BIRN In Southwest Serbia

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BIRN Serbia and RTS’s (Serbia’s state broadcasting company) ‘Oko
magazine’ programme have joined forces once again, this time in
pursuit of an answer to questions about why the Sandzak region has
failed to adjust to the changing business environment, and if its
deteriorating economic situation is linked to the rising ethnic
tensions in Serbia’s majority Bosniak southwest.

Local businesspeople, experts and citizens have offered their view on
this issue, revealing how  the “Novi Pazar economic miracle”  has
failed to materialise, and how today’s tough social climate influences
growing nationalistic voices in the region.
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During the1990’s, when Milosevic’s Yugoslavia was under international
sanctions, the Sandzak region flourished thanks to businesspeople who
seized opportunities in the ‘grey market’, importing scarce goods and
avoiding administrative barriers.

Counterfeit international jeans brands made Novi Pazar famous in
Serbia and  all around Europe, where “Pazar jeans” found their way
through to the local market.

But following the overthrow of Milosevic in 2000, and the state’s
shift towards a more  regulated market the clouds gathered in the once
sunny Sandzak sky. Some 300 companies have closed since then and
official statistics record an unemployment rate of 54 per cent.

 ‘Oko magazine’ will be broadcast on Tuesday, December 7th at 18.25 pm.