The Serbian Green Recovery Tour is co-organized by the European Green Party, Zajedno za Srbiju (Together for Serbia) and Ne Davimo Beograd (Don’t Let Belgrade Drown).
From 3-6 February the Recovery Campaign visited Niš, Subotica, Užice and Kragujevac with an indoor exhibition on key topics of the Green Recovery that relate to the European and national contexts. Four public panels and side meetings with activists and local politicians were organised alongside the exhibition.
Each panel covered a topic closely linked to post-pandemic recovery in Europe and Serbia. We hosted national and European parliamentarians, EGP committee members, academia representatives, NGOs and civil society.
Niš, 3 February – Just Recovery
SRB Nebojsa Zelenovic (Together for Serbia), Minja Nikolić (Expert in Social Issues), Rastislav Dinic (Ne Davimo Beograd - Don’t let Belgrade drown) Aleksandar Jovanovic (Ekoloski ustanak - Environmental Uprising)
Moderator: Danica Dobrosavljevic (Zajedno za Srbiju - Together for Serbia)
Serbia is country with widening social inequality due to the health crisis. The inflation and price growth affect vulnerable communities more than others. Low-income households are affected twice as much as due to inflation since they spend most on food and energy, the two categories that have biggest price growth.
Minimum wage is still not sufficient to have a decent life, living costs are continuing to rise since the pandemic. Europe needs to stand together in providing a just recovery where no one is left behind. That’s why during the event we looked at how member countries and the European Union reacted to the crisis, and what kind of support is provided to the most vulnerable. Recovery in the field of social care needs to be fair and targeted. Support for those who need it the most should be sufficient and change their position in future.
Subotica, 4 February – Green Transformation
EU Michael Bloss (Member of the European Parliament), Oras Tynkkynen (Committee Member of the European Greens)
SRB Aleksandar Jovanovic Ćuta (Ekoloski ustanak - Environmental Uprising), Predrag Momcilovic (journalist, researcher), Arpad Černik (Entrepreneur), Iva Markovic (Co-founder of Right to Water Initiative), Nebojsa Zelenovic (Lawyer and Former Mayor of Sabac)
Moderator: Kristina Milosevic (Economist and Former Local Councillor)
The key to the Green Recovery is to focus on green and sustainable future that includes green economy. Serbia needs to transform from a country of dirty energy and old technologies to a green and circular economy. We need to provide green jobs, develop and support the green industry, and start a green transition as fast as we can.
Recovery as we see it is an opportunity to start this change and make sure to protect the environment in the process. We don’t want fast solutions that will cause more damage in the future. We want clean air, water and land to be the priority.
There are plenty of European countries which are well on their way to complete the transformation, so we looked at their solutions and learned how we can speed up our transformation. We touched upon the fact that many other European countries have a much higher potential to generate renewable power, and whether it would be possible to move towards an EU-wide energy policy.
Užice, 5 February – Human Rights and Rule of Law
EU Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield (Member of the European Parliament), Evelyne Huytebroeck (Co-chair of the European Green Party)
SRB Nebojsa Zelenovic (Zajedno za Srbiju - Together for Serbia), Jovan Rajic (Lawyer and Director of RERI), Svetlana Avramovic (Initiative for Pozega), Aleksandar Jovanovic (Ecoloski ustanak - Environmental Uprising)
Human rights and rule of law are impossible to neglect in a crisis. Some reports such as V-Dem suggest that Serbia’s freedom violations were three times higher than the European average in 2021. Serbia is also fifth in the top ten autocratic countries in the period 2010-2020. As a candidate state, Serbia must improve its approach towards human rights and the rule of law.
The rights of certain groups such as migrants and refugees have been especially violated, and certain vulnerable communities have been neglected in response to the pandemic. Our response must be clear – human rights for all! We need to provide measures that will enhance social mobility, and establish democratic institutions and procedures that protect their rights. There can be no recovery without the recovery of democracy!
During this event we looked at how Serbia should fight for the rule of law to be restored in the country and in Europe. Considering the pandemic, we spoke about how to strengthen both the EU and Serbian law to prepare for the upcoming challenges connected to post-pandemic recovery and climate catastrophe.
Kragujevac, 6 February – Economy
EU Evelyne Huytebroeck (co-chair of the European Green Party)
SRB Nikola Nesic (Local Councilor) Slobodan Jerotic (Expert in Energy Efficiency), Svetislav Kostic (University of Belgrade, Faculty of Law), Nebojsa Zelenovic (Lawyer and Former Mayor of Sabac), Dusica Barovic (Local Councillor)
The pandemic clearly showed the need to provide better protection of worker's rights as part of a just recovery in Europe. Better workplace protection and health care are necessary. Meaningful and targeted support for the most-affected economic sectors and citizens must be part of the recovery. Lessons can be learnt from the responses that other European countries have had to the global pandemic. We can also better understand the main issues that we face, such as relying on distant providers of essential goods.
During the event, we drew attention to situations in Serbia and the European Union. The European perspective to understand what kind how pandemic responses affected different countries’ economies and what steps European institutions are taking on a pan-European level.
We invite you to join us in Riga, Latvia, on 3-5 June 2022. We are looking forward to gathering as a family once again in these unique times to shape our political action and elect the new Committee of the European Green Party. Come participate and contribute your ideas on how to fight for a more free, peaceful, and democratic Europe that addresses the social, economic and climate crises today.
We are happy to invite you to the Resilient Municipalities and Regions conference by the Local Councillors Network, Greening from the Ground Up: Our Commitment to Resilience, May 7th and 8th, 2022.