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Serbia and Montenegro
Preface Last Updated: 10/11/2005 2:15 PM

Belgrade—and its constituent post, Podgorica—offer unique and rewarding challenges and opportunities to every member of the Embassy community. A posting here places one in the center of the Balkans—the 20th century's tinderbox of Europe—where two wars were fought as prelude to World War I and where the last decade of the century witnessed Europe's bloodiest conflict since World War II. Yugoslavia chose democracy in the waning days before the 21st century formally dawned and has welcomed the U.S. back as a partner in the country's transition effort.

Success in that transition is key to the U.S. goal of a Europe united, democratic, free and at peace. Every section has a role to play. Concurrent with the transition to an open democratic free market society, the economy must be rebuilt and trade relations re-established. Relations with the U.S., severed in 1999, must be restored to the robust level of years past and beyond. Encouraging Serbia and Montenegro (formerly Yugoslavia) in its efforts to integrate into Euro-Atlantic institutions only a few years after the NATO campaign against the tyranny that characterized its leadership in the 1990's promises stimulating work for those engaged in political, economic, commercial, assistance, military or public diplomacy affairs. The challenge of supporting an embassy reconstituting itself guarantees a sense of accomplishment to those engaged in the administrative tasks associated with the embassy's own transition from make-shift facilities that already function as a full-fledged embassy through the construction and transition to a new embassy complex. The Consular Section serves on the front line, engaging directly with the local population to demonstrate through the restoration of full service that is prompt and professional that our recent conflict with Yugoslavia was with its leadership, not with the people of Serbia and Montenegro.

A tour, however, is more than one's professional responsibilities, no matter how satisfying or rewarding the job may be. Serbia and Montenegro offers a countryside that is beautiful and diverse with mountains for skiing in the winters and outstanding beaches on the Adriatic in the summer. The country's infrastructure, though over-burdened, is European. The general reaction of the local population is genuinely one of welcome. The local population is warm and focused on the future; assuming their rightful place in Europe. In short, far from the "Heart of Darkness" it was portrayed as only a few short years ago, Serbia and Montenegro is a vibrant country, crucial to U.S. policy that offers a professionally rewarding and pleasant environment in which to serve.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Serbia and Montenegro is located in the central part of the Balkan Peninsula and occupies 102,173 square kilometers, an area slightly smaller than Kentucky. Serbia and Montenegro's many waterway, road, rail, and telecommunications networks serve to link Europe, Asia, and even Africa at a strategic intersection in southeastern Europe. Endowed with natural beauty, Serbia and Montenegro is rich in varied topography and climate. It borders the Adriatic Sea, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina to the west, Hungary to the north, Romania and Bulgaria to the east, and Albania and Macedonia to the south.

Three major rivers that pass through Serbia, the Danube, Sava and Tisa, are navigable. The longest river in the country is the Danube, which flows for 588 of its 2,857-kilometer course through Serbia and meanders around its capital, Belgrade on its way to Romania and the Black Sea. The larger of Serbia and Montenegro's two constituent republics, Serbia, is landlocked, whereas the other, Montenegro, has an Adriatic coastline of 294 kilometers.

The countryside in the north is characterized by the fertile flatlands of the Panonian Plain, while there are limestone ranges and basins in the east. Three mountain ranges, the Rodope, Carpatho-Balkan and Dinaric meet in the south of Serbia, where Mount Djeravica (2,656m/ 8,714ft) is the highest point of elevation in the country. Belgrade is hilly and sits at an average elevation of 116.75m/383ft above sea level. Montenegro, in the southwest, is dominated by rocky, mountainous terrain with canyons, lakes, rivers, and a dramatic coast where, in many places, cliffs descend sharply to the shoreline.

Serbia and Montenegro is renowned for its greenery. In fact, 182 trees in Belgrade alone have been listed as natural monuments and protected by law. Such green treasures cover an area of over 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres) in the capital city and include many parks. The forests in the outskirts of Belgrade are home to dozens of rare bird species along with other exceptional flora and fauna.

A continental climate predominates in Serbia with cold winters and warm summers. Montenegro is largely the same, but with alpine conditions in the mountains and a Mediterranean climate on the Adriatic coast. The Belgrade climate is moderate continental with four, distinct seasons. Autumn is longer than spring, with lengthy sunny and warm periods. Winter is not particularly harsh, and averages 21 days with below freezing temperatures. January is the coldest month of the year with an average temperature of -0.2°C/31.6°F. Spring is rather short and rainy. Summer starts abruptly. The average daily temperature in the hottest month of July is 34.2°C/93°F, but it is not uncommon for highs to reach the upper 30s and lower 40s Celsius (90s, 100s Fahrenheit) in the summertime. Average humidity is 70%.

Belgrade has a characteristic southeastern and eastern wind called "košava," which brings fair and dry weather. It is most frequent in the fall and winter, lasting for 2-3 days. The average košava speed is 25-43 km/h.

The capital has an annual average of 139 days with precipitation, including 27 days of snow. The most intense precipitation occurs in May and June, when 1-day rains are most frequent. February is the driest month. The annual average precipitation is 701mm / 27.6.''

Population Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Serbia and Montenegro is a multiethnic, multilingual, and multi-confessional community. One third of its total 9.9 million inhabitants (2002 est.) consists of 26 national minorities. The national ethnic composition is 62.6% Serbian, 16.5% Albanian, 5% Montenegrin, 3.3% Hungarian, and 12.6% other minorities, including Bosniaks, Turks, Croats, Bulgarians, Hungarians, and a large Roma population.

Serbian, in both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets, is the official language. The two dialects of Serbian, "ekavski" and "ijekavski," spoken in Serbia and Montenegro, respectively, are officially recognized and accepted. In regions of Serbia and Montenegro where national minorities reside, their languages and script are used officially, in accordance with pertinent laws. English is a popular second language.

Fifty-five percent of Serbia and Montenegro's population lives in urban areas. Belgrade is the principal urban center, with 1.6 million residents, while other major cities include Novi Sad (300,000), Niš (250,000), and Podgorica (170,000). The literacy rate is 93%. Life expectancy for men is 70.6 years and 76.7 years for women.

Orthodox Christianity is the predominant religion in Serbia and Montenegro. The peoples of both Serbia and Montenegro have strong historical traditions practicing this faith. Islam is prevalent among Albanians, Bosniaks, and some other minorities. There are also small communities of Catholics, Protestants, and Jews. Serbia and Montenegro is bejeweled by ornate mosques, synagogues, cathedrals, and churches, many of which date back hundreds of years.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Serbia and Montenegro is a federation of two republics, Serbia and Montenegro. There is a federal government and two republic governments organized in a parliamentary system. The Federal Government consists of: 1) an executive in the form of a president who appoints the government; 2) the Federal Parliament (Savezna Skupština); and 3) a judiciary composed of a Federal Court (Savezni Sud) and a Constitutional Court. At the republic level, Serbia and Montenegro each have a parliament, a court system, a government (led by a prime minister), and a president. The military is under the civilian control of the three-member Supreme Defense Council (Vrhovni Savet Odbrane or VSO), made up of the Federal President and the president of each republic. In practice, spheres of influence among and within the federal and republic governments often overlap despite efforts to legislate and enforce separations. Furthermore, except for defense and foreign policy, most significant governmental responsibilities reside in republic institutions. The main parties in Montenegro are the Democratic Party of Socialists and the Socialist People's Party. A coalition of 16 parties known as the Democratic Opposition of Serbia holds a majority in both the Serbian and Federal Parliaments.

A new Constitutional Charter to restructure relations among the federal and republic governments was adopted in early 2003. Some of the major changes to the former system under this new constitution are a reduction in the number of federal ministries to five, with responsibilities of the disbanded bureaucracies delegated de facto to the republic governments, a switch to a unicameral parliament providing certain positive discrimination (disproportionate representation) for Montenegrin representatives, and the establishment of a single Federal Court that shall have constitutional- and administrative-court functions. The official name of the country under the Charter changed from Yugoslavia to "Serbia and Montenegro."

