NALED members and partners gathered on Wednesday, September 15, at the traditional September gathering at the White Palace, to celebrate 15 years of successful work on creating better living and working conditions in Serbia. Respecting all epidemiological measures, NALED hosted more than 500 state and local leaders, businessmen, representatives of the international community and the diplomatic corps at the White Palace.
The event was opened by the Executive Director and the first NALED employee, Violeta Jovanović and the President of the Managing Board Vladislav Cvetković, while in the second part of the evening the participants were greeted by Crown Prince Aleksandar Karađorđević, USAID Regional Mission Director in Serbia Susan Fritz and Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajlović. The special guest of the Gathering was the former President of NALED Managing Board, and today the Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić.
"We started as a small organization with a big goal, while we had only 17 members with us, and today, 15 years later, we have grown into an unbreakable link between the public and private sector, which has as many as 300 members and almost 100 employees," said NALED Executive Director Violeta Jovanović, adding that NALED sees Serbia as it could be and works tirelessly to make it that way.
The President of NALED Managing Board Vladislav Cvetković expressed his deep gratitude for being a part of NALED, an organization that is synonymous with dialogue, trust and good changes in the country and the region.
"I am proud to be a part of this army of people, whose ranks include as many as 300 prominent representatives of businesses, local governments, civil society and the academic community, closing its 15th year with a total of 194 projects worth 25 million euros. NALED puts the common interest before the individual, and contributes to the creation of joint solutions for more efficient processes and better working conditions, which we will try to implement even more successfully in the years ahead," Cvetković pointed out.
A special place at the September gathering program was taken by the premiere of the jubilee film about the work and successes of NALED from the point of view of its founders and members, leaders of domestic and international institutions, as well as employees.
"NALED is extremely needed by our society, because it is objective, impartial and has a very good view of the state of affairs in the country – both the good things that the Government is doing and those that can be improved. With the help of this organization, the government has been implementing serious reforms in the country and the region for years, making decisions quickly, changing laws and really creating a phenomenal business environment, which is reflected in digitalization and cutting the red tape," Brnabić concluded.
Susan Fritz, Director of the USAID Regional Mission, stated that she was proud of the cooperation with NALED, which is the best example of the international partnership between the USA and Serbia, while Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlović agreed.
"Thanks to NALED, our country is now the ninth in the world in terms of issuing construction permits, and we used to hold the third lowest rank, so I thank you all immensely for your contribution to the progress and development of Serbia's infrastructure," Mihajlović pointed out.
The best members of NALED for 2021 from the ranks of businesses, local governments and civil society organizations were announced at the meeting - Svetoslav Atanasov, General Manager of Coca Cola HBC Serbia, Zoran Semenović, Mayor of Šid and Neven Marinović, Director of Smart Collective. The audience voting was won by Zoran Semenović.
Special gratitude was expressed to the jubilee members who have been with NALED for 15 years: local governments Inđija, Vranje, Pirot, Loznica, Kragujevac, Čačak and Bor, associations Smart Collective and Ethno Network, as well as companies Telekom, Moravacem, Deloitte and Microsoft.
Great support for the September gathering was provided by - MediGroup, which made sure that all guests undergo medical control and be healthy and safe, general sponsors - Telenor, Cetin, Mobi Bank and Huawei, as well as event partners and friends who are traditionally with NALED – Apatin brewery, Coca-Cola HBC, MK Group and from this year Ekostarpak.
Delta Motors took care of the comfortable arrival of all guests to the White Palace. 20 local governments and 100 local producers from all over Serbia made sure the guests enjoy the authentic flavors of Serbia, offered in the Tasting menu, while the wine of the evening was provided by the municipality of Smederevska Palanka and Winery Despotika.