Forum for the Future of Democracy 2010,
Mr Vuk JEREMIĆ,
I would like to thank our Armenian hosts for their very warm hospitality here in Yerevan. I am very glad to be participating for the second time in the Forum for the Future of Democracy, as I was also at the Forum in Stockholm in 2007 as Chairman in office. Many of you were with us ten years ago when we fought very hard for our democracy so your presence here makes me feel even more at home.
I want to emphasise that this year is a very important year for us; it is the ten-year anniversary of our democratic changes in Serbia. Almost to the day, ten years ago, most of you would remember the dramatic events in Belgrade and a democratic revolution, the first one in a while that has actually worked.
Coming from a political circle, I will try not to be too theoretical or academic; if we are to talk about democracy and what it means and what it brings, I would like to talk about the results: about the transformative power of democracy.
For us in the Balkans, to be succinct, democracy has meant peace. How did it come about? We can spend a long while discussing this, but the result is very clear in the Balkans. Our part of the world has been transformed into a compact of peace. Although not all the problems have been resolved in the Balkans, the way that we are resolving them today is through peaceful democratic dialogue. This is the biggest contribution that we have made to the building of democracy worldwide and to the concept that we came here to discuss.
Today in the Balkans, we are seeing old enemies working together in peace. We are witnesses to an unprecedented era of reconciliation. Our democratic parliament has recently passed an historic resolution on Bosnia; a resolution on the terrible war crime that was committed in Srebrenica and which contained an apology for the misdeed.
I do not know what democracy brought to other countries, but to our country democracy brought the fact that we ended up being the first parliament in the history of Europe which actually extended an apology. And we all know that European history is full of wars and events which require contrition of one kind or another.
Democracy brought us strength to look into the past and to courageously reach across the divide. That is why I am very pleased to be able to say that regional cooperation has never worked better despite the tremendous challenges we are facing.
Today’s topic, this session’s topic, is 2020, the future of democracy. Having gone through the first ten years of our democracy, I will very briefly say that we expect that ten years from now, in 2020, our democracy will have been further strengthened and this will bring about the next level, which is full integration. For us, 2020 means the final victory of democracy and the final victory of integration.
For our part of the world, that means joining the European Union. The interim strategic priority of my Government is membership in the European Union. We expect this to have been acquired by 2020, not just for us, but for all the other nations of the Western Balkans. That would not have been possible to even imagine, had we not gone through ten years of democratic experience.
There are unresolved issues in the part of the world where I come from, but I think that we are now well equipped to address them in their full complexity. No matter how delicate they are, I feel able to confidently predict that they will be resolved in a democratic way, in a way that brings about perennial and lasting peace. This will thereby give an example to other parts of the world as to how things can be done when there is a true democracy.
1 unofficial transcript of the speech delivered