Friday

28th Apr 2017

Gay rights not decisive for Serbia-EU talks

Brussels on Thursday (4 October) gave Belgrade a tongue-lashing on gay rights, but the issue is unlikely to decide when Serbia can start EU entry talks.

Peter Stano, the spokesman for enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele, said the EU "regrets" Serbia's decision to ban a gay pride parade due on Saturday - the second year in a row the country has stopped the event.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Mural in Belgrade. EU statements on Thursday all condemned the pride march decision (Photo: Dmitry Kuzmin)

He added that respect for sexual minorities is one of the "core foundations of the European project."

He also urged Belgrade to bring to justice far-right activists who made threats of violence and for Serbia to hold a "constructive" national debate on toleration.

The discussion on gay rights comes at a delicate time.

The commission will next Wednesday publish its annual report on Western Balkan countries' progress on EU enlargement.

Early drafts of the paper indicate it will not recommend a date for starting accession talks with Serbia, saying it must first make progress on fighting organised crime and implement previous deals on better day-to-day relations with Kosovo.

An EU source said a date might still be inserted at the last minute and that the commission is keen to "keep countries [such as Serbia] engaged in the process" of pro-EU reforms.

The contact added that even if the Serbia report includes a few harsh words on gay rights, the pride march will not be the deciding factor on when to open the accession negotiations.

"This is an important area. But it's just one element and there are other more important issues," he said.

For their part, Green, liberal and centre-left MEPs also lined up to attack Serbia's gay pride decision.

"It is another lost opportunity for Serbia which perpetuates an image this country does not deserve," Jelko Kacin, the Slovenian liberal MEP tasked with drafting an EU parliament report on Serbia next week, noted.

Meanwhile, a contact at Serbia's EU embassy in Brussels told EUobserver the decision has nothing to do with politics.

"It is not aimed at harming and denying anyone's human and civil rights and freedoms, but it has been made in order to protect the safety of citizens of Belgrade and prevent possible clashes and riots," he said.

"Serbia respects commissioner [Fuele's] position and seriously considers every recommendation coming from the European Commission," he added.

Respect was wanting in recent statements made for internal Serbian consumption, however.

In September, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said: "Screw the kind of Union for which gay pride marches are the entry ticket."

Kosovo to Serbia: Time to face reality

Kosovo's foreign minister has said the end of supervised independence should make Serbia realise it can never divide Kosovo or get it back.

Serb leader bashes EU ahead of key report

Srebrenica was not genocide and Serbia will not bow to demands for Kosovo recognition, Serbia's leader has said on the eve of a key EU report.

EU urges Turkey to investigate election fraud

The EU called for a transparent investigation into alleged irregularities during the referendum in Turkey, which gave sweeping powers to president Erdogan. It added that reinstating the death penalty would end the country's EU bid.

News in Brief

  1. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  2. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  3. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  4. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies
  5. Report: EU parliament says FN jobs cost €5mn
  6. Turkey suspends 9,000 police officers
  7. May hosts Juncker at Brexit dinner
  8. 700,000 people granted EU asylum

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  2. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act
  3. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  4. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  6. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  7. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  8. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  9. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  10. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  11. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?

Latest News

  1. EPP group frustrated with Orban
  2. Verdacht gegen Russland bezüglich Macronhacking
  3. 'Serene' EU warns UK against Brexit 'illusions'
  4. EU telecom watchdog plan dead on arrival
  5. Russische Fake-News überschwemmen die sozialen Medien Frankreichs
  6. EU agency stuck with London rent bill
  7. EU anti-fraud office ditches Martin Schulz probe
  8. Commission launches bid to make Europe social