Serbia's Minister for Environmental Protection Sasa Dragin visited the REC on July 27 as part of his official visit to Hungary. Although just recently established, the Serbian Ministry for Environmental Protection (MEP) has already committed itself to several important tasks, Dragin said while addressing REC senior management personnel. He cited pollution prevention as a key in-country priority, and spoke at length regarding intensive legislative work — focusing on enforcement, transparency and public participation in all activities.
Dragin highlighted preparatory work for the sixth pan- European Environment for Europe conference, which Serbia will host in October, as his ministry's main international activity. He concluded by saying that the MEP verymuch appreciates the REC's support with the preparatory process, and particularly praised the organisation's coordination efforts in South-Eastern European countries. He also confirmed that the ministry considers the REC's Belgrade office as an important international partner in all other activities.
The REC established its Serbian office as an international organisation following a memorandum of understanding signed by the REC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the former republic of Yugoslavia in June 2001.
During Dragin's recent visit, REC executive director Marta Szigeti Bonifert outlined the REC's strategic goals in Serbia: to provide high-quality, innovative, demand-driven services to stakeholders that can be of the highest benefit for Serbia and the global environment; to implement sustainable development in practice; to provide a neutral platform for dialogue, networking and cooperation among stakeholders and partners — at and between national and local levels; to maintain the independent character of the organisation through a successful model of governance, international legal status in Serbia, diversified funding and quality of work; to continue the organisation's proactive development and fulfil its mission in Serbia during a period of deep political change, social flux and economic reconstruction.
At the end of the meeting, Dragin accepted an invitation to visit Szentendre next year when the conference centre will be reopened as a zero-emission building.