German policy towards Serbia focuses on providing support for political and economic reform in the country. The aims are to further the process of democratic change, to promote the rule of law in Serbia and to achieve progress in the country’s EU accession process.
Serbia and Germany have different positions on Kosovo’s independence, which is recognised by Germany.
Germany has been a key partner of Serbia in the EU since the country’s transition to democracy in autumn 2000. In addition, there are close ties between Germany and Serbia on account of the large number of Serbs and people of Serbian origin residing permanently in Germany. In total, an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 people of Serbian descent currently live in Germany.
Germany has been one of Serbia’s main economic partners for years. There are over 400 companies in Serbia funded by German capital, employing more than 60,000 people. The German-Serbian Business Association has over 300 members.
Since development cooperation with Serbia began in 2000, the German Government has provided approximately two billion euros, thus making Germany the country’s largest bilateral donor. Germany’s objectives in providing this support include:
- supporting Serbia’s path to EU accession
- promoting democratic and ecologically sustainable development in Serbia based on the rule of law and the market economy
- strengthening regional cross-border cooperation
Cultural life in Serbia is rich and wide-ranging and cultural cooperation with Germany is close. The Goethe-Institut Belgrade offers an extensive and highly attractive programme, with well-attended events such as exhibitions, lectures, concerts and plays and a great demand for German language classes.
The small remaining German minority (known as Danube Swabians), of which there are 4,064 members registered in the group’s National Council, has 14 cultural associations. With more than 750 members, St. Gerhardt in Sombor is the largest association and the driving force behind efforts to preserve the minority’s identity.