FDPM and FM Ivica Dačić opened the Francophonie Month

01. Mar 2023.
First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dačić opened the Francophonie Month at the Palace of Serbia tonight.

Several dignitaries had the opportunity to discuss the importance of La Francophonie and Serbia's contribution to that organization, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dačić, the Ambassador of Romania to Serbia Silvia Davidoiu, in the capacity of president of the Group of Francophone Ambassadors, the Ambassador of France in Belgrade Pierre Cauchard, in the capacity of vice-president of the Group of Francophone Ambassadors, as well as the first lady of Serbia, Tamara Vučić.

A report produced by TV5 Mond entitled “Destination francophonie – Serbia”, which was announced by reporter Ivan Cabacoff.

We present the speech given by Minister Dačić in its entirety:

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

I wish you a warm welcome to the ceremonial opening of the Francophonie Month, symbolically held at the Palace of Serbia. This historic building was solemnly opened on the occasion of the First Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Countries, and carries all the complexity of political, cultural, and social relations in this region. The Non-Aligned Movement was, among other things, a forum for fostering friendly relations with the francophone countries of Asia and Africa even before their formal accession to the rich family of La Francophonie.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Serbia joined the large and diverse family of francophone countries in 2006, first as an observer, and then as an associate member in 2018. Today, after almost 17 years of successful cooperation, Serbia strives to be additionally involved in the activities of La Francophonie and gain full membership in order to contribute to the promotion and strengthening of the basic values and principles of this organization.

I am convinced that by improving our status and gaining full membership, we will make an active contribution to the further consolidation of La Francophonie, with full support for the implementation of the initiated reform processes, and with the aim of further modernisation, strengthening the importance and readiness to be part of the solution and the response to the numerous crises faced by the francophone world.

Multilateralism is facing a crisis, which obliges us to pay special attention to broader forms of connection based on respect for diversity and mutual ties for the sake of a better, brighter and, above all, common future. This is precisely why Serbia will continue to work on intensifying educational, scientific, cultural, and overall ties with francophone countries, as well as on strengthening peaceful, intercultural dialogue and exchange.

Serbia greatly appreciates Francophonie's commitment to promoting equality at all levels, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and calls for peaceful resolution of all crises and conflicts in the francophone world, in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter. By fighting to preserve own sovereignty and territorial integrity, Serbia also gives unequivocal support for the territorial integrity of all member states of the United Nations. We believe that this is precisely how we defend and protect the fundamental principles of international law.

In a world marked by increasingly frequent threats to peace and security, democracy crises and attacks on rights and freedoms, La Francophonie can play an important role and provide effective responses based on dialogue, understanding, solidarity, and mutual support between its members.

Serbia is a country rich with francophone and “Francophile” tradition. Francophonie is a matter of choice for Serbia, and our deep commitment to its principles inspires us to find a prominent place for it in all segments of our society.

French language has been taught in Serbian educational institutions at all levels for almost two centuries, which additionally contributes to our nomination for full membership in International Organisation of La Francophonie. Today, about 100,000 elementary and high school students in Serbia take French language courses, and out of a total of eight bilingual schools, seven carry the official international accreditation Label FrancEducation given by the French government.

In terms of higher education, this year there are about 900 students enrolled in four French language departments, and a significant number of students in Serbia are attending master's programs in French.

In addition to that, through various training programs implemented thanks to the International Organization of La Francophonie, many civil servants have taken French language courses, since French language still holds a prominent place in the world diplomacy. The upcoming signing of the Memorandum on Partnership in the State Francophone Initiative will further promote the learning of the French language in the state administration.

Dear friends,

The Francophonie Month is celebrated through numerous cultural and educational events throughout the country and has become a tradition with a deep impact on our daily lives. For this reason, it is not surprising that TV5 Monde and Ivan Cabacoff, here present, chose Serbia as one of the destinations that gives special importance to the Fancophonie. I hope you will enjoy their reportage, which we will be a preview broadcast before the official TV broadcast.

Long live Serbia, long live Francophonie!