Rainbow Rose, PES and Democratic Party together for EuroPride

Rainbow Rose, PES and Democratic Party together for EuroPride

Rainbow Rose, the Party of European Socialists (PES) and the Democratic Party of Serbia marched together at the EuroPride in Belgrade to support the Balkans LGBTI Community and anchor our values and principles as a progressive political family.

On Saturday, 17 September, in the frame of the EuroPride activities in Belgrade, the PES and Rainbow Rose – the LGBTI organisation of the PES – together with PES associate member party in Serbia, the Democratic Party, participated in the first EuroPride march in the Western Balkans.

Ahead of the march, the Serbian authorities fell short on their promise to support the EuroPride organisers. This culminated in the ban of the initial march route just days before the demonstration, and further threats and disruptions.

The determination of the LGBTIQ community and the EuroPride Belgrade organisers was unbroken. Thanks to their persistence in negotiations with the Serbian authorities, and a spontaneous initiative which gathered 27,000 supporters within a day, on 16 September a new route for the march was agreed and the authorities promised a safe march.

The delegation of the PES and Rainbow Rose participated in the march alongside social democratic politicians including Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner for Equality; Marc Angel MEP, Co-Chair LGBTI Intergroup; Evin Incir MEP; Cyrus Engerer MEP; Robert Biedron MEP; Falko Droßmann MEP; Zita Gurmai, Member of the Hungarian parliament and PES Women President; Eduard Odinets Member of the Estonian Parliament and Secretary General of SDE Estonia; Pascal Smet, Secretary of State in the Brussels regional government; Victor Gutiérrez PSOE LGBTI Secretary, and others.

Speaking after the march, Camila Garfias-Mitterhuber, president of Rainbow Rose, said:

“The successful EuroPride march marks an historic milestone in the Western Balkans’ fight for equal rights of LGBTIQ people in the region. We render our support to the activists of Belgrade, Serbia and the entire region for their courage. As socialists, social democrats and labour parties we will stand by their side always.”

President of the PES, Sergei Stanishev said:

“As a European political party, we understand equality and human rights as underlying principles for democracy. We are proud to have been the largest political delegation at the EuroPride 2022 in Belgrade. Together with Rainbow Rose, politicians from across Europe have found in the Democratic Party in Serbia a strong and committed party to walk together in this march. With EU Commissioner Helena Dalli our family has a leader in the fight for equality, that walked shoulder to shoulder for the right to assembly and free expression.”

Dragana Rakic, Serbian MP & Deputy Vice-President of Democratic Party, said:

“I cannot describe by words how much support from our sister parties all across Europe and the solidarity shown meant to us in Democratic party during the EuroPride, as we are fighting not only for the rights of LGBT population in Serbia, but also for every other citizen in this country whose rights have been violated.

“This is why this march was especially important. We had to show the regime of Aleksandar Vučić that we are not afraid and we will not give up, no matter how much effort they put into convincing us that it’s not safe to walk on the streets of our own towns. Today, we have walked for freedom, diversity, solidarity, inclusion, and tolerance; for us and for those who did not have courage to join us this time, but will be there next one; for European values we all cherish and nurture.”

Ahead of the march, the PES LGBTI network co-organised a political rally hosted by the Democratic Party bringing together its members and politicians to exchange the meaning and importance of Pride as a booster to social acceptance. An exchange of perspectives introduced by the President of Rainbow Rose Camila Garfias-Mitterhuber and brought to conclusions by Vice-President Dajana Bakiç, with the participation of Dragana Rakic, Serbian MP & Deputy Vice-President of Democratic Party; Alisa Kockar, Spokesperson of Democratic Party; Víctor Gutiérrez, PSOE LGBTI Secretary; Falko Droßmann, German MP; Carlos Kaspar, German MP; Eduard Odinets, Estonian MP & SDP Secretary General; Zita Gurmai, Hungarian MP and PES Women President.

European Socialists and Democrats are leading the process of achieving full equality for LGBTI people in the European Union. We will continue to stand with the community.

Photographs of the PES at EuroPride are available on Flickr.