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Joint statement Of Borrell And Várhelyi On The Elections In Serbia

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EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy Josep Borrell and European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi have jointly signed a statement on the elections in Serbia, which we are publishing in full:

“On Sunday, the people of Serbia exercised their democratic right to vote. The European Union welcomes the participation of all political forces in these elections, following the engagement in the inter-party dialogue, facilitated by the European Parliament. The proper functioning of Serbia’s democratic institutions is a central pillar of Serbia’s EU accession process.

According to the preliminary findings and conclusions of the international observers from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Serbia’s 3 April presidential and early parliamentary elections presented diverse political options, but a number of shortcomings resulted in an uneven playing field, favouring the incumbents.

The EU looks forward to the final OSCE/ODIHR report and recommendations for future elections that should steer the work of all political actors and relevant institutions. This will require a transparent, inclusive and decisive dialogue involving all stakeholders. We encourage the new Parliament and the Serbian political leadership to continue working towards a genuine and constructive dialogue across the political spectrum, with a view to forging broad cross-party consensus on EU-related reforms, which is vital for the country’s progress on its EU path.

The European Union looks forward to engaging with the President and the next government to move purposefully to take forward Serbia’s strategic decision to join the EU. We encourage Serbia to deliver real and tangible results, in particular in the area of rule of law and on the normalisation of relations with Kosovo through the EU-facilitated Dialogue, which determine the overall pace of EU-accession negotiations with Serbia.

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Building on the constitutional reform and recent achievements, Serbia needs to continue, accelerate and deepen the reforms on the independence of the judiciary, the fight against corruption and organised crime, media freedom and domestic handling of war crimes. We count on Serbia’s constructive engagement in advancing reconciliation and good neighbourly relations, as well as in regional cooperation more broadly. We also look forward to engaging with the new government on the green agenda to address climate change and build a more sustainable and healthy society and economy.

At a time of unprovoked and unjustified Russian military aggression against Ukraine, a sovereign, independent country, we expect Serbia as a candidate country negotiating its accession to the EU, to progressively align with EU positions, including declarations and restrictive measures, in line with the EU-Serbia Negotiating Framework.

The EU is Serbia’s main political and, by far, economic partner. During these unprecedented times, the EU is committed to continue to support Serbia’s economic recovery, energy, food security and society, including through the significant support made available under the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans”, the statement said.

Photo: collage/eu commision

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