Kragujevac, 16 September 2023 – In an extraordinary atmosphere, the 20th jubilee of German-Serbian development cooperation was celebrated this Saturday in Kragujevac. This unique event was organized by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the German Development Bank (KfW) and supported by the City of Kragujevac.
The organizers made a special effort to prepare an event with a diverse, innovative, educational, cultural and entertainment programme for all generations. The guests were welcomed by Her Excellency, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Serbia Ms Anke Konrad, Minister for European Integration of the Government of the Republic of Serbia Tanja Miščević and Mayor of the City of Kragujevac Nikola Dašić.
Ambassador Konrad pointed out that Germany had allocated more than 2.5 billion euros for Serbia in development cooperation, and in this way Germany had become Serbia’s most important bilateral partner.
“Our three focal points are “economy and employment”, “climate and energy” and “good governance” – we are convinced that taken together, these three areas pave the way for a successful Serbia that can face the challenges of the 21st century, become part of the EU community and gradually improve the living conditions of its people” said Ambassador Konrad.
Serbian minister for European Integration Tanja Miščević pointed out in her speech that the Republic of Serbia is extremely grateful to Germany for its help so far, and that through this cooperation it will be ready to contribute to European standards and values in the future.
“Twenty years of successful development cooperation has brought a lot to Serbia, but also to Germany: an important partnership and extensive cooperation in all areas of the economy and society.” With around 2.3 billion euros of aid so far, more than two million citizens of Serbia have better water and electricity supplies, better heating in winter; thousands of jobs were created, especially in rural areas, including jobs that enabled the employment of Roma; secondary vocational schools were reformed in such a way that 60 percent of students have found a job in their field within six months of obtaining their diploma. The result is faster development of the Serbian economy and our progress in the process of European integration, and so we contribute to the European Union’s goal of reaching the ideal of a united, safe and developed Europe”, said Minister Miščević.
Mayor of Kragujevac Nikola Dašić said that in cooperation with GIZ the City of Kragujevac has so far implemented a variety of projects. One of them is a dual education programme at the Secondary Technical School that helps train students for the needs of the local economy. A project focused on energy efficiency in public buildings, including schools, was also carried out. Kragujevac is also working on the implementation of the National Strategy for Roma Inclusion and has developed a series of integrated measures to support the social and economic inclusion of this minority group.
“Kragujevac can serve as a model for other local governments in Serbia, and I believe that this is precisely why we were chosen to host the event of 20+ years of German-Serbian development cooperation”, concluded Mayor Dašić.
Dance and music groups performed on the central stage, and participants visited stands where they could learn about the key achievements and projects of the German-Serbian development cooperation in Kragujevac and Serbia. They also took part in the many interesting activities related to environment and sustainability. The guests especially enjoyed German culinary specialities, and the many gifts that were distributed on the occasion.
The whole occasion was arranged in the name of sustainability and environmental protection, and during the event a hotel for insects was built in the Children’s corner, which was then ceremoniously installed in the Great Park as a gift to the City of Kragujevac from the German partners, but also as a symbolic beginning of the upcoming Climate Week that Germany is organizing in Serbia. Good music, delicious food and drinks, workshops for children, a raffle which held prizes of 10 bicycles for the lucky winners and many other activities contributed to making this event in honour of the friendly relations between Germany and Serbia an unforgettable memory for all visitors.