbia is more and more brutally threatening to attack her with arms, and the international community is trying to dissuade Podgorica from the only way out - declaring independence.

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the unnatural rest of the great Tito's Yugoslavia, is kept clinically alive by the only institution left - Yugoslav army. Of course, in an artificial and forceful manner The only members of this federation made during war, on 27th April of 1992, Serbia and Montenegro are in a state of neither war nor peace, the border between them is shut tightly, finances and exchange of goods is completely blocked, customs divided. Also, the two countries use different currency - Montenegro is using German Mark, Serbia Yugoslav dinar): Cultural and sport cooperation have been downgraded to pure form and all
federal institutions ceased functioning long ago - except very active "Yugoslav" army. Its generals, blindly loyal to FRY president Slobodan Milosevic, have been mounting an unduringpressure on authorities in Podgorica during last several months. They are openly threatening that they will attack Montenegro if continues to distance itself from backward and autistic Belgrade regime, showing clear aspirations to proclaim independence.
Demonstrating open intention to influence political events in FRY and Montenegro, Yugoslav Army has been demonstrating brutal force in minor federation unit - recently the army has occupied all approaches to then-just opened Montenegrin-Albanian border, driven armed troop carriers, tanks and transport trucks carrying armed soldiers through streets of Podgorica and other cities, has occupied flight control at an international airport of Montenegrin capital... Milosevic's aggressive army, which has left not one Montenegrin in a general's position, is clearly tightening its grip on Montenegro just when more and more agile  Motenegrin diplomacy makes an economical or political success in the world. The day president of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic got German credit of 20 million German marks in Bonn, heavily armed special forces of the Yugoslav Army occupied flight control tower of Podgorica airport, maybe with the intent of arresting Djukanovic or at least preventing him from returning home! In the nick of time, top state officials decided to radio Montenegrin president to avoid airport in Podgorica, and that was what Djukanovic later did. Yugoslav army joined unmasked media attacks on Montenegro directed from Serbia by giving its powerful system of relay transmitters to leading political Serbian parties (Socialist party of Yugoslavia, Yugoslav United Left, Serbian Radical Party) and their radio and TV station. The whole republic of Montenegro is now covered by
signal of the station called "Yugoslav radio and television". It is, in truth, powerful weapon of militant Milosevic's regime. The
station, which is also covering parts of Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, is to have a logistic role before the planned
military aggression on Montenegro, in order to prepare local population for it with propaganda. The government of  Montenegro, the only institution which can approve broadcast of a program or not, took decisive steps against those intimidation from Belgrade, but is helpless to impose administrative orders because transmitters of the "Yugoslav television" (called here Mira's television because of Mira Markovic, Slobod an Milosevic's wife and head of united left in FRY) are located in military buildings. Removal of those transmitters would automatically mean armed conflict with the Yugoslav Army, which is unfavorable for Montenegro at this moment . Not only is the YA superior to Montenegrin police forces (although estimates say there are approx. 20 thousand well-armed and trained persons in the police), but also western forces dissuade Montenegro from challenging "wounded lion from Belgrade", and want to keep alive already clinically dead FR Yugoslavia.
It is exactly such decisive attitude taken by USA, EU and NATO, promoted by western politicians in every convenient moment
and during meetings with Montenegrin officials, that causes great incredulity in the country, and even displeasure among the people, who for the most part realized that the only good future of this small country lies in its independence and leaving Yugoslav ship that is sinking. Displeasure is the greater the more western institutions and capitals justify their withholding of extremely necessary financial aid for impoverished Montenegrin economy with the fact that Montenegro is not internationally recognized state, and is formally part of isolated FR Yugoslavia!? Nobody here can explain such a hypocrisy to the public, and improvised measures like the temporary financial support in the form of humanitarian aid cannot divert  Montenegrin public which has decided to make Montenegro an independent state. Statement of High UN representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Wolfgang Petritsch that "Montenegro should not be helped on its road to independence" was met with grave disappointment and condemnation in the country. Condemnation was bigger than usual since Petritsch has been giving
such statements often, and he hasn't done it while other republic were gaining their independence. That is why words of the
president of British parliamentary council for foreign policy Donald Anderson that only Montenegrin people can decide on their
own constitutional and political future were met with applause and as a remedy in Podgorica, where he said it few days ago. However, immediately afterwards, at the meeting with Milo Djukanovic in Sarajevo, Madeleine Albright disappointed the same public saying decisively that Montenegro belongs to FRY!
In such situation, when the international community is holding back Montenegro on its road to independence, and is at the same
time providing it a symbolic financial aid, for allegedly "institutional reasons" (already mentioned German credit could well prove to be a turning point), Montenegrins are faced with the abyss of hunger and poverty. On the other hand, Serbia has blocked
exports of all food and medicines to Montenegro, so there is a real threat of a social catastrophe. Alternative markets of
Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary and Spain are so expensive for Montenegro that people can only
wishfully look at the nicely packaged and wrapped meat, cheese, milk, oil and medicines in the shop windows.. If the situation is prolonged, there could be a change in political climate and eruption of social rebellion, a fact which might force the West to
use the same painful and expensive measures as, for example, in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. The fear that the world could also act post festum here, instead of taking preventive action, is very great and this warning is to be taken very seriously.

