On Monday, May 9th the European Movement in Serbia celebrated Europe Day with an all-day event in Belgrade, organized with the support of the Heinrich Boll Stiftung Foundation in Belgrade, the International European Movement and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation in Belgrade. In addition to Belgrade, the hosts of the celebration were also EMinS’s local councils in Leskovac, Valjevo, Kraljevo, Kruševac and Sremska Mitrovica. At the same time, the Europe Day celebration program organized by the EU Delegation in Serbia was implemented in Novi Sad, in which the European Movement in Serbia also participated.
The entire event, which was visited by over 100 passersby and more than 50 active participants, was marked with the message ” A MAN SHOULD BE HUMAN TO ANOTHER MAN – STOP INHUMANITY” in order to draw attention to the protest against the war in Ukraine and pay respect to those who died in unimaginable war horrors and destruction in the last two months.
In the morning, members of the Youth Forum of the European Movement in Serbia carried out a street action on the Republic Square in Belgrade. Young people played the game “Wheel of EU Values” and made statements about the importance of elementary EU values such as: freedom, participation, democracy, rule of law, human rights and the like. In addition to promoting EU values, young people also sent anti-war messages and messages of support to their peers in Ukraine who are facing the war crisis.
The manifestation of the Europe Day celebration took center stage at Cvetni Trg in the period from 18:00 to 23:00. The celebration started with a play by a youth theater group “Our World, Our Rules”, which brings together a dozen high school students from Vranje and Belgrade. The theater group’s performance contained historical statements of Europeanization while sending a clear reminder about the importance of the European Union as an anti-war project and an actor which encourages friendship and cooperation between the nations. The celebration ended with the performance of Đorđe Balašević’s song “Samo da rata ne bude”, which attracted the attention of numerous passersby and visitors to Cvetni Trg.
As part of the program, video materials of the “Together for Europe” campaign of the International European Movement were released, with the aim of sending a unified message that “in times of crisis, we realize that we are stronger together” and that “solidarity, freedom and peace connect us”. The direct involvement of the European Movement in Serbia team at the central celebration of Europe Day in Novi Sad, enriched the program by going live and presenting the atmosphere and the number of people who celebrated “solidarity, freedom and peace”. This live broadcast was followed by a series of live reports on the celebration of Europe Day from Leskovac, Valjevo, Kraljevo, Kruševac and Sremska Mitrovica, which in different ways sent messages of cooperation and friendship for the common European future of Serbia and other European countries. The European Movement in Serbia Kraljevo in front of its premises organized talks with fellow citizens on the topic of European values and showed a film by the award-winning team of students of the Traffic and Technical High School on the promotion of European values (more about it here). The European movement Valjevo organized a conversation with activists and experts in order to promote the European idea and values, above all peace between peoples and the right to a healthy environment (more on that here).
General Secretary of EMinS, Zvezdana Kovač, when asked by Newsmax Adria how she assesses the decline in citizens’ interest in the EU, said that “it is clear that the government shapes public opinion.” Since the rhetoric of the President of Serbia and certain ministers in the technical mandate has already changed, if the survey were to be conducted now, the majority of citizens would declare themselves in favor of joining the EU. The EU should be Serbia’s choice, not only because of free education and easier movement, but because the EU means peace, democracy, justice and because Serbia would have the right to vote in deciding and shaping the community of which it would be a member.”
Serbian-Portuguese writer Dejan Tiago Stanković, president of the Forum for Culture of the European Movement in Serbia, shared his insights and observations with those present at the celebration, emphasizing the importance of freedom of speech for democratic development and the European path in the framework of the event European talks in the open.
As part of the event, President Jelica Minić ceremoniously presented the “Contribution of the Year to Europe” award to Branka Anđelković, co-founder and program director of the Center for Public Policy Research. The award for “Contribution of the Year to Europe” was established by the European Movement in Serbia and the International European Movement, and is awarded every year for a speech, book, concrete action or attitude of an individual, organization or group of citizens who have significantly contributed to the process of European integration and the promotion of European ideas and values. in our country (more about it here).
The entire program was solemnly brought to an end with the broadcast of the film “Supernova” directed by Harry McQueen, which carries a strong message about the importance of acceptance, inclusion and equal treatment of LGBTQIA+ people. By selecting the film, the European movement in Serbia also reminds that Belgrade will host EuropePride in September 2022, which is being held for the first time in a country that is not yet a member of the European Union.