MEPs call Belgrade to enable EuroPride

REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

A group of 145 MEPs sent a letter to Serbia’s top state officials on Wednesday calling them to make sure the EuroPride 2022 event takes place as scheduled in a safe environment.

A press release said that “a joint letter was addressed by 145 Members of the European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup to the Serbian President and Prime Minister urging for 1) EuroPride to be facilitated as scheduled, 2) sufficient protection to be deployed by the government and 3) the Serbian leadership to engage with the EU Delegation in Serbia and the organisers to find a solution.

The letter was addressed to President Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister designate Ana Brnabic and European Integration Minister Jadranka Joksimovic.

Pride demonstrations are peaceful tools for political advocacy and one way in which the universal right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly is crystallised. They are a hallmark of the LGBTIQ activist movement, a pillar for social visibility and they are equally political demonstrations during which the community voices its concerns, highlights its achievements and gives the opportunity to its members to demonstrate in favour of equality,” it said, adding that the decision to host EuroPride came with many expectations.

It said that EuroPride in Belgrade will be a milestone both for the movement and the region. “In effect, this would make Belgrade the first city in Southeast Europe and the first outside the European Economic Area to host a major event for the pan-European LGBTIQ community,” the letter said. “EuroPride in Belgrade is highly significant because LGBTIQ people continue to face discrimination in the Balkans, as they do in other parts of Europe,” it added.

“As Members of the European Parliament committed to fighting for equality in all its forms, and in particular LGBTI equality through the work of the Intergroup on LGBTI rights, we deeply appreciate the political will that has played a role in cooperating with the EuroPride organizers. Today, we ask you to continue this positive cooperation and to support the organisers in delivering a safe and affirming EuroPride March,” the MEPs said and called for a swift and efficient police response to posible violent counter-protests.