By Valeri Kalabugin
There is always a trouble with a coalition or a minority rule. The weaker a ruling coalition is, the more is it shaken by outside
factors.  The more desperate the struggle to keep solidarity among fractions, the harder is it to avoid dubious decisions aimed at
just keeping the coalition together.  Centre-right, democratic forces in post-socialist countries happen to be in a similar position. Sailing in the sea of red, pink, red-brown and reddish-yellow fragments of the sunken Soviet system and even having such fragments among themselves, the centre right sometimes make concessions to the 'have-beens'.
Long live monopoly
 Lately, the Estonian parliament passed a strange amendment to the Fishing Law, establishing a monopoly of three companies --
'Reiktal', 'Dagomar' and 'Permare' -- and virtually abolishing free competition in shrimp fishing.  All three companies are owned
by people who, in the Soviet period, were close to power and during the obscure period of transition in 1988-1992 managed to privatise fishing kolkhozes.
Not only did they obtain the fishing business and ships but were lucky in fighting back the attempts of independent newcomers
to break their monopoly.
The object of fighting is the fishing quotas.  Fish is a limited resource, so limits for fishing named 'quotas' are internationally established.  These are reviewed yearly on the basis of amount caught by each fishing country the previous year. This system is unkind to newcomers.  Inside the countries, however, the problem is usually solved in a more democratic way: fishing quotas, viewed as a national property, are divided so as to permit free competition and not to be usurped by a couple of monopolies. For example, in New Zealand not only the fishing industry but each Maori aboriginal, too, have equal opportunities to use the national quota.
In Eastern Europe, however, 'the winner gets all'.  First in the market, the three monopolists have pocketed, along with ships
and fisheries, the Estonia's quota for shrimp in the Atlantic Ocean. When newly founded companies applied in 1996 to the
Ministry of Environment for a share in shrimp fishing, an old-timer who was then the head of the Fishing Board gave them a
harsh rebuff.
If you have problems with your business, go to the parliament In 1999, the centre-right coalition (the Pro Patria Union, the
Moderates and the Reform Party) won the elections.  It seemed that things started changing.  The new Environment Minister Heiki Kranich said that all companies should have an equal right for a share of the national quota.
Inspired by these promises, new companies submitted applications.  One of them, 'E-Traal', signed a contract worth USD
56,8 million for eight ocean fishing ships. The monopolists became alarmed.  How to prevent new competitors from entering the market when their old friends, former directors and kolkhoz chairmen, are out of office and there are no legal means to refuse new applications? And they started lobbying in the parliament.
In December 1999, the following amendment to the Fishing Law was proposed in the Estonian parliament: 'If the fishing
opportunities are granted to a businessperson intending to start professional fishing, the opportunities of a businessperson
already performing professional fishing shall be reduced at the latter's written consent only'. Which means: if you want to run
your business, ask the big brother or a godfather for permission. The author of the amendment was Kalev Kotkas, MP for the Moderates and member of the Committee on Social Affairs.  His speciality is building; he has always been a builder. So why his interest in the fishing industry?
The secret is simple.  In the Soviet times, Kotkas held an office in the Ministry of Social Affairs.  Head of the building and supply department, he was actually half-subordinated to Minister of Construction Peeter Palu.  Today, Palu is the chairman
of a holding company that owns two of the fishing monopolists -- 'Dagomar' and 'Permare'.  Hence his former subordinate's interest in fishing quotas.
Coalition solidarity
The fishing companies who applied for quotas started bombarding the parliament, the Ministry of Environment, the Foreign Investment Agency and the President's office with protests. Nothing worked.  The scandalous amendment was approved. It
casts doubt on the existence of free market and competition in Estonia. It was approved without the Government's consent. The opinion of the governmental working group on fishing, in which the Union of Fishing Industry, the Fishermen's Union and scientists participate, was ignored.  The amendment contradicts constitutional provisions stating that all are equal before the
law and no one shall be discriminated, and that every citizen shall have the right to freely choose profession and job.
Except for two members of the Reform Party, all members of the ruling coalition voted for the amendment.  Were they moved by a genuine desire to perpetuate monopolism or by simple reasoning that the amendment was proposed by a member of the coalition?
When money speaks, the press keeps silence
Now the last point in the story.  I sent the article to the 'Luup', the most respectable political magazine in Estonia, hoping
to produce a public discussion.  This might stop the law at the last moment: to come into effect, the law had to be endorsed by
the Estonian President -- but he might as well reject it.

