15 December 2020.  National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic at the conference World in 2021.

15 December 2020. National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic at the conference World in 2021.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Dacic at Conference World in 2021: Serbia Readily Faced Crisis Caused by COVID-19 Pandemic

The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic addressed the participants of the World in 2021 conference, pointing out that the corona virus pandemic was changing the world as we knew it only a year ago, and what that world would look like next year and in the years ahead depended on the decisions we made today.


In the introductory part of his address, Dacic added that he saw the conference as an important opportunity to try to shape the future, by first recognizing what had happened to us at the end of the year and how we approached these challenges.

"We cannot choose when a crisis will occur, but what we can and are obliged to do is to be prepared for its arrival. Serbia is ready for the crisis, in every sense - in terms of the readiness of our health system to preserve public health, in the field of economy, social protection and preservation of living standards, but also in terms of the normal course of all democratic political processes. The time distance from the beginning of the pandemic until today, gives us the full right to say that", said Dacic and added that this was because of the economic stability and constant growth achieved in the previous period.

"In these crisis conditions, Serbia has managed not only to preserve jobs and unhindered economic flows, but continued to attract investments and develop its strategic infrastructure projects. This would not have been possible without the extraordinary engagement of our entire system, starting with the President of the Republic, the Government, Parliament and local self-governments. And especially, it would not have been possible without the immense responsibility and solidarity of our citizens, who dedicated themselves to each other during the crisis, and in a vast majority stood behind the measures and recommendations coming from the state", said National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic.

Dacic said that he was sure that we could already summarize that Serbia and its citizens have overcome the greatest crisis of their time in a way that would do them credit and be a matter of pride for future generations.

"Since we did not give up our ambitious development plans and strategies even in the crisis year of 2020, we will certainly not do that in the year ahead which we rightly expect to be incomparably more stable and predictable. We have many reasons to be optimistic. First of all, we expect the normalization of health conditions, given the availability of vaccines against COVID-19, which our state authorities are working intensively to procure. By fulfilling this unavoidable prerequisite, the door opens for us to fully consolidate our economic opportunities and continue to grow. Such expectations are realistic because during the crisis, Serbia is at the very top of Europe in terms of preserving growth and other positive economic parameters, which was also noted by the European Commission. It is a momentum for the continued attraction of direct foreign investments, in which we have been an uncontested record holder in this part of Europe for years", said Dacic.

He added that in terms of reform, Serbia is more than ready to continue its accession negotiations with the European Union, which is still our foreign policy priority.

"I expect you and this conference to offer good advice, creative ideas and good intentions, so that we can all be proud of Serbia’s new successes and progress in the coming year," Ivica Dacic said.

The following is the speech of the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia in its entirety:

"Mr President,

Dear members of the Government,

Your Excellencies,

Dear participants of the conference,

Welcome to the National Assembly, once again the host of this important conference where we will, I hope, give at least some answers to numerous questions opened this year in the economic, political and cultural life of Serbia, Europe and the world.

Behind us is, in many ways, a unique year in recent history, marked by challenges that neither our country nor modern civilization has faced in this generation. The corona virus pandemic is changing the world we knew only a year ago, and we are all participating in that change. What everything will look like next year and in the years ahead depends on the decisions we make today. And that is why I see this conference of ours as an important opportunity to try to shape the future, by first recognizing what happened to us at the end of the year and how we approached these challenges.

A little less than a year ago, at the end of February, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, I was in official visit to China and talked with its highest officials. Although China was already affected by the COVID-19 epidemic at that time, and had harsh quarantine measures, no one could have estimated how fast and intense the virus would spread around the world and what consequences it would have. The very fact that even then you could travel around the world for important state visits, testifies to the fact that only nine months ago we lived in the belief that our everyday life will not be changed to any significant degree.

We cannot choose when a crisis will occur, but what we can and are obliged to do is to be prepared for its arrival. Serbia is ready for the crisis, in every sense - in terms of the readiness of our health system to preserve public health, in the field of economy, social protection and preservation of living standards, but also in terms of the normal course of all democratic political processes. The time distance from the beginning of the pandemic until today, gives us the full right to say that.

Because it had achieved economic stability and constant growth in the previous period, in these crisis conditions, Serbia has managed not only to preserve jobs and unhindered economic flows, but continued to attract investments and develop its strategic infrastructure projects. This would not have been possible without the extraordinary engagement of our entire system, starting with the President of the Republic, the Government, Parliament and local self-governments. And especially, it would not have been possible without the immense responsibility and solidarity of our citizens, who dedicated themselves to each other during the crisis, and in a vast majority stood behind the measures and recommendations coming from the state. No matter how things develop in the time ahead, and I am convinced that we are moving towards putting an end to the crisis, I am sure that we can already summarize that that Serbia and its citizens have overcome the greatest crisis of their time in a way that would do them credit and be a matter of pride for future generations.

As you know, for a moment the extraordinary circumstances shook but they did not disrupt our democratic, political life, and the best proof of this is that we managed to organize and conduct the regular parliamentary and local elections according to full democratic standards. This June, Serbia was among the first European countries to hold elections, despite the crisis and extraordinary circumstances, which several other European countries did after us, I am sure using some of our experiences. By constituting the National Assembly, and then the Government and making other important decisions, we did not allow the extreme social circumstances to hinder democratic political life and its development. I remind you that a few days ago, here in the parliament, under regular deadlines and procedure, we adopted the budget for next year, which is another proof of the stability and vitality of our entire system in times of crisis.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Since we did not give up our ambitious development plans and strategies even in the crisis year of 2020, we will certainly not do that in the year ahead which we rightly expect to be incomparably more stable and predictable. We have many reasons to be optimistic. First of all, we expect the normalization of health conditions, given the availability of vaccines against COVID-19, which our state authorities are working intensively to procure. By fulfilling this unavoidable prerequisite, the door opens for us to fully consolidate our economic opportunities and continue to grow. Such expectations are realistic because during the crisis, Serbia is at the very top of Europe in terms of preserving growth and other positive economic parameters, which was also noted by the European Commission. It is a momentum for the continued attraction of direct foreign investments, in which we have been an uncontested record holder in this part of Europe for years.

In terms of reform, Serbia is more than ready to continue its accession negotiations with the European Union, which is still our foreign policy priority. We await the period after the crisis ready, and even with some impatience, to show all of our social and economic potentials to the full.

I expect you and this conference to offer good advice, creative ideas and good intentions, so that we can all be proud of Serbia’s new successes and progress in the coming year.

Once again - with gratitude to the organizers for continuing this beautiful tradition, I wish you a warm welcome and successful conference!

Thank you!"


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