Serbia and Montenegro is host to a large number of domestic and international governmental and non-governmental organizations and financial institutions.

Note: Although the Southern Serbian province of Kosovo is part of Serbia and Montenegro, it is currently administered by the United Nations in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1244. Federal and Serbian state institutions, therefore, currently have no authority in Kosovo. Final authority in the province rests with the civilian United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK). Decision on final status of Kosovo will be made by the UN Security Council at some point in the future.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

The Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences was formally established on November 1, 1886, but it had informally existed since 1841. It consists of seven departments: Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Technical Sciences, Medical Sciences, Language and Literature, Social Sciences, Historical Sciences, Fine Arts and Music. Within the Departments, Committees focus on research with clearly outlined artistic and scientific objectives. The Academy also hosts an exhibit gallery.

Serbia has 134 museums that showcase numerous artistic, scientific, historical and ethnographical objects. The National Museum in Belgrade, which was founded in 1844, contains four collections—prehistoric, mediaeval, recent Serbian art and foreign painting—with 290,000 catalogued objects. The National Museum has organized prominent exhibits of local and international artists and collections, as well as smaller thematic exhibits. In addition to permanent collections and exhibits, the National Museum also hosts chamber music concerts, lectures and various presentations. The National Museum is famous for its technical library and conservation and restoration center, which is among the largest of its kind in the world.

There are 45 professional theaters in the country, and numerous amateur theaters. The National Theater in Belgrade, one of the most significant cultural institutions in the country, hosts three ensembles—drama, opera and ballet. It has three stages with the capacity of 1,100 seats. During the130 year long history of the National Theater, almost all great European artists have performed on its stage, as well as a number of foreign theater companies. The ensembles of the National Theater have performed in almost every European country, in more than 90 theaters, as well as on other continents.

Belgrade hosts several international festivals with a long tradition. Since its foundation in 1967, Belgrade International Theater Festival (BITEF) has hosted modern and avant-garde theater and dance performances Belgrade Music Festival (BEMUS) was established in 1969, and has brought numerous prominent composers and musicians from abroad to the local audiences. The International Belgrade Film Festival (FEST), which was founded in 1971.

Institutes for the Protection of Monuments—13 Libraries—180 Galleries—130 Publishing Houses—192 Archives—35 Artistic, cultural, scientific, educational magazines—155 Festivals and competitions—160

The education sector covers preschool, primary, secondary and higher education; it comprises more than 1.4 million students and about 120,000 employees. This sector was quite well developed under the former Yugoslav system, but suffered heavily from the disruption and economic deprivation of the Milosevic period. The Serbian Government has embarked on a major education reform since 2001.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Economic Snapshot of Serbia and Montenegro. The dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) precipitated a meltdown of the Yugoslav economy. Fifty years of inefficient socialist management was compounded by a decade of willful economic mismanagement by the Milosevic regime. The 1990s witnessed a seismic drop in GDP (40% of the 1990 level), export stagnation, hyperinflation, unemployment and a brain-drain of nearly 400,000 highly educated people. International sanctions isolated the country, spawning an active black market and high incidence of smuggling. Economic benefits were directed to political cronies who in turn looted Yugoslav companies in order to finance the Milosevic regime and transferred funds outside the country to fund lavish life styles. In short, Yugoslavia was insolvent by 2000.

Serbia and Montenegro has set a new course for itself. In Montenegro, reform was initiated in the late 1990s (following the political break between Milosevic and Djukanovic). In 2001 after the fall of the Milosevic regime, the new Federal and Serbian Governments focused on initiating a new reform program and the process of reintegration into European and global markets.

Serbia and Montenegro is a country-in-transition. Real GDP growth was 4.5% in 2001 and projected to be around 4% for each of the next 3 years. Inflation has decreased substantially from more than 40% to a projected 12% by 2003. Unemployment remains high in both republics. The Serbian and Montenegrin governments face the same transition challenges that other countries in Central Europe encountered in the early to mid-1990s. Serbia and Montenegro's recent history, however has created the special challenge for the governments of bringing to the surface the black economy and creating a transparent legal/regulatory framework for a market-oriented economy. The main features of the reform programs have been: reduction in fiscal profligacy and implementation of budgetary controls; tight monetary policy to stabilize exchange rate and reduce inflation; bank restructuring and financial sector reform; acceleration of privatization programs and the attraction of foreign strategic investors; amendments to restrictive laws in order to stimulate private sector activity; market liberalization to encourage trade and investment.

The economic reform programs of Serbia and Montenegro and the two republics receive solid endorsement from international financial institutions. The country successfully completed a 1-year IMF Stand-By Arrangement. The World Bank (including International Finance Corporation) and EBRD have rolled-out extensive programs. In early 2002, the World Bank provided a Structural Adjustment Credit (SAC) to assist with private enterprise development and financial sector reform. Serbia and Montenegro has met all the benchmarks established in the context of these programs. For example, in January 2002, the National Bank of Yugoslavia took the bold move of placing the four largest banks into bankruptcy, underlining the government's intent to reform the bank sector. The number of banks in Serbia has dropped from 88 in early 2000 to approximately 45 in the fall 2002. In recognition of the achieved progress, the IMF provided a 3-year Enhanced Finance Facility (EFF) valued at $820 million to Yugoslavia in May 2002. The World Bank is now preparing a second SAC that will be disbursed in early 2003.

Although on the macro-level, there has been major progress in realigning policies and establishing the solid foundations for a transparent market economy, the benefits have been slow to materialize for the average citizen. The standard of living is still low for citizens who are quickly becoming impatient as the republic governments move to decrease costly social services and increase to real price the costs of basic needs such as electricity, heat, food, etc. The economy is the number one political issue among all citizens. Increasingly, there is pressure on Federal and republic governments to deliver results.

Future Economic Development of Serbia and Montenegro. Economic development patterns are slightly different between the two republics. Although highly interconnected, there was a divergence in developmental paths in the late 1990s with Montenegro pulling back from Federal institutions/authority and initiating early reforms. As a result, there has been the creation of new institutions in Montenegro that duplicate or replace Federal competencies. For example, Montenegro has adopted the Euro as its currency and created the Central Bank of Montenegro to manage monetary policy and engage in bank supervision. Pursuant to the March 2002 Belgrade Agreement that seeks to redefine relations between the two republics, more authority will be reassigned from the Federal level to the republics. Consequently, especially in the economic sphere, although the two republics economies will remain highly interconnected, the republic governments will have considerably more authority in managing their own economic affairs.

Serbia, the larger of the two republics that accounts for nearly 90% of Serbia and Montenegro's GDP, was traditionally strong in the agriculture, mining, construction and heavy industrial sectors. Agricultural and agribusiness are leading the current economic recovery. The government is grappling with how to resolve/restructure and privatize large loss-makers such as Sartid (steel), Bor (mining), Zastava (automotive), EI Nis (electro-technical), etc. These companies also rank as the largest employers. Complete shutdowns would likely trigger social problems. The Serbian Government is actively focusing on Small Medium Enterprise development with the assistance of the European Union. New private companies appear to be slowly evolving that are well-managed and competitive.

Montenegro's real competitive edge has been in the tourism sector. Montenegro's seacoast and mountain landscape are likely to draw significant touristic interest. Although it suffered losses during the 1990s and catered to low-spending Serbian tourists, future prospects are brighter as hotels are privatized and the government develops a sector strategy. Other major contributors to Montenegro's GDP are the Aluminum Kombinat (KAP), which was mismanaged and incurred sizable debts, and the Port of Bar (linked by rail to Serbia).

Foreign Investor Interest. Serbia and Montenegro as a whole is likely to attract significant foreign investor interest. With the political stabilization of Serbia, for the first time investors are likely to investigate more closely and seriously opportunities in Southeast Europe. Serbia and Montenegro stands a good chance to attract significant foreign capital as it is one of the largest markets in the SEE. Adherence to the current economic reform program and further liberalization of the market could propel Serbia and Montenegro ahead of other SEE countries that started reform programs earlier. Both Serbia (FRY) and Montenegro have enacted liberal foreign investment legislation to stimulate foreign investment.

