State "must do everything" to ensure holding of Pride Parade

BELGRADE -- The minister without portfolio responsible for EU integration has said that the state must do everything so that Belgrade Pride Parade is held this year.

Jadranka Joksimović (Beta)
Jadranka Joksimović (Beta)

Jadranka Joksimović also noted on Thrusday that she would personally support "the organization" of the gay parade, adding that "Pride Week was never problematic, but only the parade."

"We expect that this year we will succeed in doing it, but I cannot yet say precisely, because we have not officially talked about it," Joksimović was quoted as telling reporters.

"It is certainly important that we, as the state, do everything we can to secure the holding of the Pride Parade," she added, noting that "the first steps have been taken in talks with representatives of the LGBT community."

According to Belgrade Mayor Siniša Mali, who spoke on Wednesday, the parade has been scheduled for May 31 but it remained unclear if it would in fact be held.

Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport urged the government and the city of Belgrade to make sure the parade is held, stating that it would be a positive message from Serbia.

"I would like to encourage the government and the city to organize a peaceful gathering, to provide and send a clear message to all people who want to use the language of threats and violence that such behavior is unacceptable," he said.

Asked whether a possible political decision not to hold the gay parade would be "a bad sign," Davenport said that there was a significant opportunity and the ability to send a positive signal that such a gathering is possible in Belgrade, and that it can be organized in a peaceful manner.