"Pride Parade signals faster accession talks"

Sweden's EU Affairs Minister Birgitta Ohlsson says holding the Belgrade Pride Parade "would be a strong signal that it was time for faster EU accession talks."

Source: Tanjug

Sweden is one of the EU countries that are the strongest advocates of Serbia's integration into the EU, but the process involves obligations for the candidate country, she said at a round table on human rights of the LGBT community as a common European value.

Serbia should improve the rule of law, media freedom and other fields, she stated.

Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport hopes the Pride Parade will be held on Saturday, adding that the EU expected candidate countries to accept European values, including respect for human rights.

Political leaders have to show courage and determination to condemn both violence and threats of violence, he said at the round table.

The EU encouraged the Serbian authorities to make sure the parade goes by in a peaceful atmosphere, since they do have the professional capacity to provide security at such an event and are bound by the Serbian Constitution to do so, Davenport pointed out.

The EU is a collection of diverse cultures and nations that is based on values that make up the common European heritage, and those are democratic respect for human and minority rights and diversity, as well as the obligation to fight discrimination, he emphasized.

Davenport added that he expected candidate countries to accept those values.

He welcomed the support for the Pride Parade that came from some of Serbia's high ranking officials, adding that he will also take part in the walk through Belgrade streets on Saturday should the event be allowed to happen.


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