Leading investor nations in Serbia and Montenegro include Austria, Germany, Greece, and Italy. There is rising interest from countries within the region such as Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia. Greece's OTE and Telecom Italia together hold 49% of Telekom Srbija. Cement companies were sold early in the process of privatization to strategic partners from France, Greece and Switzerland. France's Michelin entered into a joint venture with a local tire producer. Belgium's Interbrew acquired Montenegro's brewery, Niksicka Pivara and took a minority stake in Serbia's Apatinska Brewery. Russian and Slovene investors have acquired hotel assets along Montenegro's coast. The banking sector has already attracted investment from Raifeissen (Austria), HypoVereinsbank (Germany) and Societe Generale (France). In fall 2002, Henkel (Germany) purchased a domestic detergent producer while Montenegro sold Jugopetrol Kotor to Hellenic Petroleum (Greece) for an eye-popping $104.5 million. In late November, the privatization of Serbia's major tobacco companies will draw American, British, German and Japanese interest. American companies are expected to also invest in Yugoslavia. In March 2002, U.S. Steel's Kosice (Slovakia) subsidiary signed a letter of intent to explore a future relationship with Serbia's only steel producer, SARTID. Other U.S. companies are now preparing offers to acquire companies through the privatization program.

Integration Efforts. Isolated throughout the 1990s, Yugoslavia moved quickly to integrate itself into global and Euro-Atlantic institutions. Yugoslavia immediately joined the EBRD, IMF and World Bank. Yugoslavia has actively embraced the activities of the Stability Pact, especially Working Table II. As a signatory to the MOU on Intra-Regional Trade, Yugoslavia will complete free-trade agreements by the end of 2002 with: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia and Hungary. Serbia and Montenegro is the only European country with a partial free trade arrangement with Russia. Following the completion of the Constitutional Charter process (redefining republic relations), Serbia and Montenegro will begin the process of EU integration (negotiations on a Stabilization and Association Agreement). Already, Serbia and Montenegro receive substantial assistance from the EU and the member states. Additionally, Yugoslavia has been extended autonomous trade preferences that reduce the tariffs applied to Yugoslav exports to the EU. Finally, in February 2002, Yugoslavia initiated its accession process to the World Trade Organization (WTO); it is hoped this could be completed by the end of 2004.

Bilateral Economic/Commercial Relations. During the last few years, there has been a progressive expansion and broadening of bilateral commercial/economic relations. Initially, economic aid was provided only to Montenegro. The political changes in 2000 precipitated a new chapter in the development of bilateral relations. In total, the USG has provided over $400 million in direct assistance to Yugoslavia in recent years; in 2003, annual assistance will exceed $150 million. U.S. assistance will focus on: democracy-building, economic technical assistance, refugee resettlement, community revitalization, public diplomacy programs/exchanges, etc.

Slowly, a new framework for bilateral economic cooperation has emerged. In July 2001, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation signed a bilateral agreement with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, opening the programs of this U.S. Government agency. In March 2002, the U.S. Trade & Development Agency (TDA) started operations, developing a project pipeline of nearly $3 million during FY02. The U.S. signed its bilateral Paris Club Agreement with the FRY in October 2002; this will result in a 66% reduction of the FRY's debt to the U.S. The U.S. Export-Import Bank provides private sector support and will likely begin public sector coverage by mid-2003. In October 2002, the U.S. Congress restored Normal Trade Relations (most-favored nation status) to Yugoslavia. This will open U.S. markets to exports from Serbia and Montenegro and provide further impetus to reestablish trading partnerships among companies. Finally, by the end of 2003, there should be a resolution of the still frozen assets in U.S. banks.

These events form the basis for the evolving bilateral relationship to underpin increasing American commercial interest in Serbia and Montenegro. In fall 2002, the American Chamber of Commerce was launched with 22 founders; membership now stands at more than 60 companies and is expected to surpass 100 by the beginning of 2003. U.S. companies are participating in the privatization of important companies. Prior to the break up of Yugoslavia, there was a sizable U.S. commercial presence in Yugoslavia. This interest is being recultivated with the reform/liberalization programs and a sizable presence could be developed once again.


Automobiles Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

The main roads and highways in Serbia are in fair condition; the main highways linking Belgrade with Hungary and a second running from Croatia to the North toward Macedonia to the South are mostly four-lane although in the south the construction has not been completed on the latter road, especially near the Macedonian border. Roads are not maintained in the winter according to U.S. standards but are generally usable. The road signs are like those found elsewhere in Europe. The speed limit in towns is usually between 40 to 60 km per hour. Right-of-way exists for cars coming from the right at traffic circles. Diplomatic immunity does not apply to traffic violations and parking tickets.

Bring a car or buy one locally for shopping and recreation in the many parks, tourist attractions and small towns. Rental cars are costly but can be booked through the travel agent prior to departure. Representatives include Hertz, Budget and Avis.

Service is more readily available and reliable for Japanese or European vehicles than American models. European models are more likely to be stolen and there are some reported cases of theft.

European car parts are available and reasonable but Japanese parts are expensive. American car parts are both expensive and difficult to find. It is best to ship some items for your car such as oil filters, air filters, spark plugs, replacement windshield wiper blades, and headlights.

Good quality oil is available. Most gas stations have leaded gas and the larger ones offer unleaded gas and diesel. Gasoline is expensive at about 90 cents a liter or $3.50 a gallon. Tax-free gas coupons are available which reduce the cost by about 50%.

International driver's licenses are useful for driving outside the country and can be obtained from AAA. Local third-party-liability insurance is mandatory under law in Serbia and Montenegro. International automobile travel insurance, which is called a green card, must be obtained not later than 1 month after your vehicle arrives at post. The green insurance card is valid for all European countries. There are different types of green card insurance depending on the length of time required. Comprehensive insurance is available, but can be very expensive. It is recommended that an insurance policy for collision be arranged with a company in the U.S. prior to arrival at post.

There is no limitation on the year or size of the engine that can be shipped into the country. The Embassy must arrange final customs clearance for all personally owned vehicles either driven into the country or imported by ship/truck. The employee must be in country before customs arrangements can be made. A copy of the passport and vehicle information, which includes motor and serial numbers, the title of ownership, and insurance information must be submitted to the customs office for the vehicle to clear customs. Make sure you have the Certificate of Title/Origin for your car. The Mission arranges CD (Corps Diplomatic) license plates for all employees with diplomatic status. The cost for customs clearance, technical inspection, a green card, liability insurance and license plates is approximately US$300.

There are no restrictions on the sale of POVs to other diplomats. Sales to nationals of Serbia and Montenegro or others without tax-free privileges are possible. The buyer will have to pay all customs and duties applicable.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

The downtown area of Belgrade is readily accessible by taxi or bus. However, traffic can be congested and chaotic; fender benders are not uncommon. Public transportation is inexpensive. Taxis are usually metered, safe, reliable and easy to hire by visiting a taxi stand, calling or hailing one from the street. Fares are about half of those in the U.S., however most drivers do not speak English. Taxi meters charge lower rates during weekdays than at night or on weekends. Most taxi associations give lower rates for orders by phone. A small tip is appreciated.

Tickets for public transportation are sold on board vehicles. Buses can be crowded and uncomfortable during rush hours. Although Belgrade is one of the safest European cities, pickpockets do work crowded buses and streets.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Serbia and Montenegro has limited, but improving, air connections, mostly via other European hubs such as Munich or Vienna. There are airports in Belgrade, Podgorica, Tivat and Pristina. Yugoslav (YAT), Montenegro, Bosnia Air, Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, British Airways, Czech Air, Aeroflot, and AlItalia Airlines service Belgrade.

