Poštovane ekselencije, gospodo ministri,
Gospodine potpredsedniče Skupštine,
Vaše ekselencije ambasadori,
Vaša kraljevska visočanstva,
Dragi prijatelji i kolege,
Dame i gospodo,
Dobar dan i dobrodošli,
Bonsoir à tous et bienvenus,
Buonasera a tutti i benvenuti,
Moja supruga Fransoaz i ja smo veoma srećni što vas dočekujemo u švajcarskoj rezidenciji. Moja supruga je mnogo više napredovala u znanju srpskog, pa ću ja nastaviti na engleskom, a ona će prevoditi.
Today we are celebrating 728 years of the declaration of independence of the Swiss Confederation. You all know the story of William Tell with the apple and the crossbow. I don’t need to recall it. At that time, we fought on the battle fields for security, independence and justice. Today we defend exactly the same basic values by negotiating in Paris, Berlin, Rome, Washington, Moscow, New-York or Geneva.
Europe would not be Europe without the Western Balkans, without Serbia in particular. We are neighbors. The first striking illustration is the Serbian diaspora in Switzerland who counts almost 200’000 men and women. Moreover, 5% of the Swiss population have as their mother tongue, what we used to call, Serbo-Croatian. This shows the deep connection which binds our people not only with Serbia, but also with the region.
Besides the diaspora, there are at least 3 other features which bind Switzerland and Serbia together. First, we are having outstanding political relations at the highest level with visits at ministerial level. Prime Minister Brnabic met with the Swiss President last fall and should meet him again in September in Bern.
Second, bilateral trade and investments are growing. Swiss companies have over 10’000 employees in Serbia.
Third, Switzerland belongs to the top four bilateral donors to Serbia. It is less a question of money than a question of friendship between our two countries.
On the top of that, we have the two best tennis players in the world. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer made tennis history with their final in Wimbledon a few days ago.
Finally, I would like to thank our sponsors who support us to make possible this reception today. Last but not least, I would like to pay tribute to the team of the Embassy who are fully dedicated to keep excellent relations between our two countries.
A last word to draw your attention to the artworks which are exhibited in the residence. They are the work of the six young Serbian artists who have been selected by a professional jury. If you want to know more about it, please help yourself with the small blue catalogue.
Let me rise my glass to Serbia and Switzerland.
Long live Switzerland. Živela Srbija.
Hvala na pažnji.