Nov 3, 2006

What’s in a name?

During Communist times, the East Germans would often joke that, “We pretend to work, and the government pretends to pay us.” In Serbia, the joke has been resurrected, of sorts, as the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs no longer exists, yet individuals calling themselves “Ministers” continue to show up for work.

This state of affairs occurred after Montenegro opted out of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro, leaving the left-over’s of Serbia to unite with Serbia and form the new country of, wait for it, Serbia. It was at this point that the real hilarity insued.

Vuk Draskovic was Foreign Minister of Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Yet, said country no longer exists. Unfortunately, the new Serbian parliament has yet to create a new Foreign Ministry or recognize the de facto existence of the hold-over. The same goes for the Minister of Defense, Zoran Stankovic.

"Every week journalists ask me if I am a minister or if I am not a minister, am I allowed to do some things or am I not allowed to do some things," Stankovic complained on Friday. The prospects for righting the situation look bleak. “Both stayed on as ministers of Serbia but have still not been endorsed by parliament. And they are not likely to be now, because a general election is expected to be called any minute and a new parliament may be sitting by January.”

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