Trains service all major cities within Serbia and Montenegro, south to Nis, North to Novi Sad and Subotica and southwest to Bar via Podgorica. They also connect Serbia and Montenegro with Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and other countries. Train travel is relatively fast, comfortable and inexpensive.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

The Embassy phone number is 381-11-361-9344. The Embassy facsimile machine number is 381-11-361-8230. The cost of a fax is about the same as a telephone call. In addition, the Embassy has recently acquired IVG lines, which are intended primarily to call the State Department and U.S. diplomatic missions abroad. However, it can also be used to make local calls in the Washington, DC dialing area and 800 number calls. The telephone service within Serbia and Montenegro is adequate but subject to extraneous noise, and unexplained disconnections. Embassy personnel pay for phone service in government leased quarters. Some quarters have digital lines with tone dialing. Others still have analog lines with pulse dialing. An average bill is less than $20, excluding long-distance or international calls. Several firms offer callback international dialing connections to the U.S. (about 50˘ per minute at this writing); calls can also be operator placed, and there is direct dialing from the Embassy and from home telephones. International connections with the U.S. vary from quick and clear to slow and noisy. The cost of calling the U.S. in August 2002 was about $.90 per minute when using Serbia Telekom and dialing direct. Cell phone service is available and reliable. Prices are reasonable and service can be arranged through the Embassy.

Internet Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Internet service is readily available. There are many internet service providers to choose from. Service is provided on a per hour basis. Price per hour is about $.35 to $.40. You pre-purchase the number of hours you wish. Quality of service varies depending on the quality of phone lines to the residences. Internet connectivity has been described as reliable but slow with occasional disconnects.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Send personal mail and parcels from the U.S. via the Department of State diplomatic pouch. The address for personal mail is:

Name 5070 Belgrade Place Dulles, VA 20189-5070

Official mail should be sent to:

Name Department of State 5070 Belgrade Place Washington, DC 20521-5070

Regular U.S. postage is required for all personal mail. Parcels must conform to size and weight limitations (i.e., 30 inches in length and 65 inches in length and girth combined, not to exceed 45 pounds). Parcels over these limits will be rejected by the pouch service in the State Department. It is illegal to send any packages containing aerosols or liquids of any kind and any packages containing these items will be returned to the sender. Incoming U.S. mail pouch is scheduled for two times a week. Outgoing pouches are dispatched once a week (Tuesday). Average delivery time from the U.S. East Coast to Belgrade is 10-12 days (allow more time at Christmas). Mail from Belgrade to the U.S. is the same so keep this in mind when making monthly bill or mortgage payments. You are not allowed to ship packages out of Belgrade using the pouch system (Except return packages from catalog sales). Large envelopes are accepted but cannot exceed two pounds. Bring a supply of U.S. postage stamps for letters. The Employee Association sells a limited supply.

The international address is:

Name American Embassy Kneza Milosa 50 11000 Belgrade Serbia

International mail is not reliable; the transit time to and from the U.S. varies and can take from 1 week to 1 month. All international packages are subject to being opened and inspected by the local post office upon arrival in Serbia and Montenegro.

Radio and TV Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

There are currently seven major TV stations in Serbia—TV Pink, BK TV, RTS, B-92 TV, TV Politika, Studio B and TV Kosava. There are also an estimated 300 smaller TV stations and 700 radio outlets that operate in Serbia (September 2002). The long-awaited Broadcasting Act, which will regulate broadcast licensing, was adopted on July 18, 2002. This should lead to the redistributions of frequency licenses on a fair and transparent basis. Significant progress had been made in the domain of media freedom and objective journalism since the political changes in Serbia, in October 2000.

National network, Radio Television of Serbia (RTS), in spite of the serious damage to its technical capabilities caused by NATO bombing and the demonstrations of October 2000, remains the key player in terms of coverage of territory (97% official coverage for RTS1, but 65% is of very good quality). The RTS media group gathers six major activities under the same umbrella: TV and radio broadcasting (3 major TV channels, regional channels, a satellite channel and several radio channels); TV and radio production; transmission; music ensembles and music production. Republic-owned RTS is being transformed into a Public Broadcasting Service. In terms of audience share the most popular broadcaster is privately owned TV Pink. The common denominators for all televisions are American movies and TV series. International TV programs are sub-titled; voice-over is not used. VOA's (Voice of America) news program is broadcast locally. In Montenegro, the major television network is Republic-owned Radio Television of Montenegro (RTVCG).

A variety of radio programs play a mix of Western popular music and Serbian folk music. The majority of radio stations broadcast on the FM band and some of them, such as Radio B92, offer English-language news. Program of Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty is re-broadcast by a variety of stations. Radio Yugoslavia broadcasts its program on short waves (temporarily not available) to all parts of the world in 12 languages: English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, Albanian, Greek, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Italian, Chinese and in Serbian.

The television signal is PAL/BG. Thus, if you do not wish to purchase a TV set on the local market, a multi-system TV set is needed. An NTSC-only set will not work. In Belgrade, there is cable penetration in some areas offering a wide range of English-language channels: CNN, Sky, NBC, MTV Europe, Cartoon Network, MSNBC, Discovery, and Animal Planet. All urban areas in Belgrade can pick up satellite channels with a satellite dish and a digital receiver which are available locally. American videotapes (NTSC) can be viewed only on multi system VCR's (PAL/SECAM/NTSC). Region-free DVDs are also widely available in local stores.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

There are nine, more or less influential, dailies in Serbia: Politika, Danas, Vecernje Novosti, Blic, Glas Javnosti, Ekspres, Nacional, Dnevnik and Borba. In terms of a readers share, Vecernje Novosti has the highest circulation in FRY (approximately 200,000 copies printed daily). In Montenegro, major dailies are Vijesti, Dan and Pobjeda. The most influential, politically and in terms of opinion making, weeklies in Serbia are: NIN, Vreme, Blic News, Reporter and Nedeljni Telegraf in Serbia, and Monitor in Montenegro. There are also dozens of specialized weeklies and monthlies oriented toward various subjects, such as technology, fashion, economy, children, science etc. The axiom of foreign investment or "strategic partnership" became a preferable term in the glossary of Serbian print media in the last 2 years. All press in Serbia, except daily Borba, is privately owned, with or without foreign capital involved (e.g., Politika formed a joint-stock company with German media concern WAZ - Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Blic joined German companies Gruner + Jahr international newspaper portfolio, etc.).

There are three major news agencies in Serbia: Beta, private; Tanjug, federal government; FoNet, private; and one in Montenegro: Montena.

Western newspapers and magazines are available in Belgrade and in some larger cities in Serbia and Montenegro (Podgorica, Novi Sad, Nis). Also, there are several English-language bookstores in the center of Belgrade offering limited range of books and periodicals by various publishers (Penguin, Oxford University Press, etc.). Books, even paperbacks, tend to be expensive. There are several foreign correspondents / bureaus in Belgrade such as Associated Press, Reuters, and New York Times.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

The Embassy Health Unit employs a part-time American nurse (RN). A regional medical officer is expected to arrive at the end of April. The Embassy also employs a full time Health Unit administrative assistant. The Health Unit will assist you in obtaining medical care locally or, in the event of an emergency, assist with authorized medical travel. Regional psychiatrists reside in Vienna and Rome and travel to Belgrade twice a year.

Not all medications may be available in Belgrade's pharmacies (Apotekas). It is recommended that employees and their family members bring an adequate supply of prescription and over the counter medications. Prescriptions for chronic medications will need to be obtained from the RMO.

The medical system in Serbia and Montenegro is experiencing many problems maintaining Western medical standards and must be viewed with caution. The Military Medical Academy in Belgrade is the largest and the most up to date facility.

In the case of required hospitalization or consultation that can not be provided in Belgrade, Embassy personnel are usually authorized to travel to Vienna, London or the U.S.

