President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic is giving his address at Biden’s Summit for Democracy on Thursday, December 9 at 10:30 am ET and will lay out his agenda for “the further strengthening of democratic values at the global level.”
President Vucic’s address at Biden’s Summit for Democracy is expected to reaffirm Serbia’s commitment to democracy and highlight Serbia’s key foreign policy goal for full membership in the European Union.
President Vucic will talk about the “Open Balkan” initiative, free and fair elections, minority and human rights, and the fight against corruption.
The Pavlovic Today has obtained President Vucic’s address at Biden’s Summit for Democracy as prepared for delivery.
Distinguished President Biden,
Esteemed Heads of State and Government,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my special honor and a pleasure to have the opportunity to address you today at this event that I find to be extremely important for the further strengthening of democratic values at the global level.
It is very positive that the United States has recognized the need to organize such an event that promotes and reminds of the importance of democratic values, at a time when there is talk of a “crisis of democracy.”
Our country has been making continuous efforts to strengthen a democratic society in which all citizens enjoy equal rights and opportunities to develop their own potential and participate in all aspects of social, cultural, political and economic life. We are committed to combating corruption, strengthening human rights and we are focused on achieving concrete results in this area, both at the domestic and foreign policy levels.
Serbia is fully committed to European values, democratic principles, and the rule of law. Full membership of the European Union is our key foreign policy priority and therefore we are making continuous efforts in our accession process to the European Union, which includes adopting the best European practices and examples in areas such as the rule of law and anti-corruption.
Additionally, we are preparing for the upcoming elections in the Spring to ensure everyone’s voices are heard. We reinstated the working group on elections, mediated by the EU, and have amended laws to ensure political parties feel equal.
In the previous period, we paid special attention to achieving the best possible overall relations and cooperation in the region. Strengthening of contacts and better infrastructural connectivity are the starting point for a higher quality of life for citizens, which facilitates dialogue on respect for democratic values.
In this spirit, Serbia has launched the “Open Balkan” initiative, which I am convinced that by promoting the four freedoms of movement – of people, goods, capital and services, creates conditions for the strengthening of all democratic values. Our guiding principle is that no one should be left aside in the exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms.
Therefore, let me express my conviction that the Summit for Democracy is the right opportunity to highlight the need for equal treatment of all peoples and religious groups in the region in order to further strengthen stability in this part of Europe, which is a precondition for creating an even more prosperous and future-oriented Western Balkans. Serbia has also demonstrated the contribution it makes to the rule of law and the strengthening of the democratic process through results and a transparent approach achieved at the national level in the fight against corruption and the strengthening of the rule of law.
Let me also emphasize that our country is equally committed to respecting minority rights, which are a legacy we are especially proud of. In that sense, we remind you that our system of protection of minorities has received the highest praise from a number of impartial international sources. Serbia is also the leader in the region when it comes to gender equality.
The Government of the Republic of Serbia is led by a female Prime Minister and consists of almost 50% of women. The posts of heads of city and municipal administrations are held by over 70 women. In the judiciary 56% of public prosecutors are women, in courts of general jurisdiction there are 69% of women and in courts of special jurisdiction 76.3%.
I am also announcing a new initiative, which I believe that the other leaders of the Western Balkans also support. Together we need to accelerate inclusion for the Roma. We need to invest in Roma who are demographically vibrant, entrepreneurial and multilingual but this community has been the most excluded from prosperity and hardest hit during COVID.
With every abuse of democratic principles, we are only deceiving ourselves and thus hampering our own well-being in the first place. This was especially highlighted by the current pandemic, reminding us that no one is immune to global threats and that we must demonstrate that democracies are capable of rising to these common challenges and delivering for our citizens.
Serbia is ready to be a consistent and reliable partner to this end, in the future as well.
Thank you for your attention.