GREAT SUCCESS OF CAPITAL SUMMIT 2015
The City of Belgrade and NALED have successfully organized the Capital Summit 2015 that brought together leaders of 13 capital cities of Central and Southeast Europe from April 22nd to 24th to strengthen regional cooperation and exchange experiences in the planning and realization of large infrastructure projects, implementation of innovative services and improvement of the quality of life.
Serbia’s capital city hosted mayors, deputy mayors, members of city councils and parliaments of Athens, Bucharest, Budapest, Ljubljana, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Skopje, Sofia, Vienna, Tirana, Warsaw and Zagreb. 180 representatives of domestic and foreign media were accredited to report from the Summit, with the best organization review coming from the head of the Slovenian capital Zoran Janković, who stated at the third panel of the main event that Summit was organized – on a global level.
On Wednesday April 22nd, a Gala Reception was arranged for Summit guests at Belgrade’s City Parliament, attended by 600 guests from the world of politics, science, culture, sport and others. Welcome addresses were given to delegations by mayor Siniša Mali, Vice-president of NALED’s Managing Board Ana Brnabić and Branko Torbica, Summit patron’s Elnos Group CEO for the Bosnia & Herzegovina market.
The main event of the Capital Summit 2015 was held at Sava Center on Thursday April 23rd. In front of 350 guests, mayor Siniša Mali opened the Summit with a welcome address, stating that direct networking of capital cities is becoming increasingly important for cooperation and economic connection of countries, adding that large projects are the driving force for cities, states and entire regions. He assessed that the countries of Central and Southeast Europe have to work on improving the environment for the realization of large projects.
Vice-president of NALED’s Managing Board Ana Brnabić expressed gratitude to Belgrade for recognizing the strength and influence of NALED and inviting the alliance to jointly organize the Summit. She emphasized that the Summit was an opportunity for exchange of experiences and that cities will have a chance to learn much about public-private partnerships as a good model for the realization of investments.
Participants of the Summit were greeted by the Minister for European Integration of Serbia, Jadranka Joksimović and Member of the European Parliament Igor Šoltes in their respective welcome addresses, while Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić closed the ceremonial portion of the Summit, stating that Belgrade is not only the capital city of Serbia, but also the seat of cosmopolitan spirit in the Western Balkan region, that it celebrates diversity and that this is the best invitation for all European guests to come to Belgrade and Serbia and feel good. Vučić assessed that nearly all cities of the former Yugoslavia have considerably changed and improved in recent years, especially highlighting Zagreb. The Prime Minister added that Belgrade has plans for large projects and that it is ready to learn from and adopt experiences of other European cities.
The Capital Summit 2015 was divided into three panels: Infrastructure and Urban Development, Innovative Service Delivery Models and Quality of Life Improvement. Representatives of cities presented their key projects in these domains and development plans – construction of boulevards, central public transport stations, water supply and purification systems, revitalization of deserted areas, green area expansion, organization of festivals, etc.
Mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandić stated that he saw in Belgrade a ‘European trump card’ and positive changes, adding that countries in this part of Europe have to learn to celebrate, in addition to their own, the successes of others. “Belgrade is washed, fresh, polished and smooth, like a bride before marriage and that is positive, memorable, it makes me happy” Bandić.
This kind of spirit costs nothing and is dependent on key people who either know or do not know how to organize a job, with the same amount or less money, finish a large task. He added that through his 15 year experience in Zagreb he has gained the ability to recognize what is good. Bandić offered to organize the next Capital Summit during 2016 in Zagreb.
Mayor of Ljubljana Zoran Janković said that summits of this kind should be organized every year and that his city could be the next host after Zagreb. He stated that the Summit was “a day of learning for all cities”, emphasizing that he was impressed with the projects Serbia presented, especially the Belgrade Waterfront.
Janković said that without vision there is no progress, and that the exchange of experiences between states and cities is very important considering that capital cities are the driving force for development of whole countries. “This kind of summit should be held every year, because this part of Europe must stick together” said Janković.
The Summit was attended by a large number of local government representatives from Serbia and the region, as well as the business community, with the high delegation of the Siemens company being a special guest.
After the Summit, city delegations had an opportunity to visit the Geozavod building and have a look at the Belgrade Waterfront model, followed by dinner at a restaurant in Savamala.
The last day was reserved for a sightseeing tour of Belgrade and its fortress Kalemegdan. 50 members of the City of Belgrade and NALED were tasked with taking care of the efficient functioning and comfort of Summit participants, as well as 50 volunteers. At their disposal were the City’s and NALED’s vehicles, including a branded luxury bus.
The Capital Summit was organized under the patronage of Elnos Group, Siemens, Emerson Climate Technologies and Star Refrigeration.