Community Health Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

The quality of drinking water in Belgrade is unknown at this time and therefore bottled or distilled water should be used for drinking. Allergies and respiratory ailments are aggravated by air pollution and wintertime smog (largely produced by burning of low-grade coal). Sewage and garbage disposal is adequate. Fruits and vegetables are of good quality and are safe to eat using regular washing precautions.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Arriving personnel should have their immunization record up to date. A flu vaccine is recommended and provided by the Health Unit. European Lyme disease, transmitted by ticks, is present in Serbia and Montenegro. As there is no available vaccine for Lyme disease, preventive measures should be followed. Once or twice a year Belgrade is sprayed to control mosquitoes and other pests.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Embassy Employment. The post strongly encourages employment opportunities for Eligible Family Members (EFMs). The Post Employment Policy provides that priority will be given to EFMs who are qualified for a position. The nature and number of EFM positions varies with program requirements and funding availability. At present, EFMs are working in the following positions: community liaison officer (CLO), consular associate, visa assistant, and program information specialist (USAID). When possible, post prefers to employ EFMs through the Family Member Appointment (FMA) program that allows EFMs to gain service credit and participate in the retirement and Thrift Savings Plans. Additional information on the FMA program is available at post from the Human Resources Office or in Washington from the Family Liaison Office (FLO). With the introduction of the new PSA-Plus program, EFMs can compete for all local hire Embassy jobs. The emphasis on recruitment for locally advertised positions under the new program is on the skills requirements of the position. Positions are advertised for specific duties with both FSN and American grades, and post management determines the appropriate employment mechanism for the selected candidate.

Provided that funding is available, the post offers minimum-wage summer hire jobs for EFM dependents. Eligible dependents must be between the ages of 16 and 24, enrolled in a course of study at an educational institution, and registered to reenroll. When the number of students exceeds the number of jobs available, the post employs a job-share approach. Whenever possible, a winter vacation program (winter hire) is also provided.

Private Sector Employment. work agreement between Serbia and Montenegro and the U.S. has yet been finalized. However, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, EFMs may be employed on the local economy if approved by the Chief of Mission. There are two English-language elementary schools in Belgrade that currently employ Embassy spouses in teaching and classroom aide positions. Unemployment in Serbia is high and jobs on the local market are scarce. The pay scale is much lower than would be expected in the U.S. However, there may be some possibilities for EFMs at International Organizations and NGOs. There may be some opportunity for self employment as well. Currently, one spouse provides piano lessons at her home while another works as a free lance editor for an English language publication.

The Human Resources Office and the community liaison officer at post will be glad to discuss employment possibilities with eligible family members.

American Embassy - Belgrade

Post City Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Belgrade, capital of Serbia and Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia, is located in the east central part of the country at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube Rivers. Altitude is 224 to 830 feet above sea level.

Belgrade has had a settlement since the time of the Celts in the 4th century B.C., although little of their culture or of subsequent Roman civilization remains. Few historical monuments of earlier than late 18th century survive. Minimal evidence of the long period of Turkish domination exists and only a few baroque buildings mark the pre-World War I Hapsburg influence. Belgrade thus lacks the atmosphere and old world charm of Eastern European capitals such as Prague and Budapest. Buildings in the center city are gray and somber and alternate with a few modern concrete and glass highrises. In spite of the bomb damage from the NATO air strikes and the economic difficulties for Belgrade's people the downtown has a bustling and lively feeling, especially in summer when parks, tree-lined streets, and numerous sidewalk cafes lend color and charm.

Cultural life is active, although less vibrant and diverse than in the major world centers. Belgraders have a deep interest in art and a long season of opera, ballet, concerts, and drama. The taste for popular music is evident particularly among the young. Belgraders are avid movie goers and many American films are shown in the original version with Serbian subtitles. Many art exhibits are presented by contemporary artists. Several groups of naive (primitive) painters and sculptors work in Serbia and Montenegro today; many have exhibited abroad with considerable success.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

The Embassy and all related agencies are located on a half city block compound at Kneza Miloša 50. At present, there are about 70 American positions and some 200 locally engaged staff, but the post is growing fairly steadily. In addition to State, the United States Agency for International Development, Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and Department of Defense are represented in Belgrade. Working hours are from 8:30 am - 5:30 pm. The Embassy switchboard telephone number is 381 11 361 9344.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Every effort is made to move newcomers directly into their assigned permanent quarters. However, during the summer months, when personnel turnover is heavy, this may not be possible. If permanent housing is not ready, newcomers are temporarily placed in temporary duty apartments or hotels.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Personnel assigned to Belgrade are mainly housed in U.S. Government-leased quarters. Assignments are made by the Interagency Housing Board based on the employee's rank, family-size, and guidelines set forth in 6 FAM. Should an employee have any special housing needs, he or she should contact the GSO well in advance of arrival in Belgrade. In Belgrade, the U.S. Government owns only four residences. The Ambassador, the DCM and various agency heads live in Government-owned houses.

Leased housing is scattered throughout the city with several units set on a hill within 6 miles of the Embassy. These homes include two sets of triplexes, several duplexes and/or stand-alone units. They are fully furnished and have yards, three bedrooms, three baths, a den, living room, dining room and kitchen. Bath colors tend to be a light chocolate tile with white tubs, sinks, toilets, and bidets. Otherwise colors are neutral and built-in closets and cabinets provide plenty of storage. Where necessary, wardrobes are provided. Leased apartments in the city or elsewhere may be smaller with two bedrooms, two baths, but have the same furnishings and amenities as the homes. Each unit has its own washer, dryer, freezer and water distiller.

Furnishings Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

All living quarters are furnished with basic household furniture. Most furniture is made in the U.S., has a dark mahogany finish, and is 18th century in style. Area carpets are laid over marble, tile or parquet floors. Residences are also provided with a combination of draperies, sheers and blinds. Each residence is usually furnished with refrigerator, freezer, washer and dryer, dishwasher, microwave, electric range and vacuum cleaner. American-sized appliances are provided where space allows. Toasters or coffeemakers are only supplied in Welcome Kits but may be purchased locally at a reasonable cost. Your airfreight should contain basic housekeeping items such as bed linens (master bedrooms have a queen-sized bed and all secondary rooms have twin-sized beds), blankets dishes, silverware, kitchenware, utensils, glassware and shower curtains. Until your airfreight arrives, a Hospitality Kit containing these items will be provided. Most household items can be purchased on the local economy at a reasonable cost. You may want to consider bringing additional area rugs, lamps, paintings and prints to round out your furnishings and provide a familiar surrounding.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

All quarters have air-conditioning, heating and hot water systems. Most quarters have back-up generators in the event of power outages. American made full-size washers and dryers are provided when space allows. Standard electric power is 220v/50hertz for lights and standard outlets. Plugs are European "SCHULKO" (CEE-7) type with 28mm rod contacts. Incandescent lights require a 230v bulb.

Two transformers (1,600-2,000W) and tiles to put them on are provided to each residence. Extension cords may be purchased locally. Many new appliances, computers and audio equipment allow conversion to, or automatically adapt to 220v/50hertz. Other appliances such as telephones will require a small converter. Power outages are not frequent but power spikes can be common.

Food Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

There are a variety of shops and stores in Belgrade. Shopping as an activity in Belgrade consumes a good bit of time, because the stores are often small, and the inventory in each one is limited. You may have to look around quite a while to find what you're looking for. Meat, dairy products, staples like flour and sugar, and seasonal fruits and vegetables are available throughout the year. Processed foods (i.e., macaroni and cheese in a box, microwave popcorn) are starting to be seen here, but not necessarily the recognized types or brands. Ethnic foods and typically American foods like chocolate chips and peanut butter are not usually available. Employees are authorized a consumables allowance of 2,500 net pounds for a 2-year tour and 3,750 net pounds for a 3-year tour. Department of Defense personnel are authorized 3,000 pounds regardless of the length of tour.

Recently two new grocery stores opened in Belgrade. Mercator, Slovenia's largest retail chain, opened a Belgrade store in December 2002. It has a wide selection of merchandise; 80% of the products offered in the supermarket are Slovenian and Serbian made, while foreign products account for the remaining 20%. A Greek chain, Super Vero, as recently opened a Belgrade store. Although not as big as Mercator, it has a good selection of fruits and vegetables. There is one other large grocery store (Rodic-Mega Market) that has the local or European equivalent of staples and some luxury items. The most common store for food and household needs is the state-owned "C Market" chain. It stocks most basic essentials such as bread, cereal, milk, vegetables, some frozen items, wines, etc. The variety and quality of locally obtained products is improving by the month. You may order local groceries online at with next day delivery. Must-have American food items can be ordered through and food and durable goods from the Danish tax-free catalog store, Peter Justesen.

