The event called “Grad Evrope”, which is a part of the celebration of Europe Day in Serbia, was held at the Nikola Pasic Square in Belgrade. A large number of citizens used the opportunity to spend a sunny Saturday by becoming familiar with the culture, history, and tradition of the countries of the European Union, playing basketball, and enjoying many other activities.
The event, part of the campaign #EUzaTebe, was officially opened by the Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Ambassador Sem Fabrizi, Romanian Ambassador Oana Cristina Popa, Mayor of Belgrade Zoran Radojicic, as well as former basketball players Natasa Kovacevic and Dejan Tomasevic.
Ambassador Fabrizi said that the cultural diversity that visitors have had the opportunity to see is an essential European value. He pointed out that the European Union is not with Serbia only on the Day of Europe, on May 9th, but every day.
“I sincerely hope that the citizens of Belgrade today feel closer to the European Union because we want to be closer to you and to tell you our stories, which are also yours. Tales of unity in Europe, peace, and harmony and looking to a better future”, the ambassador said.
He pointed out that the EU is not only represented by bureaucratic institutions, but also by people living in EU member states and said that he was happy to see the ambassadors of European countries in Belgrade at this event. Among them was the Ambassador of Romania, the country which is presiding the EU in the first half of the year. In the first place, she pointed out one of the goals of the Presidency, promoting European values, and sees such events as a way to bring them closer to people.
“Two days ago in Romania, the EU Leaders Summit was held, where it was once again confirmed that we are building a unique and powerful Europe that will be ready to receive Serbia in its membership,” said Ambassador Popa.
The Mayor of Belgrade stated that he is very pleased that the Square of Nikola Pašić symbolically became a small EU, adding that Serbia’s strategic goal is membership in the Union.
“What is important to all of us and to all of us who are engaged in politics is the message that it takes more of these events to say that we do our job better. Without high politics, we can make life better and more beautiful, for Belgraders, for citizens of Serbia, Europe, and the world,” Radojicic said.
— Ambassador Sem Fabrizi (@FabriziSem) May 11, 2019
FIBA Ambassador Nataša Kovačević and General Secretary of the Basketball Association of Serbia Dejan Tomašević reminded that the Women’s Eurobasket will partly be held in three cities in Serbia this year. It will be an opportunity to see the best European basketball in Belgrade, Nis and Zrenjanin, Kovacevic said.
More than 20 Member States were represented at the stands that were in the central part of the event. Visitors were thus able to enjoy specialties from various parts of Europe, but also to become acquainted with cultural specifics and to find out some new cooperation between the EU countries and Serbia. The participating countries prepared an interesting music and stage program, so the opera, Serbian kafana music in German performance, the Belgian music knowledge quiz, the Spanish dance, the Slovak and Polish folk songs were performed on the stage during the day.
Basketball court attracted great attention. Guests, players from Serbian wheelchair basketball association, young and older were able to play 3 on 3 basketball, while the pauses between the matches lasted the Trip Around Europe competition, where visitors shot from the various positions on the field in a race for valuable prizes, such as the ONO BIKE bicycle, whose creation was supported through EU’s main climate innovation initiative Climate-KIC. This two-point is a Serbian product created with the support of the EU, it is almost three meters long and draws attention with the unusual design.
Right next to the court, there was a Throne Zone, where an authentic trophy that will be given to the Women’s Eurobasket Champions in a few months was presented, which many passers-by used for taking photos.
There were other places where you could make creative photos. Many chose to take a picture with a tractor, which represented aid to Serbian farmers within the IPARD program. Also, as part of the SelectEU project, visitors could send personalized postcards to their friends in Europe.
The most laughter, however, came from the kids’ corner. On a beautiful day, they could enjoy playing with the animators who prepared games and creative workshops for them. They participated in competitions in athletics such as running or jumping. Also, the most curious learned something new about the world around them watching scientific experiments.
“Grad Evrope” is part of the campaign #EUzaTebe, which promotes the results of EU development aid to Serbia in the process of European integration. The start of the campaign was officially announced during the reception on the Europe Day (see photos from this ceremony). In addition to these events, in May, many activities were planned in the organization of the EU Delegation to Serbia and the EU Info Network.