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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 18:12 GMT 19:12 UK
Montenegro independence: Readers react
Montenegro has voted for independence from its union with Serbia.

Two Montenegrin voters and two Serbians gave their reaction to the BBC News website and look ahead to the challenges facing both countries in the wake of the result.

DEJAN KNEZEVIC, 26, ECONOMICS GRADUATE, NIKSIC, MONTENEGRO

Dejan Knezewic
It's very difficult for me to accept this result. I voted against independence and really didn't expect to lose.

But the people of Montenegro have voted and we will have to accept this defeat.

It was the Muslim, Albanian and Croat minorities who voted for independence.

The Orthodox Serbs - of which I am one - who make up one-third of the population will find it hard to accept this defeat.

Things will get worse for Montenegro now, I believe.

The best choice was to remain part of a strong union with Serbia. Montenegro is too small to survive alone.

It won't be better for ordinary people. It will only get worse
This win will only benefit the ruling government who, I think, will try and create a private state that only serves the interest of themselves and their tycoon friends.

They don't want to form a democratic independent state.

I will now try and leave Montenegro and move to Belgrade. There will be no more opportunities for Serbs here.

Corruption is high in this country, as is crime. The salaries are some of the lowest in Europe, yet there are the select few at the top who have all the money.

I also don't think our prime minister really wants EU membership for his people.

He only wants to serve his own interests and those of his rich friends.

I'm really disappointed because Serbia was a great country, but this is just another occasion when it is on the losing side.

DUSKO PETROVIC, 40, MANAGER , IT COMPANY, PODGORICA, MONTENEGRO

Dusko Petrovic
This result finally confirms what we expected - that the people of Montenegro want an independent state.

It is better for us to be separated from Serbia. It is particularly beneficial to our economy and good for small businesses.

It will be better for us coming from a smaller market, particularly when we join the EU, which I now expect will happen in the next few years.

We have two very different economies in Serbia and Montenegro.

We use the euro in Montenegro whereas Serbia still use the Dinar. With the euro has come monetary stability.

I believe Serbia and Montenegro will have better relations as independent states.

After suffering in the past with division, instability, and Nato bombings, it is now time for us - like many in this region - to move on
It has been hard to make things work as one federal state. We always had to wait much longer for crucial decisions from Belgrade.

Now we can make our own decisions much quicker and in our own interest.

We need to look to the future now and promote tourism in Montenegro and persuade our young people to stay.

I am not fully happy that the vote was so close and that so many people still think differently.

However, after suffering in the past with division, instability, and Nato bombings, it is now time for us - like many in this region - to move on.

ZELJKO KOSTIC, 28, ARMY SERGEANT, BELGRADE, SERBIA

Zeljko Kostic
We are all Serbs and it is foolish for the people of one nation to live in two separate bordering countries.

We are destroying ourselves. It's really bad that we keep separating from each other. Kosovo will probably be next.

The world is watching and they must think we are a bunch of loonies.

Both governments should have sat down together in Belgrade and worked out a better solution than this.

Then again both governments are corrupt.

Montenegro is already one of the poorest countries in Europe but now I think it will get even poorer
It really hurts to live here. People are really disappointed the Serbian government has not done anything to improve our lives. There is no real sense of democracy.

As for what will happen in Montenegro after independence, I can only see a difficult situation for the people living there.

The Albanians, I think, will seek control of their own areas.

There is already a big division between northern and southern Montenegro and I see this getting worse.

The people in the north need Serb support and they will find it hard to survive without it.

Independence will definitely hurt the people of Montenegro more that Serbia.

Montenegro is already one of the poorest countries in Europe but now I think it will get even poorer.

They have turned their backs on us now, so we won't be going there on holidays, which will hurt their crucial tourism industry.

Also this has hurt our chances of EU membership. We had a better chance when we were together.

JANJA BOBIC, 36, WEB DESIGNER, BELGRADE, SERBIA

Janja Bobic
The people of Montenegro have made the right decision.

It was only a matter of time until this happened.

Montenegro was already independent in many ways.

This just confirms their independence.

The 'federation' of Serbia and Montenegro functioned only in the hearts and minds of nostalgic people in this country.

In reality, the two countries only had loose ties.

Kosovo's independence will also surely follow by the end of the year
At least our government will not now have to be obligated to support two governments and two populations.

Independence will give the people of Montenegro more opportunities as well, like paving the way to their own EU membership.

Kosovo's independence will also surely follow by the end of the year.

If only the division of all parts of the former Yugoslavia could have been solved like this - by votes instead of war.





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