The Serbian government promised the European Commission they would allow the EuroPride parade on Saturday, but its itinerary would be significantly shorter, BETA learned from western European sources on Thursday.
The sources also pointed to the Commission being seriously dissatisfied with the actions of the Serbian government, noting that the next report about Serbia’s readiness to join the EU would be much more critical.
However, the ban could only be revoked by the court, said Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin on Thursday in response to calls by the US and EU ambassadors Christopher Hill and Emanuele Giaufret, adding that ambassadors cannot do it.
“Pressure on the judiciary is not in accord with the proclaimed values of the EU, to which we strive so much; it would neither be possible in the United States for an ambassador to express expectation that the relevant state organs would act according to their beliefs and opinions,” Vulin declared in a written statement.
Vulin also noted that the ambassadors did not call for the ban on the march of the opponents of EuroPride to also be lifted.
“Their gathering has not been listed under human rights and freedom of expression. The interior ministry has no such prejudice, we do not divide the citizens, and we honour anyone’s right to free expression, but also take care about everyone’s safety and do not make decisions on the basis of ideological or any other prejudice,” he stated.
Germany also commented on the situation.
The Serbian interior ministry’s decision to ban the EuroPride march was not acceptable, said the German government’s envoy for LGBTIQ+ issues, Sven Lehmann, on Thursday, noting that he hoped the decision would be revoked.
“Know that the German government stands with the LGBTIQ+ community in the struggle for their rights,” Lehmann said at the opening of an exhibition within the EuroPride week in the German Embassy in Belgrade. He pointed out that the German government’s goal was to protect every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, and that it was important that Serbia was the first country in southeastern Europe where this event was taking place.
“Instead of securing, the state has decided to ban a person from being what they want. Everyone must have equal rights,” he added.