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S&Ds: Serbia must make a clear pro-European choice if it wants to continue on the accession path


04 Apr 2022


Europe's East

Following the victory by President Vučić and his ruling SNS party in Sunday’s elections in Serbia, the Socialists and Democrats urge him to finally make a clear pro-European choice, restore democracy and the rule of law and take the enlargement process reform seriously. Serbia must also align to the EU sanctions against Russia following Putin’s war against Ukraine as soon as possible. Otherwise, this will have the consequences for its EU perspective.

The return to a pluralistic and diverse Parliament in Serbia is a positive development. However, the S&Ds regret the limited ability of voters to make an informed choice free from undue pressure from the ruling party.

Thijs Reuten, S&D MEP and member of the European Parliament Election Observation Mission, said:

“The main success in these elections was the participation of the opposition, who boycotted the parliamentary elections two years ago. Unfortunately, besides also a higher voter turnout, we cannot add anything more positive, because despite some late legislative changes and diverse political options, the elections were completely dominated by the ruling party. SNS and its allies pressured the voters, abused the media scene, and confirmed again our disappointment with the developments in Serbia. On top of all this, there will be extreme right parties in the Assembly next term.

“It is important to stress that three different elections held at the same time should not be a normal practice in fragile democracies, as the weak electoral conditions are a basis for government abuse of the system. A proof of this is the closing down of the Central Election Committee last night, publishing neither preliminary results nor voter turnout, while President Vučić declared himself the winner of the presidential elections.”

Tonino Picula, S&D spokeperson on foreign affairs, added:

“I am under no illusions, and the Commission should not be either. President Aleksandar Vučić and his EPP-associated SNS party will continue to make a mockery of democracy. These elections have again demonstrated Vučić’s total disregard for the fairness of the electoral process at the expense of the Serbian people. After Serbia’s refusal to fulfil its obligations as a candidate for EU membership by implementing sanctions against Russia, Vučić now adds insult to injury. Serbia needs to make a very clear choice for the Union or face serious consequences. Our stance has not changed: the Council should not open any new negotiation chapters with Serbia until the Vučić government makes this choice, reverses its wilful destruction of the rule of law, and sanctions Russia.”