Cooperation between Belgrade and Corfu

There is a long tradition of strong ties and friendship between Serbia and Greece, owing to multiple cultural, historical and political factors which have played an important role in the development of good bilateral relations between these two countries. Many bilateral agreements have been signed between Greece and Serbia at various levels and in many areas – science and education, the development of tourism, economical and technological development, international passenger and goods transport, air travel and judicial cooperation.

The cooperation protocol between the city of Belgrade and the municipality of Corfu was signed on 23rd September 2009, and on 25th February 2010, mayors Dragan Đilas and Sotiris Mikalef signed a Twinning Charter between the city of Belgrade and the municipality of Corfu. Some of the key areas of cooperation identified between Belgrade and Corfu are culture, education, tourism, medicine and sport.

During their visit to Belgrade for the signing of the Charter, the delegation from the municipality of Corfu met with representatives of the city of Belgrade and city departments responsible for the areas of culture and tourism. Representatives of the Belgrade Tourist Organisation, the Belgrade Secretariat for Culture, the Belgrade Fortress and the Dom Omladine youth centre had separate meetings with the delegation from Corfu. The delegation from Corfu offered its expert assistance with the candidature of Belgrade’s fortress to be designated a UNESCO protected site. Corfu had a successful candidature regarding the old part of Corfu, which was awarded this status in 2007. The visit was also marked by an initiative to open up channels for cooperation between youth organisations and cultural centres for young people from Belgrade and Corfu.

A delegation from the city of Belgrade and representatives from the Belgrade Office for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, at the suggestion of the mayor of Belgrade, visited Corfu between the 1st and 4th September 2010. On this visit, the Belgrade delegation toured Vido (the mausoleum and commemorative plaque marking the twinning of Kruševac and Corfu), Agios Matheos (monument to the soldiers of the Drina Division, commemorative fountain and commemorative bust of Yiannis Yiannoulis), Gouvia (commemorative plaque marking the spot where Serbian troops landed in Gouvia) and the Serbian House in Corfu city. These monuments – of importance for Serbian history and culture – were visited in order to determine their condition in terms of conservation needs and to estimate the cost of their restoration and maintenance. Although these monuments are the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and the Serbian Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, the city of Belgrade will participate in their restoration, repair and maintenance and sign a special protocol laying out the rights and obligations of the parties involved in the restoration project. During the visit, a representative of the town of Corfu, city Secretary for Culture, George Gardikiotis, signed a Letter of Intent together with the delegation of the Organising Committee for Belgrade’s Candidacy as the European Capital of Culture in 2020, affirming the support of the town of Corfu for Belgrade’s bid. In addition, there were talks concerning the possibility of facilitating school trips by Belgrade primary and secondary schools to Corfu and organising visits to Serbian monuments on this Greek island.

Since the former municipality of Corfu now has city status, a delegation from the city spent 23rd to 26th February on an official visit to Belgrade for the Tourism Fair at the Belgrade Fair complex. The delegation from Corfu also used this opportunity to meet with representatives of the city of Belgrade.