One of the highlights of shopping in Belgrade is the wonderful outdoor green markets. Fresh fruits and vegetables are available in season at low prices. During the summer strawberries are available for less than a dollar a kilo. There are markets throughout town, and they are open daily. Although the markets are open year round, the selection of produce drops dramatically during the colder months. It is a good idea to freeze fruits and vegetables when they are in season so you can enjoy them in the winter as well.

There is no commissary at post, but the Recreation Association is looking into starting a small one soon. Occasionally, the Association places commissary special orders for members.

Budapest is a 5-hour drive, but some people travel 2-1/2 hours by car to the Hungarian border town, Szeged, to shop. There one can find large European grocery and home improvement stores.

Clothing Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Clothing needs are similar to those for Washington, DC or New York City. Wardrobes should include clothing for cold winters and hot summers. Most Americans at the Embassy wear business attire. Casual dress is somewhat more formal than in the U.S. As with food, more and more western European goods are available for purchase in Belgrade. Clothing for adults can be purchased locally and at times can be a good buy. A number of local chains have stylish merchandise available at reasonable prices, including fashionable leather items. Imported name brands—Hugo Boss, Versace, etc.—are available but they are generally more expensive than in the U.S. Children's clothing and shoes are available but the selection is limited, and the prices are high. Many parents prefer to shop elsewhere or order from the internet. Bring special items like Halloween costumes with you.

Officers with representational responsibilities may wish to bring a tuxedo for black tie events. Most entertaining is more informal (jacket and tie or cocktail dress). All women should bring versatile cocktail dresses. Long dresses for women can be difficult to find in Belgrade. Cocktail length dresses are found more easily.

Many men prefer American-made shoes, which they should bring to post. Many women prefer to bring or order lingerie and hosiery, because high quality items on the local market are expensive.

Supplies and Services Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Most supplies for personal or household use are available locally. As with all shopping in Belgrade, it can take quite a bit of searching to find exactly the item you want. Although U.S. brands of toiletries, detergents and cleaning supplies are beginning to appear , local brands are satisfactory and generally inexpensive. Paper and plastic products (paper towels, napkins, wrapping paper, and plastic wrap) are available and inexpensive but the quality is not what you would expect to see in the U.S. Although there are a few English-language bookstores in Belgrade, the supply of children's books is quite limited. Prices for good quality toys can be higher than in the U.S.

Most basic services are available in Belgrade. Drycleaning is available and adequate, with prices similar to the U.S. Tailors and dressmakers are available, usually do good work and are inexpensive. Inexpensive barbers and hairdressers are available. Beauty salons and the services, including manicures, facials, etc., are inexpensive. Repair services are of good quality and inexpensive.

Domestic help is available in Belgrade. Many families employ a housekeeper and/or nanny. The usual rate paid by Americans is $300-$400 a month for full time help. English-speaking waiters are available for hire for entertaining needs at $25-$30 per event.

The Embassy does not have parking for privately owned vehicles. Finding a parking spot on the street near the Embassy or in shopping areas can be difficult. There are public parking garages in town, including one that is located five blocks from the Embassy where spaces are available for $.35 an hour.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Most churches in Belgrade are Serbian Orthodox, but there are also Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Adventist, Nazarene, Baptist, and Anglican churches, a Mosque and a Synagogue. English-language Anglican, Catholic, Baptist and Pentecostal services are available.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM The International School of Belgrade (, a U.S. Government-supported school, offers classes from preschool (age three) through grade 9. The school is accredited by both the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and the European Council of International Schools. It follows a U.S.-based curriculum. Currently, 150 students attend the school. Special education services are not available at the school. The school is in a residential area about 2 miles from the Embassy. The Embassy provides transportation between housing units and the school. The school is run by a board of nine members, three appointed by the U.S. Ambassador and six elected by parents from the international community. The director and several teachers are U.S. trained and recruited. Most students are from the diplomatic and foreign business community. All qualified children of U.S. Mission personnel will be admitted. The school is growing rapidly and space is limited, so please advise the school of your assignment as soon as possible. Write to:

Gerald Craig, Director International School of Belgrade Department of State Washington, DC 20521-5070

An alternate smaller grammar school also exists. The Chartwell School (, which offers classes to children age 3-grade 8, including remedial, gifted and ESL classes. The director is Barbara Nichols, a British citizen with U.K. and Australian credentials. The school is growing rapidly with a current enrollment of 70 students.

There are two high schools, both using the University of Nebraska High School extension curriculum. The Anglo-American High School ( has 15 students. The director is a Serbian-American psychologist, Dr. Tijana Mandic.

The other school is the International High School of Belgrade ( The director is British educator Dr. Martin Scott. It has 45 students.

The International Nursery School of Belgrade is another option for pre-primary English-language education. (Telephone 381 11 667 130) Student range in age from 2-7. Tuition is $660 per trimester for 5 days a week and $470 per trimester for 3 days a week. School hours are from 8am-1:30 p.m.

Away From Post Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM Most Embassy children in grades 9-12 attend school outside the country. Currently, the post has seven high school students, attending boarding schools in Switzerland, England and the U.S.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Lessons for children in the arts, dance, music for children are easily arranged. Sports for children, including basketball and soccer, are available through local clubs. Riding and karate lessons are also available and reasonably priced.

The International Women's Club offers group lessons for a number of interests, including Serbian language, yoga, painting, book discussion, tennis and riding. Private lessons in riding and tennis are available through local clubs.

Newcomers to post are assigned sponsors by the CLO to help them settle in at post. Familiarization trips are made to local shopping areas. Informal potluck suppers and spouses coffee are held to introduce new staff and families. Serbian-language classes are available to both employees and dependents. The Embassy employs two Serbian-language instructors. The Embassy encourages group classes whenever possible; however, most instruction takes place on a tutorial basis.

Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

There are many opportunities to participate in sports. Staff members can use the swimming pool and tennis court on the grounds of the Ambassador's residence during scheduled hours. There is a low-key diplomatic club with tennis courts and a small swimming pool.

A very popular location in town, Ada Ciganlija, or Gypsy Island, has a long pebble beach and pedestrian walkway, lined by cafes and ice cream vendors.

This island also has many sports facilities, including paths for biking, roller-blading, fields for soccer, baseball, volleyball, tennis courts, basketball courts, miniature golf. There is a rock-climbing wall, a water slide, and a water-skiing club. Elsewhere along the river there are sailing clubs, rowing clubs, and scuba diving clubs. Horseback riding is possible at local stables. Many people take advantage of the walking and running trails in a forested park area called Kosutnjak, where there are also many picnic tables with barbeque grills.

There are opportunities for touring in Serbia and Montenegro. Monasteries, an artists colony and places of natural beauty or historical significance are the main travel options in country. Travel by air in country is inexpensive and taxis for in town travel are inexpensive and plentiful. Occasional sightseeing trips are organized by the CLO and by the International Women's Club. Private guided tours are easily arranged as well.

Belgrade has ballet, concerts, theater, and symphony. Prices are very reasonable by U.S. standards. Movies are available in modern theaters. U.S. movies are shown in English with Serbian subtitles, and are usually available with a month or two of its U.S. release.

Social Activities Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Social life among Americans in Belgrade is usually informal. Dinner parties, cocktail parties and sporting events are the most frequent social events. Belgrade is European in its approach to eating and drinking, and the cafes and restaurants are plentiful. Restaurants are good, relatively inexpensive for Americans, but meat and more meat is the main fare here. Meat, salads, fries and bread is the average restaurant meal. Food on the street corners is inexpensive and flavorful. Foreign cuisine is only somewhat represented here: Italian, French, Moroccan, Chinese, and Indian.

Officers at post have many opportunities for developing both official and informal social contacts with members of foreign missions.