The editor promised to publish the article some days before the President takes his decision.  So I sent a copy to President
Lennart Meri.  I never hoped, though, that he would react directly.
The results were quite opposite.  I received a letter saying that the President considered the writing before taking his
decision (the law was signed).  The editor, on the contrary, failed to keep his word.  If he said no, I might publish it elsewhere; but he was silent until the 'deadline' was over and  only then rejected it.  Thus the article had only one reader -- Lennart Meri -- and at least he did react.  But how about a 'public discussion' when the press silences the issue? Looks like the Estonian media, too, is interested in monopolism in fishing quotas.

 The Czech Republic: A LAW TO BE USED ONCE ONLY
 By Petruska Sustrova
 On March 8, the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament passed a law, forbidding the export of all goods, offering
services, documentation or information, directly or intermediary, intended the construction of the Busehr nuclear power station in Iran. Sanctions for the possible violation of the law are severe: a penalty of up to 20 millions crowns (over half a million US
dollars), or five times the value of the goods or even the confiscation of the goods.
The bill of law and its adoption naturally have a concrete motive: the Czech firm ZVVZ Milevsko intended to supply the
nuclear power station in Busehr in Iran with compressed air equipment. It was major contract and the representatives of ZVVZ
slaim that if it is not carried out the firm will lose 500 millions crowns (about 14 million dollars). The fact is that several weeks ago representatives of the North Atlantic Alliance, especially Britain and the United States, voiced concern about the contract. That is why, with a view to the country´s international political interests, the government proposed a law which would
stop the delivery.
For the ZVVZ management this is an absurd situation: prior the negotiating the deal for the Busehr power station, an application
submitted to the pertinent ministry, requesting authorization of the contract. The ministry repplied that there qwas no embargo on this type commodity and, consequently there was no possibility for giving of consent or licence.

The debate of the law took place precisely during a visit by the us Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the US was onitoring developments in Iran closely and was interested in a joint government dialogue. But Teheran must not be permitted to acquired weapons of mass destruction and to back terrorist groups. The US Secretary of State, who originally comes from Bohemia a
came to thit country to attend the 150th anniversary of the birth of the founder and first President of pre-war Czechoslovakia, T. G. Masaryk, welcomed the law, now under preparation.
The debate of the law by the deputies was most interesting:many declared that the law would indirectly interfere with the
commercial laws of a private company, in other words, with private property. ZVVZ Milevsko which in the past had sold power station wquipments for incinerating plants or boiler houses to the Soviet Union and East bloc countries, had been privatized a very long time ago. Consequently, the demand was voiced in Parliament on several occasions that the government should offer compensation in one way or another to private firms (not only ZVVZ but also to others which were to act as sub-contractors for the deal) to make up for their lost earnings.
Although these demands were not accepted, the government nevertheless considers the possibility of offering a governmnent
tender to firms which have been damaged by the law. ZVVZ is among the not very large number of Czech firms with a large number of employees who do not have to grapple with economic problems, regularly pay their staff and pay taxes as well as other mandatory levies to the state.
Considerations concenrning financial compensations to be paid to ZVVZ Milevsko have somewhat scandalous ramifications. Roughly two weeks before the government proposal of the law in question reached Parliament, the former Premier Vaclav Klaus, Speaker of Parliament and chairman of the Civic Democratic Party, came out in defence of the interest of ZVVZ Milevsko. He declared: "If there is anything that is being done in the public interest, then this public interest must pay onehundred percent compensation to this private company."
Klaus's statement was sharply criticised by the press which pointed out that Klaus's wife, Livia, has for several years been
the Vice-Chairman of the ZVVZ Milevsko Board of Supervisors. And since the so-called German model is applied in the firm, where company is run by a Boerd of Supervisors, the wife o Vaclav Klaus is, so to speak, the "number two in the firm. A fiasco of ZVVZ in Iran and huge losses would certainly affect her severely as she is virtually the top manager of the company, and this, to say the least, would be especially when it came to paying out bonuses. It, therefore, appears that "in the case of Busehr Klaus is far more worried about the revenue to the family coffers than about principles of a liberal economy and elementary justice. It is evident that even for an admirer of Milton Friedman, Margaret Thatcher and Friedrich August von Hayek, financial charity begins at home rather than ideology," Petr Fischer wrote in Lidove noviny.
Fischer, like other commentators, pointed out that Klaus's wife Livia was and still is a member of many other Boards of
Supervisors of state owned or semi-state owned firms (for example, the monpoly CEZ electricity company, or one of Czech Savings Banks where the majority od Czeh citizens keep their savings).
The Speaker of the Lower House of the Czech Parliament reacted to this critical accusation in a rather strange manner in one of
the television newscasts: he said that a journalist who writes such things deserves a slap in the face.