Serbia president cancels EuroPride in Belgrade, citing Kosovo tensions


Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić introduced on Saturday that the EuroPride competition received’t be held in Belgrade as deliberate subsequent month because of the “significant crisis in Kosovo.”

The announcement surprised organizers of the pan-European celebration, which had been scheduled for September 12-18 within the Serbian capital. EuroPride, which incorporates a Pride parade, is an independently organized occasion hosted in a distinct metropolis yearly, with the host metropolis being chosen both for its political significance or the scale of the LGBT neighborhood.

“We were shocked by this announcement,” stated Marko Mihailovic, an organizer of the Belgrade Pride parade concerned on this 12 months’s EuroPride occasions. He stated organizers met with authorities and metropolis authorities as not too long ago as Thursday as a part of the planning for EuroPride.

“This is quite the defeat for Serbia,” Mihailovic advised POLITICO on Saturday. “Now when we have an event of European proportions organized in Belgrade and a lot of people have announced their attendance and bought tickets, it’s being canceled.”

Tensions flared between Kosovo and Serbia just a few weeks in the past alongside the border between the 2 over license plates and entry paperwork, with barricades being erected and photographs fired on the Kosovo police. Late Saturday, the EU stated an settlement had been reached to resolve the border subject.

Serbia doesn’t acknowledge the sovereignty of its former province, which declared independence in 2008. The oppression of the nation’s ethnic Albanian inhabitants led to an armed battle within the late Nineties that culminated with the NATO bombing of Serbia and Montenegro.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine rages on, there are fears that the long-lasting Serbia-Kosovo tensions – coupled with Serbia’s shut relationship with Russia – may result in the area as soon as once more being engulfed in battle.

Vučić stated he’s “not happy about” the choice to cancel EuroPride, “but we can’t do it all at once.”

“Of course this jeopardizes minority rights and that is a problem for us, but at this moment the state is pressured by all kinds of problems,” Vučić stated.

Right-wing teams and hooligans repeatedly goal occasions organized by activists, in addition to their offices in Belgrade.

“For decades, the LGBT+ community has been demonized in mainstream narratives in the country, and there is little to no condemnation for the hate speech and hate crimes directed towards it,” Mihailovic stated.

A Serbian Orthodox bishop “cast a curse” on these supporting the EuroPride parade. Religious protests have been held towards the occasion, and even the mayor of Belgrade, Aleksandar Sapic, voiced his disapproval.

“Large swathes of Serbian society are plagued by a traditionalism that is always seeking out an enemy, someone to blame or someone to treat as inferior,” stated Sofija Todorovic, this system director on the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, an NGO.

Political events typically attempt to capitalize on occasions such because the Pride parade to attain factors amongst voters espousing extra conventional values.  

This even if Serbia’s prime minister, Ana Brnabic, is brazenly lesbian. At the identical time that he introduced the cancelation of EuroPride, Vučić put ahead Brnabic to guide the formation of a brand new authorities after the latest elections.

Late on Saturday, EU international coverage chief Josep Borrell stated an settlement had been reached between Kosovo and Serbia whereby Serbia would enable Kosovan residents to enter the nation with their private ID playing cards. This is a landmark deal, contemplating Serbia refuses to acknowledge any paperwork issued by Kosovo.

In his press convention earlier, Vučić defined that the choice can be adopted by a disclaimer, made seen on all border crossings, stating that the acceptance of Kosovo ID playing cards can be performed “exclusively for practical reasons, to make it easier for individuals and to enable the freedom of movement” and that it can’t be interpreted “as a recognition of the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo.”

The settlement exposes Vučić to assaults from nationalists and people additional to the proper than him, for whom any compromise involving Kosovo is unacceptable.

Serbia’s president is understood for sustaining a cautious stability between being diplomatic and open-minded amongst officers in Brussels, whereas espousing conservative and nationalist values at house.

The cancellation of EuroPride may disrupt the juggling act he has maintained for years.

“Vučić can no longer play the game that he is used to playing, which is having one story for the citizens of Serbia while having a completely different approach to Brussels,” stated Todorovic.

“EuroPride makes this dilemma very simple. Either we have it or we don’t have it; either Vučić is a European politician or he isn’t.”

The occasion in September would have been the primary time EuroPride was organized in southeast Europe, with earlier occasions going down in cities starting from Manchester to Warsaw.


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