Several European Parliament (EP) political groups adopted on Wednesday the final version of joint motion for resolution on breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Serbia.
The document N1 had access showed EPP, S&D, Igor Greselj on behalf of RENEW EUROPE, Greens/EFA , ECR, Left group, as EP’s political groups who joined in the motion for a resolution against forced labour issues in the Chinese tire Linglong factory and environmental protests in Serbia. It will be discussed in Strasbourg on Thursday.
The EP expressed deep concerns over the alleged forced labour, violation of human rights and human trafficking of around 500 Vietnamese in the Chinese Linglong factory construction site in western Serbia.
It further urged Serbia’s authorities to investigate the case carefully and ensure the respect of fundamental human rights, especially labour rights in the factory and to provide the European Union with the conclusions of its investigations and hold the perpetrators accountable.
The EP “calls on the Serbian authorities to allow free, meaningful and unhindered access to the Linglong factory in Zrenjanin and the lodging facilities of the Vietnamese workers for NGO’s, CSO’s, EU officials and other officials from international organisations; urges the EU delegation to Serbia to closely follow-up on these processes and the fate of the 500 Vietnamese workers.”
It also called on Serbia “to improve alignment with EU labour law, adopt a new law on the right to strike, tackle undeclared work and amend the law on inspection oversight to comply with the relevant ILO conventions which have been ratified by Serbia.”
The joint resolution also tackled what it said were “serious problems of corruption and the rule of law in the environment area, the general lack of transparency and environmental and social impact assessments of infrastructure projects, including from Chinese investments and loans, as well as from multinational companies, such as Rio Tinto.”
The MEPs also Expressed concern over “China’s increasing influence in Serbia and across the Western Balkans.”
They called on Serbia “to strengthen its legal compliance standards for Chinese business activities; emphasises that Serbian labour and environmental laws should also apply to Chinese companies operating in the country.”
Besides, MEPs said they were deeply concerned “over the increasing violence by extremist and hooligan groups against the peaceful environmental demonstrations” and regretted “the amount of force used by the police against protesters.”
They urged Serbia’s authorities to properly investigate recent cases of mass protests in which the police force has allegedly overstepped its authority or failed to protect the protesters from violence.
In the joint motion for resolution, MEPs also said they regretted “the long-term trends of media bias and the blurring of lines between the activities of state officials, police and party politicians; regrets the deterioration of media freedom and increase in abusive language, intimidation and even hate speech towards members of the parliamentary opposition, independent intellectuals, NGOs, journalists and prominent individuals, including from members of the ruling parties, whose responsibility to act with respect towards all representatives of the media is of utmost importance; urges the Serbian authorities to take immediate measures to guarantee freedom of expression and media independence and to ensure proper investigations into these cases.”