European Parliament increasingly worried about state of democracy in Serbia

The day after the Serbian elections on 21 June, members of the Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament issued a statement saying the new Serbian parliament was a “mockery of democracy” and called on EU member states not to open new negotiating chapters with Serbia until the situation improves.

In the past year, EP has mediated the dialogue between the government and the opposition, MEPs have sent letters to Enlargement Commissioner Várhelyi, with the assessments becoming increasingly harsh.

There are 146 MEPs belonging to Socialists and Democrats, a group bringing together center-left parties across the continent, out of a total of 705, making it the second largest. However, these MEPs were not the only ones to raise their voices about Serbia in recent months – a letter to Commissioner Várhelyi, expressing deep concern over the state of democracy in Serbia, was sent at the end of May by the liberal group Renew Europe, which has 98 members.

Immediately after the elections in Serbia, a statement on the insufficient level of democracy for joining the EU was issued by the member of the group of Greens-European Free Alliance in charge of Serbia, Viola von Cramon-Taubadel – this group has 67 MEPs.

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Of course, not all members of these groups in the European Parliament have taken a position on the situation in Serbia individually. The fact is, however, that this has been done by the MEPs who are the so-called Shadow Rapporteurs for Serbia – Von Cramon for the Greens and MEP Klemen Grošelj for Renew Europe, and that so far no differing messages have been heard from their ranks.

This means that, of the groups in the European Parliament that have come out with a clear stance on Serbia in recent months, three are critical of the situation in the country – Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals, with their total of 311 MEPs – while only one, the European People’s Party, with its 187 MEPs, remains sympathetic to the ruling party.

After the elections, the formation of a new Stabilisation and Association Committee between the European Parliament and the National Assembly of Serbia is on the agenda, and in the second half of the year there will be attempts to renew mediation, announced by MEPs Tanja Fajon and Vladimir Bilčik.

The European Parliament’s Resolution on Serbia will probably be presented in the autumn, following the European Commission’s Report.

(N1, 28.06.2020)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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