Statement by Commissioner Füle on Belgrade 2012 Pride Parade ban
I have taken note with regret of the Serbian authorities' decision to ban the Belgrade 2012 Pride Parade, for the second year in a row, on security grounds. I have been closely following this issue over the past days, in close contact with the EU Delegation in Belgrade and with members of the European Parliament as well as with the HR/VP Ashton. The European Commission is strongly attached to the values enshrined in the EU Treaties and Fundamental Rights Charter, especially when it comes to respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of assembly and freedom of expression and non-discrimination on the basis of gender, racial or ethnic origins, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability and age.
As Commissioner responsible for Enlargement, I am particularly committed to seek from candidate countries that they fully embrace these values, that are amongst the core foundations on which the European Union project is built upon. I strongly condemn the intimidation and threats from extremist organisations in Serbia directed against the organisers of the Parade and regret that those threats have been assessed serious enough to justify a ban on security grounds. I expect the Serbian authorities to investigate such threats and bring the perpetrators to justice. I particularly call on the Serbian authorities to ensure that the rights to freedom of assembly and expression are fully respected and that any future peaceful gathering is allowed to take place. The Commission will continue to support and encourage measures towards further building a climate conducive to the full implementation of human rights standards in candidate and potential candidate countries, including open and constructive debates about the recognition and protection of the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, as well as minorities in general.
Commissioner Stefan Füle