Country codes of Serbia

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As state union of Serbia and Montenegro dissolved following the independence referendum in Montenegro, newly independent Serbia dealt with the issue of assignment of country codes. This task, which could seem trivial, is made hugely complex by the number of countries in the world having names which begin with the letter S. In September 2006, the proposal of the Serbian government to obtain the code RS (Republic of Serbia) was accepted by ISO.

Summary[edit]

Code Country status International status Result
ISO 3166-1 alpha-2, also TLD Decided Confirmed by ISO RS
ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 Decided Confirmed by ISO SRB
International licence plate code Not yet determined SRB[citation needed]
Country calling code Decided Confirmed by ITU +381
ISO 4217 currency code for Serbian dinar Decided Confirmed by ISO RSD

Two-letter ISO 3166-1 alpha-2[edit]

This code, used also as Internet TLD, was a major problem with the ISO's assignment of country codes to Serbia. All combinations of S as a first letter and any other letter in word Serbia, or even Srbija (in Serbian), are already taken by other states:

Country names α-2
 Saudi Arabia SA
 Slovenia SI
 Solomon Islands SB
 Suriname SR
Norway Svalbard and Jan Mayen SJ
 Sweden SE

The Government of Serbia made an official request that the alpha-2 code for Serbia should be RS (Republic of Serbia), but there is an ISO recommendation against any reference to the form of government in these codes. RS could also be an abbreviation for the historical name of today's Serbia, Raška or Rascia which would be in full compliance with this rule (see .ch). The proposal, after an initial rejection by ISO, was accepted in September 2006.[1]

There are at least four examples where the rule against inclusion of government form was broken (Democratic Republic of the Congo has the code CD, Federated States of Micronesia has the code FM, Switzerland has the code CH that stems from country's official Latin name Confœderatio Helvetica, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has the code KP, despite the fact that the codes KO and KA are available), and Serbia had good arguments for the use of the RS code, because not a single one of the free codes beginning with S can be associated with it. RS is also frequently used as an acronym for Republika Srpska, an entity of nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina; this is not a conflict but adds the potential for confusion. Other solutions could have been "generic" SS or SX, although SS was likely to be avoided for its association with the Nazi Schutzstaffel.

As this code is also to be used as Internet top-level domain for the country, there had been rumours of approaching either International Organization for Standardization, United Nations or one of the countries in the list in order to switch the codes.

Negotiating the purchase or usage of the .sj Internet domain reserved for Svalbard and Jan Mayen was not a plausible option as Norway, which administers this (through UNINETT Norid), has a policy of not commercializing or disposing of this domain.[2]

Also, as SB is historic code for Serbia, it was hinted that the country could pursue talks with Solomon Islands. However, it is worth noting that since ISO 3166-1 requires that a code is unused for five years before it can be re-used, this may not be possible even with the consent of the ISO and the previous holder, as users of the standard may object.

Three-letter ISO 3166-1 alpha-3[edit]

A choice between the English mnemonic SER or the Serbian SRB was the main issue with the alpha-3 code.[citation needed] A possible compromise between the two, SBA, was also been mentioned.[citation needed] (SRB should be immediately recognizable by speakers of most European languages, including English, though.)

The National Institute for Standardization,[clarification needed] in line with proposed alpha-2 code (SP), decided that SPA should be the alpha-3 code for Serbia.[3] The logic of this proposal was unclear, since this decision had not been elaborated by the Institute, however it had resulted in a public outcry and was amended by the Government of Serbia, which proposed SRB for the alpha-3 code.[1] This was accepted by the ISO in September 2006.

International licence plate code[edit]

Although one would presume that countries take on the shortest code possible (by rule the same as their ISO 3166-1 alpha-2), that is not the case. Thus, the "attractive" SR and SB are available for Serbia, as Suriname uses SME, while the Solomon Islands are identified by SLB.

Ironically, SRB had been advertised by the press as the likely solution — even though the Kingdom of Serbia used SB from 1911 to 1919, when it was replaced by SHS, followed by Y, YU and SCG. Abbreviation S was taken by Sweden the same year, making it unavailable for Serbia, despite being one of first 17 countries in the world to be assigned this code.

Despite that SB and SR are available for this purpose, official government bodies and the media are still maintaining the claim that the international license plate code for Serbia should (and could only) be its ISO-3166-1 alpha-3 code, SRB.

Country calling code[edit]

Serbia will keep the telephone country calling code previously assigned to Serbia and Montenegro, +381. Following the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the country code +38 was divided amongst the newly independent states:

Country Calling code
 Serbia +381
 Montenegro +382
 Croatia +385
 Slovenia +386
 Bosnia and Herzegovina +387
 Macedonia +389

Two other codes from the 38 sequence have also been assigned:

Country Calling code
 Ukraine +380
 European Telephony Numbering Space +388

Montenegro was assigned +382 on 6 September 2006.[4] The new code was phased in during 2007.

ISO 4217[edit]

This code is used for national currency, in this case the Serbian dinar. This three-letter code is composed of, by rule, first two letters of the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 and a third letter is initial of the currency itself: RSD. Exceptions from the rule are made only in the third letter, if that suits the country better — however that is not the case here.

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Vlada predlaže skraćenice RS i SRB" [Government proposes abbreviations RS and SRB]. B92 (in Serbian). 27 July 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "The .bv and .sj top level domains". UNINETT Norid. 3 August 2010. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Kodovi Srbije SP i SPA?" [Serbian codes SP and SPA?]. B92 (in Serbian). 22 July 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Montenegro international code". International Herald Tribune. 6 September 2006. [dead link]

External links[edit]