145 MEPs sign letter to Serbian leadership calling to maintain the organisation of EuroPride 2022 and deploying sufficient police protection

Aleksandar Vučić, President of Serbia
Ana Brnabić, Prime-Minister of Serbia

Jadranka Joksimovic, Serbian Minister for European Integration
Emanuele Giaufret, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia
Stefanno Sannino, Secretary-General of the European External Action Service
Stella Ronner-Grubacic, EU Ambassador for Gender and Diversity

Brussels, 31 August 2022
Subject: Maintaining the organisation of EuroPride 2022 in Belgrade and deploying sufficient police protection to ensure its safety

Dear President,
Dear Prime-Minister,
Dear Minister,

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.

The decision to host EuroPride in 2022 came with many expectations. Belgrade has for years been fighting for equality for LGBTIQ persons in the region. EuroPride taking place in Belgrade this coming September will therefore 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. It would take place precisely 21 years after the first Pride organised in Belgrade in 2001 and on the thirtieth anniversary of the first EuroPride.

EuroPride in Belgrade is highly significant because LGBTIQ people continue to face discrimination in the Balkans, as they do in other parts of Europe. No European country has managed to eliminate discrimination, which substantiates why the fight to end inequality and discrimination needs all the political support it can gather. Awarding EuroPride to Belgrade was and remains the right decision.

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 organisers. Today, we ask you to continue this positive cooperation and to support the organisers in delivering a safe and affirming EuroPride March.

We are aware that there are threats to the security of protestors, yet we maintain that banning this event outright is not the right solution. The situation of anti-LGBTIQ counter-protests which are often violent is unfortunately not new to Prides and therefore the police response should be swift, efficient and sufficient. Should there be a need, more police should be deployed to ensure the Pride march and surrounding events can effectively take place. According to Serbia’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, and following a 2010 landmark document adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe:

  1. Member states should ensure that law enforcement authorities take appropriate measures to protect participants in peaceful demonstrations in favour of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons from any attempts to unlawfully disrupt or inhibit the effective enjoyment of their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.[1]

Additionally, the European Court of Human Rights has in the past ruled that a Pride ban is a breach of the Convention (Baczkowski v Poland[2]) and that failure to protect peaceful demonstrators during demonstrations such as Pride marches equally amounts to a violation (Identoba and Others v. Georgia[3]). Serbia’s commitment to human rights is further underpinned by the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union, where all parties recognise the paramount importance of the rule of law and respect for human rights.[4]

Lastly, the EU Delegation to Serbia has regretted that EuroPride was banned, calling for further clarification.[5]

Prides have been and will remain being a crucial visibility tool for the LGBTIQ community all over the world. It is in this spirit that we urge the leadership of the Serbian government to:

  1. Enable EuroPride to take place as scheduled;
  2. Additionally commit to deploying sufficient law enforcement to ensure its safety, thereby ensuring that all attendees can safely exercise their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression;
  3. Maintain dialogue with the EU Delegation and organisers in order to find a solution that ensures the above.

Yours sincerely,

LGBTI Intergroup Bureau

Marc ANGEL, Co-Chair (S&D, Luxembourg)
Terry REINTKE, Co-Chair (Greens-EFA Vice-President, Germany)
Fabio Massimo CASTALDO, Vice-President (Non-attached, Italy)
Pierre KARLESKIND, Vice-President (Renew Europe, France)
Malin BJÖRK, Vice-President (The Left, Sweden)
Maria WALSH, Vice-President (EPP, Ireland)

