The environment, COVID-19, and sustainable development were among the topics highlighted when Prince Albert II paid his first official visit to the Republic of Serbia at the invitation of President Aleksandar Vučić this week, but the highlight was a new economic agreement between the two countries.
Prince Albert was welcomed at the Serbian Palace in Belgrade by President Vučić during an official ceremony on 7 October and the pair met one-on-one before being joined by their respective delegations for a meeting to kick off the two-day visit.
An important part of their economic discussions was the signing of a new agreement between the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Monaco Economic Board. The Principality of Monaco and Serbia only just formed diplomatic relations in 2007, and this agreement is a step toward strengthening cooperation and increasing trade between the two entities.Embed from Getty Images
In addition to the economy, their meeting focused on tourism, new information technologies, the promotion of renewable energies, conservation of biodiversity, and preservation of seas and oceans. Prince Albert also spoke with the President about “the possibility for Serbia to join the Alliance for Multilateralism, launched at the UN by France and Germany, joined by Monaco and many other countries,” according to the Princely Palace.
Following the meeting, the President announced that Serbia would join the Alliance thanks to Prince Albert’s encouragement.
Prince Albert was presented with the decoration of the Order of the Republic of Serbia by President Vučić “as a symbol of the development and strengthening of peaceful cooperation and friendly relations between Serbia and the Principality of Monaco.”
In the afternoon, Prince Albert visited the National Museum in Belgrade, the oldest museum in Serbia, and viewed objects including paintings and sculptures by Serbian artists, ancient findings, and frescoes from Đurđevi Stupovi, an Orthodox monastery founded in 1168.
President Vučić held an official dinner in honour of Prince Albert to end the first day of the visit, attended by Princess Maria Pia of Savoy and her sons Prince Serge of Yugoslavia and Prince Michael of Yugoslavia.
As part of his commitment to the environment, the second day of Prince Albert’s trip focused on visiting local natural settings and started in Bački Monoštor, a Serbian village on a small peninsula near the Croatian border known as “the village with seven canals” because it is only accessible by seven bridges. He then visited the reserve of Backo Podunavlje biosphere, part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since June 2017.
Prince Albert also viewed a beekeeping farm and a Mali Bodrog, “an ethno-house presenting the typical traditional setting, lifestyle and period objects of a Serbian house.”
“The Republic of Serbia and the Principality of Monaco can seem different in many ways, but I believe that the complementarities and common points of our countries will be trump cards for strengthening our relations at different levels,” Prince Albert said.