PES expresses rule of law concerns in letter to prime minister of Serbia

PES expresses rule of law concerns in letter to prime minister of Serbia

File photograph: PES President Stefan Löfven

The President of the Party of European Socialists, Stefan Löfven, has written to the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, to underline concerns over irregularities identified by the International Election Observation Missions during the early parliamentary elections and the local elections in Serbia on 17 December 2023.

Since the elections, the government of Serbia has sought to downplay reported violations and suppress voices speaking up in defence of democracy and the rule of law in Serbia. This has included detaining students during election protests in Belgrade in December.

Following the elections, S&D member of the European Parliament’s observer mission in Serbia Andreas Schieder spoke up to highlight the irregularities – concerns echoed by the PES. In response, Prime Minister Brnabić wrote to President Löfven last week to object to the reaction of the PES family and others. President Löfven’s reply to Prime Minister Brnabić is available to read in full here.

PES Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck said:

“We have already expressed on several occasions our concerns about these irregularities. As a European political party that defends the fundamental values of the European Union, we will raise concerns whenever and wherever we see them being undermined.

“We appreciate that the Prime Minister has invested time in addressing our concerns. Yet we remain wholly unconvinced by her attempt to whitewash the issues identified by election observers. It is unclear whether her letter was really intended for us, or whether it was part of continued efforts to push back on discontent at home, as the letter was sent to Serbian media and published on the ruling party website even before it reached the PES.

“One point on which we are clear: we will never allow attempts to intimidate our representatives and MEPs like Andi Schieder.”

The PES firmly supports the European future of Serbia and the Western Balkans and believes that advancing the rule of law, transparency, and inclusiveness will benefit Serbia and its citizens. We would be glad to see a modern, democratic, and prosperous Serbia as part of the European Union.

Stefan Löfven

Stefan Löfven

PES President