The International Women's Club offers opportunities for cultural exchange and charitable work with the international community. The International School of Belgrade Parent Teacher Association offers another avenue for employees with children to meet and work with members of the international community.

Official Functions Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Invitations to official functions (e.g., national day events, diplomatic receptions, luncheons, and dinners) are usually received by senior Embassy officers. Black tie dinners are infrequent. Dress is usually dark business suit for men and floor length or cocktail length dresses for women. Attendance at official functions at the Ambassador's residence and at representational dinners in Embassy homes requires the same form of dress.

Printed informal cards are used for invitations to casual social affairs. Locally printed invitations with diplomatic title and Belgrade address are also frequently used. Printing services are available locally.

The rules of social conduct and etiquette standard in the Foreign Service apply in Serbia and Montenegro.

Consulate - Podgorica

Post City Last Updated: 10/6/2003 4:59 AM


Podgorica, capital of the Republic of Montenegro, lies in one of the few flat areas in this part of Yugoslavia, a broad plain crossed by five rivers and surrounded by mountains, just 20 kilometers from the Albanian border. Bombed into rubble during World War II, Podgorica has been rebuilt into a modern urban center, with high-rise apartment buildings and new office and shopping developments. Though lacking the charm of better-preserved cities, Podgorica does have a European-style town center with a pedestrians-only walking street and an assortment of restaurants, cafes, and boutiques. The city has a population of around 180,000 people. To many, Podgorica's principal attraction is as a base for exploration of the stunning natural beauty of Montenegro, with mountains all around and the gorgeous Adriatic coastline less than an hour away.

Relatively few foreigners reside in the area. Knowledge of foreign languages—English, German, and Italian—is widespread among young, educated Montenegrins and those working in the coastal tourist industry. For everyday purposes, however, some knowledge of Serbian is essential.

The diplomatic community is small, and is not wholly centered in Podgorica. Countries with consulates on the coast include Croatia (in Kotor), Italy (Bar), and Austria (Budva). Greece, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, and Slovenia maintain consulates in Podgorica, while Germany and France have offices in town as well. Various international organizations and NGOs are also present.

The climate varies throughout the country, with the coast experiencing milder weather and the mountains having harsh winters and cooler summers. Podgorica has hot summers (90 şF) and mild winters, with little snow but a fair amount of rain and clouds. Spring and fall are usually quite pleasant.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 10/6/2003 5:47 AM

Opened in 2002 after previous incarnations as a temporary office and a cultural center, the U.S. Consulate is located near the city center in an attractive Mediterranean villa-style building with its own grounds. It holds State Department officers (currently two, slated for several more), local staff (currently nine), and a significant USAID presence.


Most American personnel own cars. There are limited maintenance facilities for American, Japanese, and Korean models, with local cars and other European brands (Renault, Skoda, Fiat, Mercedes) being more popular and easier to repair.

Taxis are plentiful, although somewhat expensive in comparison to other developing countries (around $1/kilometer). However, since the city is small, the overall cost of the ride is usually reasonable. The city does have bus service (there are no trams or subway) but American personnel prefer not to use it.

Travel between cities in Montenegro is possible by car, bus (frequent and cheap), and limited train routes. Roads vary widely in quality, but in general driving is hazardous, with a significantly higher casualty rate than in the U.S. Montenegrin drivers are notably aggressive. International travel is possible by train (to Belgrade and then onwards), car, boat (ferries to Italy), and plane. Montenegro Airlines flies to a number of European cities directly with comfortable and modern jets, while Adria Airways (Slovenia) and JAT (Serbia and Montenegro) fly from Podgorica through Ljubljana and Belgrade, respectively, to many locations.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 10/6/2003 5:48 AM

Newcomers usually occupy their assigned quarters as soon as they arrive, although a TDY apartment is also available. Housing consists of short-term leased houses and apartments, and is generous.

Food Last Updated: 10/6/2003 5:48 AM

Basic food items are plentiful on the local market, and cheap. Fruits and vegetables are available in season. Grocery stores are small, and shopping often requires multiple trips (e.g., grocery store, vegetable market, and butcher). Meat is available and inexpensive, but cuts are rough and sanitation practices are not up to Western standards. Processed foods are generally available, but these are generally European brands and are expensive. Personnel should bring American favorites to post or order them during their tour, as they will almost certainly not be available locally.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 10/6/2003 5:49 AM

Due to the limited international community, English-language services simply do not exist in Podgorica. Orthodox services are conducted in Serbian, and Catholic services in Albanian and Serbian. There is also a Muslim community.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 10/6/2003 5:09 AM Education

There are no English-language education options in Podgorica. Dependent children will likely need to be sent to boarding schools in the U.S. or Western Europe.

Post Orientation Program

Until household effects arrive, newcomers are provided a Welcome Kit containing a variety of information and basic housekeeping equipment (e.g., vacuum cleaner, iron, linens, kitchen utensils, pots, pans, dishes, etc.).

The Consulate's language program includes all U.S. personnel who wish to participate and, depending on funds available, all dependents.

Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 10/6/2003 5:11 AM

Recreation and Social Life

Sports and Outdoor Activities

The principal attraction of Montenegro is its dramatic scenery, which can be appreciated in a variety of ways. The country offers a wealth of outdoor activities, from skiing to hiking to rafting to scuba-diving. As Montenegro is a small country, no place is farther than a day or weekend trip from Podgorica. Although the tourist sector is mostly geared toward beach vacations (and, to a lesser extent, ski trips), facilities do exist for a variety of activities. These, however, are not generally up to American standards, and equipment is not always available, so it should be brought to post.

Podgorica has basic facilities for tennis, volleyball, basketball, swimming, soccer, and various others sports. There are some running paths on the edge of town. Bicycling is not recommended on city streets, due to the aggressive driving, but would be possible (if still hazardous) on the outside of town on less frequented roads. There are some gyms offering basic work-out facilities, but these are not high-quality.


Many good restaurants featuring local or Italian cuisine are in Podgorica or the surrounding area, and these are generally less expensive than in the Washington, DC area. Additionally, many Montenegrins and expats go to the Adriatic cost for lunch or dinner during the warmer months, as these towns have some great restaurants and the commute is reasonable.

Cultural activities in Podgorica are limited. There is a national theater with frequent programming, but the quality of performances can be uneven; almost all is in Serbian. Occasional concerts are given by touring groups. Some of these are held at a local jazz club as well. There are a number of bars, some of them of a sophisticated nature, but few places offering live music or dancing. During the tourist season many places on the coast, however, offer additional entertainment options, and there are occasional festivals (for example, in Budva).

Local motion picture theaters show many American films with Serbian subtitles, as well as other foreign films and local productions. The quality of the theaters is low by American standards, however. American and European films and television series are often shown on local television.

Podgorica has a few professional sports teams, the most popular of which (by far) is the "Buducnost" basketball team, which plays in the Yugoslav League and the Euroleague (depending on results). Post has VIP passes that are available free to employees on a first-come first-served basis.

Social Activities

Entertainment is usually informal. The international community is small but friendly, and Montenegrins in general are warm to Americans and newcomers. Most social gatherings are casual dinners at restaurants or homes, or sometimes evenings at a bar or café. Cocktail parties and other official events rarely, if ever, require formal clothing.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

There are no direct flights from the U.S. to Belgrade. Most personnel travel to Podgorica via Belgrade, to Munich on an American or code-share carrier, and then proceed to Belgrade on Lufthansa. Other transit points include Paris, Vienna, Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Zurich. Make sure your travel plans comply with the Fly America Act.

Airfreight from the U.S. usually arrives within 2 weeks but may arrive later due to heavy passenger loads during summer months. HHE and auto shipments take about 2 months. Be sure to bring enough clothing and other personal items until you receive your UAB. You can also send extra items to yourself by using the 5070 Belgrade Place, Dulles, VA 20189-5070 address.

A hospitality kit with dishes, bed linens and kitchen utensils is available for temporary housekeeping. You will need a large canvas or strong plastic bag for grocery shopping.

