Young people in Serbia have depicted in their work that solidarity, as a fundamental European value, has healing properties, erases borders between people, generations and countries, and that it is not difficult to make an act of solidarity and follow simple preventive measures that give results in overcoming difficult current situation. High school students have also shown that they care for the vulnerable who need help - the elderly, children, pregnant women, sick people and those with disabilities, while according to participant’s artwork the doctors are the heroes of our time.
"The European Union has significantly helped Serbia to cope more easily with the covid-19 pandemic in 2020, primarily by reallocating unspent IPA funds that financed the purchase of medical equipment and medicines, while crucially the large funds are allocated for post-pandemic economic and social recovery of our country. Solidarity has become a basic topic of relations between Serbia and the EU, and this year's artworks show that young artists, high school students, have noticed, understood and illustrated it in their drawings. It is important to say that Serbia, as a candidate for the EU membership, has demonstrated solidarity with member states in difficult times for them and has shown itself as a country that can contribute to strengthening the Union in the future," said Jadranka Joksimović, Minister of European Integration.
The European Union (EU) in partnership with the Ministry of European Integration has been supporting this art competition for more than a decade thus motivating young people to be creative but also active members of their local communities.
"The year 2020 has once again confirmed the old saying that a friend in need is a friend indeed, that solidarity makes us stronger and that only together can we overcome all adversities," said the Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, Mateja Norčić-Štamcar, adding that the crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19 has also shown that solidarity surpasses generations and nations.
"Just as the students presented the examples of solidarity that activated the community, so the EU countries towards Serbia but also Serbia towards EU countries, with concrete support, have shown that there are no borders in solidarity. The assistance provided by the EU to Serbia was primarily focused on strengthening the health system of the Republic of Serbia by donating the necessary health equipment and hiring medical staff, but the support was also provided to the marginalised groups by procuring basic food and hygiene products", concluded Mateja Norčič-Štamcar, while underlining that EU support for economic recovery was already rolling out in Serbia and will continue to come.
In addition to the first three award-winning works, the pages of the EU PRO calendar for the coming year will also feature the works of Milica Čairović and Aleksandra Simić from Kraljevo, Nikolina Marković from Aleksandrovac, Teodora Matijaš and Katarina Stojanović from Niš, Anastazija Stambolić from Čačak, Milica Žujica from Žagubica, Đula Hidanović from Kragujevac and Ibrahim Čaušević from Novi Pazar.
The School with a Dormitory for hearing impaired students from Kragujevac was declared the best one in terms of the engagement and dedication during the preparation of the school competition and works, and was awarded a computer and a projector. The students through their works said that only with united forces and powerful weapons such as a smile, love and open handedly, we can emerge from this situation as winners.
"The students who have participated in our competitions all these years have helped us see, from the perspective of young, talented people, what challenges their communities face, how seemingly unsolvable problems are solved, what kind of support has yielded results but also they give us new ideas on how the EU support can further help the development of local communities”, said Olivera Kostić, EU PRO Programme Manager, thanking everyone for their participation and commitment.
The results of the Art Competition "Solidarity connects us" can be found on the website of the EU PRO program.