Norbert Beckmann-Dierkes, Head Of The Office Of The Konrad Adenauer Foundation In Serbia And Montenegro

Green Deal Is Europe’s Top Priority

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation has been present in Belgrade with an office since 2001 and realises arrangements in Serbia and Montenegro. The foundation’s aim is to contribute to strengthening irreversible democratic processes and lasting political stability

It is crucial for each individual to realise that they are personally responsible for the world of tomorrow. The world we pass on to our children and grandchildren depends on our behaviour and the example that we set for them today.

Why are the European Green Deal and the Green Agenda currently the number one topics in Europe?

Following the 2019 European Parliament elections, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen declared the European Green Deal and the European Sustainability Agenda as essential elements of the European political, economic and social agenda. The responsible and careful use of water, air and mineral resources, and the earth’s productive capacity as a whole, secures the foundations of life and the future for the generations yet to come. The preservation of creation, i.e. the responsible use of the earth, is an essential concern of future-orientated politics, which in Europe is also based on the Christian responsibility. Science and research today provide us with the tools and knowledge to ensure a viable future. This is the social challenge that politics and society must face together at all levels. That’s why the Green Deal and the sustainability agenda are top priorities in Europe (and will hopefully become worldwide priorities very quickly).

You recently reached an agreement on cooperation with the Serbian Environmental Protection Minister and offered to provide assistance on the implementation of some very important works that Serbia must implement. What is included in everything agreed upon?

Together with the Serbian Ministry of Environmental Protection and other partners, we want to initiate a broad social and political dialogue on sustainable management and action. After all, environmental awareness, generational responsibility and resource conservation are not empty or theoretical concepts, rather they rely on very concrete reasons and have concrete consequences. Clean water, sewage treatment plants, air pollution control, landscape conservation, reuse of raw materials – i.e. sustainable waste management – and many other things encompass areas in which every individual can be active and for which a political implementation process is needed at all levels, from European to local levels. Social and legal framework conditions must be discussed and created here, while opportunities for initiatives and the economy must be developed. That is a huge opportunity for further development into a modern society in Serbia and the region, together with the EU.

We are awaited by great challenges The Konrad Adenauer Foundation is a German political organisation that functions independently in the fields of political counselling and education. It is also present in Serbia, which is awaited by great challenges that need to be overcome in the economic and social domains. Through its seminars, workshops and conferences, the Foundation seeks to contribute to improve the understanding of EU principles, the responsibilities of parties and parliaments, and the comprehending of the rule of law and free media.

The level of awareness and information regarding the importance of environmental protection remains very low in Serbia. How can that best be changed; through education or penalties?

Education and discussion, exchange and experiences are the keys to the successful implementation of the Green Deal and the sustainability agenda. If people are convinced that it makes sense and that it would be good for the quality of their life, they will get involved. Environmental sins need to be punished, but that punishment will come as an exception if the basic social attitude changes, because it will then be clear to everyone that you can turn off your car engine when waiting in front of a shop.

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