EU Neighborhood and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi has replied to a letter sent by MEPs from the socialist and democratic parties, in which they had expressed the concern over the state of democracy and political situation in Serbia, saying that a report of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on the upcoming election would the basis for European Commission Annual Progress Report for Serbia.
Varhelyi said that the EU had been carefully monitoring the developments in Serbia. “Serbia is a crucial partner for the EU and has made a strategic choice to join the EU. The credibility of this commitment depends on clear public communication of the Serbian government and implementation of the necessary reforms,” it is said in the reply which portal European Western Balkans (EWB) saw on June 16.
As regards the parliamentary, provincial and local elections scheduled for June 21, Varhelyi wrote that it was important that all political stakeholders had every confidence in the election process. He also said that the elections should be held in accordance with ODIHR’s recommendations and hailed the deployment of a special ODIHR election observation mission, particularly in the difficult times due to Covid-19.
Varhelyi added that particularly under current conditions, “when certain activities are still restricted, the role of free media, a level playing field for all political stakeholders and a proactive role of media watchdogs are important.”