Supporting Members of the European Parliament

Giuseppina PICIERNO (S&D, Italy), EP Vice-President
Evelyn REGNER (S&D, Austria), EP Vice-President
Katarina BARLEY (S&D, Germany), EP Vice-President
Michal ŠIMEČKA (Renew Europe, Slovakia), EP Vice-President
Dimitrios PAPADIMOULIS (The Left, Greece), EP Vice-President
Heidi HAUTALA (Greens-EFA, Finland), EP Vice-President
Iratxe GARCÍA PÉREZ (Spain), Socialists & Democrats, President
Stéphane SEJOURNÉ (France), Renew Europe, President
Philippe LAMBERTS (Belgium), Greens-EFA, Co-President
Ska KELLER (Germany), Greens-EFA, Co-President
Manon AUBRY (France), The Left, Co-President
Martin SCHIRDEWAN (Germany), The Left, Co-President
Frances FITZGERALD (Ireland), European People’s Party Group, Vice-President
Alex AGIUS SALIBA (Malta), Socialists & Democrats, Vice-President
Gabriele BISCHOFF (Germany), Socialists & Democrats Vice-President
Heléne FRITZON (Sweden), Socialists & Democrats Vice-President
Malik AZMANI (Netherlands), Renew Europe First Vice-President
Abir AL-SAHLANI (Sweden), Renew Europe Vice-President
Frédérique RIES (Belgium), Renew Europe Vice-President
Katalin CSEH (Hungary), Renew Europe Vice-President
Sylvie BRUNET (France), Renew Europe Vice-President
Alice KUHNKE (Sweden), Greens/European Free Alliance Vice-President
Jordi SOLÉ (Spain), Greens/European Free Alliance Vice-President
Kira PETER-HANSEN (Denmark), Greens/European Free Alliance Vice-President
Marie TOUSSAINT (France), Greens/European Free Alliance Vice-President
Sira REGO (Spain), The Left Vice-President
Marisa MATIAS (Portugal), The Left Vice-President
Alessandra MORETTI (S&D, Italy), Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee
Adriana MALDONADO LÓPEZ (S&D, Spain)
Andreas SCHIEDER (S&D, Austria)
Anna CAVAZZINI (Greens-EFA, Germany)
Anna DONÁTH (Renew Europe, Hungary)
Anne-Sophie PELLETIER (The Left, France)
Arba KOKALARI (EPP, Sweden)
Aurore LALUCQ (S&D, France)
Barry ANDREWS (Renew Europe, Ireland)
Bart GROOTHUIS (Renew Europe, Netherlands)
Benoît BITEAU (Greens-EFA, France)
Billy KELLEHER (Renew Europe, Ireland)
Birgit SIPPEL (S&D, Germany)
Brando BENIFEI (S&D, Italy)
Caroline NAGTEGAAL (Renew Europe, Netherlands)
Caroline ROOSE (Greens-EFA, France)
Catharina RINZEMA (Renew Europe, Netherlands)
Chris MACMANUS (The Left, Ireland)
Christel SCHALDEMOSE (S&D, Denmark)
Cindy FRANSSEN (EPP, Belgium)
Claude GRUFFAT (Greens-EFA, France)
Claudia GAMON (Renew Europe, Austria)
Colm MARKEY (EPP, Ireland)
Cyrus ENGERER (S&D, Malta)
Damien CARÊME (Greens-EFA, France)
David CORMAND (Greens-EFA, France)
Demetris PAPADAKIS (S&D, Cyprus)
Diana RIBA I GINER (Greens-EFA, Spain)
Leila CHAIBI (The Left, France)
Lucia ĎURIŠ NICHOLSONOVÁ (Renew Europe, Slovakia)
Emma WIESNER (Renew Europe, Sweden)
Eleonora EVI (Greens-EFA, Italy)
Erik MARQUARDT (Greens-EFA, Germany)
Evin INCIR (S&D, Sweden)
