PES visits Serbia
Between 4 and 6 June PES visited Belgrade, Serbia, to congratulate the newly elected leader of the Democratic Party Bojan Pajtic, meet several centre left parties, and assess the political and economic situation of the country after being hit hard by floods mid-May
‘Serbia started EU accession talks in January, which is an historic breakthrough. Since then, elections took place in March, and the country has experienced heavy floods triggering a strong humanitarian response by the EU. With so many changes taking place, we thought this would be an opportune moment to meet the PES member party as well as other progressive parties and get a better view on the country’s new political and economic landscape’, says Ann Linde, Head of PES International Unit.
During the visit PES had interesting exchanges with the newly elected leader of the Democratic Party, Bojan Pajtic, and vice-President of the party Natasa Vuckovic. DP is a long standing partner of the PES.
PES also met up Boris Tadic, former President of Serbia and leader of the New Democratic Party, Sanja Siflis, of League of Social Democrats of Voivodina and Oskar Benedict, the Deputy Head of European Delegation.
To get a complete picture of the situation in Serbia, PES had talks with several civil society actors, human rights activists and prominent journalists.
‘We get the impression that the human rights situation is deteriorating under the new conservative leadership of the country’, continues Ann Linde. ‘There have been several crackdowns on media outlets and public institutions such as the ombudsman are under heavy scrutiny on part of the state. For EU accession talks to run smoothly, both the judiciary and the media need to be fully independent.’