National Day Message by H. E. Mr. Željko Jović, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Serbia to the Republic of Bulgaria

The Republic of Serbia, the Serbian people and all of our citizens celebrate the Statehood Day on 15 February with pride and deep respect. On this day we remember the glorious times, the times of suffering and anguish, but also the times of great struggle, self-denial and example of strength, unity and heroism, an example of how great ideas and great dreams become reality if they are sincerely desired and fought for without compromise.

The Statehood Day of the Republic of Serbia itself was established as a commemoration of the day when the First Serbian Uprising was raised at a national gathering in the town of Orasac in 1804, as a reaction to the Serbs' plight under Turkish rule, with a strong will for full liberation. The Serbian people want, above all, freedom, but in those moments they also had a clear vision of where they wanted to go and what kind of country they wanted to build. From that day on, numerous important steps would follow for Serbia, the aim of which was the building of new state institutions, the abolition of feudalism and a general cultural revival.

Otherwise, February 15 is also celebrated as the Constitution Day of Serbia, as a commemoration of the day when the first Constitution of the Principality of Serbia, the so-called Sretenska Constitution, was issued and confirmed in Kragujevac, in 1835, which at that time was one of the most modern, most democratic and most liberal constitutions in Europe. With it de facto, and de jure feudalism in Serbia is abolished, and the doors to human rights and freedoms are wide open. 

Today, the Republic of Serbia is a modern state whose foreign policy is primarily aimed at good neighbourliness, regional cooperation and stability, through continuous political dialogue and readiness for constructive and long-term sustainable solutions. It is also our enduring goal to make steady economic progress, digitalise and generally modernise all our potentials. As in 2020, this second year of the pandemic, which has left devastating consequences in all segments of society, especially the economy in much more developed countries, Serbia continues to win. With the decisive and wise decisions of its political leadership, with sound and specific policy  and with that clear vision of where and how we want to go, we continue to build our infrastructure that connects us first and foremost to our neighbours, and that will give a new perspective for life and work to our children. Soon we expect the section of the motorway to the Bulgarian border that we completed, to be connected to the Bulgarian section of the EUROPE motorway, at the entrance to the Republic of Bulgaria. Recently we solemnly celebrated the start of the work on the gas interconnector

between our two countries, which will give us opportunity for further diversification and for the much desired higher degree of energy security. It is with these great undertakings in the most important infrastructure projects, the strong drive of the Serbian economy was formed, which led to Serbia being among the first countries in Europe and the Eurozone in terms of total GDP - 7. 5%, and at the same time our common external debt to be below that which is stated in  the Maastricht Treaty.

In the war that we have fought and are still fighting with the common invisible enemy of all mankind, the Coronavirus, we have been able to protect first and foremost our oldest population, as well as to help other countries in this fight, to protect the economy and, even more, to improve our health sector. Alongside the continuous support for Serbian doctors and medical staff, which has been expressed in salary increases as well as timely one-off financial bonuses, four completely new Covid hospitals have been built, equipped with the most modern medical equipment. Through the extraordinary efforts of the state leadership, vaccines have been secured from five manufacturers and several thousand young doctors and nurses have been given jobs in the health sector.

Serbia today, as well as a long time ago, wants to be an example of how in these difficult times we can move forward with our heads held high and in indivisible unity towards a better future, a future that our children and our grandchildren will enjoy.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the citizens and institutions of the Republic of Bulgaria for their openness, understanding and willingness for further, even stronger and more robust development of our bilateral relations, of our partnership. Let us resolutely move forward with the clear desire and vision to build a region of stability, peace and prosperity, for the happiness and joy not only of the Serbian and Bulgarian people, but also of all the other peoples that live and wish to live in our beautiful Balkans.


Photo courtesy of the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Bulgaria.