François ALFONSI (Greens-EFA, France)
Fred MATIĆ (S&D, Croatia)
Grace O’SULLIVAN (Greens-EFA, Ireland)
Gwendoline DELBOS-CORFIELD (Greens-EFA, France)
Hilde VAUTMANS (Renew Europe, Belgium)
Irena JOVEVA (Renew Europe, Slovenia)
Irène TOLLERET (Renew Europe, France)
Isabel SANTOS (S&D, Portugal)
Jakob DALUNDE (Greens-EFA, Sweden)
Jan HUITEMA (Renew Europe, Netherlands)
Jessica POLFJÄRD (EPP, Sweden)
José GUSMÃO (The Left, Portugal)
Josianne CUTAJAR (S&D, Malta)
Karen MELCHIOR (Renew Europe, Denmark)
Karima DELLI (Greens-EFA, France)
Karin KARLSBRO (Renew Europe, Sweden)
Kim VAN SPARRENTAK (Greens-EFA, Netherlands)
Klemen GROŠELJ (Renew Europe, Slovenia)
Laurence FARRENG (Renew Europe, France)
Loucas FOURLAS (EPP, Cyprus)
Maite PAGAZAURTUNDÚA (Renew Europe, Spain)
Malte GALLÉE (Greens-EFA, Germany)
Manuel PIZARRO (S&D, Portugal)
Marcel KOLAJA (Greens-EFA, Czechia)
Margarida MARQUES (S&D, Portugal)
Marianne VIND (S&D, Denmark)
Markéta GREGOROVÁ (Greens-EFA, Czechia)
Martin HOJSÍK (Renew Europe, Slovakia)
Massimiliano SMERIGLIO (S&D, Italy)
Matjaž NEMEC (S&D, Slovenia)
Miapetra KUMPULA-NATRI (S&D, Finland)
Michael BLOSS (Greens-EFA, Germany)
Michal WIEZIK (Renew Europe, Slovakia)
Michele RIVASI (Greens-EFA, France)
Miguel URBÁN CRESPO (The Left, Spain)
Mikuláš PEKSA (Greens-EFA, Czechia)
Monika VANA (Greens-EFA, Austria)
Moritz KÖRNER (Renew Europe, Germany)
Morten PETERSEN (Renew Europe, Denmark)
Mounir SATOURI (Greens-EFA, France)
Nacho SÁNCHEZ AMOR (S&D, Spain)
Nathalie LOISEAU (Renew Europe, France)
Nicolae ŞTEFĂNUȚĂ (Renew Europe, Romania)
Niklas NIENASS (Greens-EFA, Germany)
Olivier CHASTEL (Renew Europe, Belgium)
Pär HOLMGREN (Greens-EFA, Sweden)
Pascal DURAND (Renew Europe, France)
Patrick BREYER (Greens-EFA, Germany)
Pernando BARRENA (The Left, Spain)
Petar VITANOV (S&D, Bulgaria)
Petras AUŠTREVIČIUS (Renew Europe, Lithuania)
Pierre LARROUTUROU (S&D, France)
Ramona STRUGARIU (Renew Europe, Romania)
Raphael GLUCKSMANN (S&D, France)
Rasmus ANDRESEN (Greens-EFA, Germany)
Robert BIEDROŃ (S&D, Poland)
Romeo FRANZ (Greens-EFA, Germany)
Rosa D’AMATO (Greens-EFA, Italy)
Salima YENBOU (Renew Europe, France)
Samira RAFAELA (Renew Europe, Netherlands)
Sara CERDAS (S&D, Portugal)
Sara MATTHIEU (Greens-EFA, Belgium)
Saskia BRICMONT (Greens-EFA, Belgium)
Seán KELLY (EPP, Ireland)
Silvia MODIG (The Left, Finland)
Sirpa PIETIKÄINEN (EPP, Finland)
Sophie IN ’T VELD (Renew Europe, Netherlands)
Stéphane BIJOUX (Renew Europe, France)
Svenja HAHN (Renew Europe. Germany)
Sylvie GUILLAUME (S&D, France)
Sylwia SPUREK (Greens-EFA, Poland)
Tilly METZ (Greens-EFA, Luxembourg)
Tineke STRIK  (Greens-EFA, Netherlands)
Tomas TOBÉ (EPP, Sweden)
Valérie HAYER (Renew Europe, France)
Viola VON CRAMON-TAUBADEL (Greens-EFA, Germany)
Yannick JADOT (Greens-EFA, France)
Younous OMARJEE (The Left, France)


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