Documents to be hand-carried to post should include diplomatic passports with visas, four additional photos, original travel orders and travel authorizations, tickets, travel itinerary, excess baggage coupons, international drivers licenses, all shipping documents, car title, vaccination and medical records, and health records for pets.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

All personal effects such as: airfreight, automobiles, consumables and HHE can only be cleared after your arrival at post with an import permit. Requests for import permits are submitted by GSO through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and usually take 4-5 work days for approval. The permit is then taken to customs and goods are cleared within 1-2 days.

The GSO needs advance copies of any invoice, shipping document, packing list, and a copy of your orders to process your import permit and have it ready when the goods arrive.

Surface shipments are generally received at the Port of Antwerp (ELSO), Belgium. Mark your HHE, Consumables and POV as follows:

Attn: Employee's name American Embassy Belgrade, Yugoslavia Kneza Milosa 50 (Via Antwerp, ELSO)

The Embassy has no storage facilities. Shipments should not arrive prior to the employee. Shipments are held in ELSO/Antwerp until the employee has arrived and is occupying permanent quarters.

Automobiles for diplomatic personnel can be imported duty free. Two vehicles per family can be imported during the first 12 months of their tour. There is no import restriction regarding year, model, type or size of your automobile. "Green card" insurance for travel outside Serbia and Montenegro is now accepted in all European countries with the exception of Kosovo.

Post regulations do not permit the import of explosives or illegal drugs.

Personal effects for diplomatic personnel are exempt from customs inspections, except when they are believed to contain banned items or goods.

Pets Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

There are no quarantine restrictions for cats and dogs or other household pets. Pets must accompany incoming Embassy personnel and should be properly immunized before arrival. To clear the pet through customs, owners must produce immunization records (primarily for rabies) that are certified by a public health authority in the sending country. The health certificate should have been issued not longer than 1 month prior to the pet's departure.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

The Embassy's policy regarding the importation of firearms by American staff and family members, consistent with the law of Serbia and Montenegro, is the following:

Importation of U.S. Government-issued firearms that are required in the performance of official duties at post may be imported by American personnel upon the recommendation of the regional security officer and written approval by the Ambassador. Personally owned firearms may be imported for hunting and sport purposes only. Firearms and ammunition imported from the U.S. require formal export license (Form DSP-5) form the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Customs declarations. The employee is responsible for obtaining necessary documentation and abiding with U.S. law.

Registration of all weapons with the RSO Office and local authorities is required. Employees must contact the RSO Office in advance to obtain the required registration forms and to obtain the Ambassador's written approval, as well as notify the administrative officer of the intent to import weapons. Upon approval from the Ambassador, the Embassy will submit the appropriate Diplomatic Notes to the Federal Government.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

The official currency in Serbia is the dinar (YD). There are 100 para to one dinar. There are paper notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 1000 and 5000 and coins of 50 para, 1, 2, and 5 dinars. The exchange rate as of April 2003 was 58 dinars to US$1.00. U.S. dollars or European Euro are sometimes requested for payment of contracted services. In Montenegro the Euro is the de facto currency.

U.S. dollars can be exchanged at local banks or exchange offices in the city. The Embassy offers accommodation exchange to all eligible employees. All American employees should have their salary deposited directly to their US bank or credit union and care should be made to select a financial institution that has on-line banking services that will accommodate paying of bills and transfer of funds between checking and savings accounts. Payments and reimbursements $100 or more will be deposited by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) directly to your financial institution.

With the exception of two or three locations, credit cards and ATM cards are not accepted. This is currently a cash society. New banking laws are being drafted and will bring the credit back into use in a few years.

The metric system of weights and measures is used in Serbia and Montenegro. Temperature is measured in centigrade.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

The administrative counselor must be notified in advance if an employee wishes to sell personal property that was imported or purchased duty and /or tax free before his departure from post. Approval must be obtained in advance to of sale of all vehicles and any personal property valued over $180. The Ambassador has delegated approval authority to the administrative counselor. Conversion of the proceeds to U.S. dollars by reverse accommodation exchange will be authorized no earlier than 3 months prior to departure from post.

This applies to all U.S. Government personnel, military and civilian, who enjoy duty-free importation and tax-free status. These restrictions are to ensure that individuals do not profit from transactions with persons not entitled to exemptions from import restrictions, duties, or taxes.

Individuals shall not retain any profit from sales of personal property, including any interest earned on that profit. Such profit shall be disposed within 90 days of receipt by contribution or gift to a registered U.S. charity, to be chosen by the employee.

Profits are defined as any proceeds for sale of personal property in excess of the basic cost for such property.

Cost of an item includes the initial price paid, inland and overseas transportation costs (if not reimbursed by the U.S. Government), shipping insurance, taxes, customs fees, duties or other charges, and capital improvements. Cost does not include insurance on an item while in use or storage, maintenance or repair costs, or finance charges.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Awde, Nicholas. Serbo-Croatian-English, English-Serbo-Croatian dictionary. Hippocrene Books. 1996.

Burdett, Anita. The Historical Boundaries Between Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia: Documents and Maps, 1815-1945. Hobbs the Printers of Southampton. 1995.

Cvilic, Christopher. Remaking the Balkans.

Dragnich, Alex. Serbia and Yugoslavia: Historical Studies and Contemporary Commentaries. Columbia University Press. 1998.

Glenny, Misha. The Fall of Yugoslavia: The Third Balkan War. Penguin. 1996.

Janicijevic, Jovan. Serbian Culture Through Centuries. Yugoslav Authors' Agency. 1990.

Judah, Tim. The Serbs:History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia. Yale University Press. 2000.

Kaplan, Robert. Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History. Random House, 1994.

Labon, Joanna. Balkan Blues: Writing Out of Yugoslavia. Northwestern University Press. 1995.

Lampe, John R. Yugoslavia as History: Twice There Was a Country. Cambridge University Press. 2000.

Lanham, Md. Historical Dictionary of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Scarecrow Press. 1998.

Lindsay, Franklin. Beacons in the Night: With the OSS and Tito's Partisans in Wartime Yugoslavia. Stanford University Press. 1993.

Pavlowitch, Stevan. Serbia: The History Behind the Name. Hurst. 2002.

Petrovich, Michael. A History of Modern Serbia, 1804-1918. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1976.

Ramet, Sabrina. Balkan Babel: The Disintegration of Yugoslavia from the Death of Tito to the War for Kosovo. Westview Press. 1999.

Roberts, Walter. Tito, Mihajlovic, and the Allies, 1941-1945. Duke University Press. 1987.

Siber, Laura. The Death of Yugoslavia. Penguin. 1995.

Thomas, Robert. The Politics of Serbia in the 1990s. Columbia University Press. 1999.

Thomas, Robert. Serbia Under Milosevic: Politics in the 1990s. Hurst. 1999.

West, Rebecca. Black Lamb & Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia. Macmillan London Limited. 1942.

Zimmerman, Warren. Origins of Catastrophe: Yugoslavia and Its Destroyers. Times Books, 1996.

Web sites of Interest

Serbia Serbia's official web site: Facts about Serbia: City of Belgrade: Government of the Republic of Serbia:

Serbia and Montenegro Federal Republic of Serbia and Montenegro: Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Directory of Non-Governmental Organizations: American Embassy:

Local Holidays Last Updated: 2/28/2003 6:00 PM

Jan. 1 New Year's Day S/M Jan. 2 New Year's Day S/M Jan. 6 Orthodox Christmas Eve M Jan. 7 Orthodox Christmas S/M Jan. 8 Orthodox Christmas M **Mar. 28 Serbian State Day S April 25 Orthodox Good Friday M April 28 Orthodox Easter Monday S/M May 1 May Day S/M May 2 May Day S/M July 13 Revolution Day M

According to the Serbian holiday law, when either day of a 2-day holiday falls on a Sunday, the next working day becomes a holiday and when a holiday falls on a Saturday, it will not be observed on the preceding Friday.

According to the Montenegrin holiday law, if any holiday should fall on a Sunday, the next working day becomes a holiday.

**Please note that Serbian holidays are subject to change.

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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