Group 484 Executive Director Vladimir Petronijevic is this year’s winner of the “Contribution of the Year 2016 to Europe Award” awarded by the European Movement in Serbia in cooperation with the International European Movement. For fifteen years, the prize has been awarded for a speech, a book, a specific action or attitude of an individual, organisation or group of citizens who have significantly contributed to the process of European integration and the promotion of European ideas and values in our country.
The awards ceremony took place on May 25 at 1 p.m. in Aero Club in Belgrade. The award was presented by last year’s winner – Mr Sasa Jankovic, Ombudsman. Below is Mr Petronijević’s speech in its entirety:
It is such a great honour to receive this award from Mr Sasa Jankovic. It is a great privilege to be among the winners. I owe my gratitude to the jury, the European Movement in Serbia and the International European Movement for recognising the importance of asylum and migration issues, the role of Group 484 and my own. The year 2015 is certainly one of the most important years in the contemporary history of Europe. The consequences of the horrific conflicts in the Middle East have influenced the fate of millions of people, many of whom have sought refuge in Europe and are still seeking it. This crisis, however, has opened another, perhaps more serious crisis in the European continent and it is the already mentioned crisis of values. There have never been more open discrimination, xenophobia, hate speech, misunderstanding than in the previous year. I believe that those who say that the spectre of fascism is haunting Europe again are right. It is therefore high time that all those individuals, political movements, parties, civil society organisations relying on the anti-fascist heritage values formed one pan-European front, a single pan-European line. This fight has already begun and we have to win this fight: here in Serbia and in the region, in our immediate neighbourhood, anywhere in Europe, or any other place, as we used to. Thank you very much.
This year’s jury comprised of: President of the European Movement in Serbia, Mr Mihailo Crnobrnja and 18 previous winners of the award. Another this year’s winner is the Refugee Aid Centre Miksalište.
Photographs: Aleksandar Anđić