At the invitation of President Aleksandar Vučić, HSH Prince Albert II last week paid the Republic of Serbia an official visit, the first visit of its kind since the coronavirus pandemic closed Europe’s borders. Prince Albert was welcomed at the Serbian Palace in Belgrade by the President as part of an official ceremony on October 7. Thereafter, the two heads of state met individually before being joined by their respective delegations to kick-off the two-day visit with a bilateral meeting.

The topics discussed included COVID-19, tourism, the environment, the conservation of biodiversity and the promotion of sustainable development, but the key talking point was the new economic agreement between the two countries. President Vučić and Prince Albert attended the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia and the Monaco Economic Board, represented respectively by Mr Marko Čadež and Mr Guillaume Rose.

This agreement concerns future cooperation and an increase in exchange between the two countries. Digital transitions, and transformations were also discussed, a subject that the Principality holds expertise in as the Extended Monaco program continues to strengthen Monaco’s digital technology and know-how.

During an official ceremony, the President presented the Prince with the decoration of the Order of the Republic of Serbia to symbolise the development of peaceful cooperation between Serbia and the Principality of Monaco. Prince Albert also spoke with the President about “the possibility for Serbia to join the Alliance for Multilateralism, launched at the UN by France and Germany, joined by Monaco and many other countries,” according to the Prince’s Palace. Not long after the meeting, The president announced that his country would join the alliance, thanks to the Prince’s encouragement.

The remainder of the trip saw the Prince visit some of Serbia’s most notable landmarks, both man-made and natural. On the first day, the Sovereign visited the National Museum in Belgrade, taking in the awe of art and indeed artefacts from some 800 years ago. The insightful first day concluded with an official dinner, hosted by the President in honour of the Prince. The following day was based more on the environmental aspects of the previous day’s discussions. Firstly, the delegation visited the “village of seven canals” before heading to the Biosphere Reserve of Backo Podunavlje, a Unesco site since 2017.

This was the first official visit of HSH Prince Albert to the Republic of Serbia, a country with which Monaco has diplomatic relations dating back to 2007. “The Republic of Serbia and the Principality of Monaco can seem different in many ways, but I believe that the complementarities and common points of our countries will be trump cards for strengthening our relations at different levels,” said Prince Albert.

Featured image courtesy of the Prince’s Palace