EU in Serbia: Higher turnout would be better, but referendum results positive

NEWS 17.01.2022 22:07
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Source: Beta/Amir Hamzagić

The head of the EU delegation in Serbia, Emanuele Giaufret, said on Monday the European Union saw the adoption of Constitutional amendments in the country's referendum as a positive result in strengthening the independence of the judiciary.

Giaufret told the state RTS TV that it was „good news for the EU that the citizens who went to the polls and supported the reforms.“

He added the EU would like the turnout was but said: „that (turnout percentage) does not affect the result of the referendum“.

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„Certainly, reforms are good if they result from consensus, but the result from yesterday is obvious. We welcome the fact that this step has been made, „Giaufret said.

Asked whether Brussels would monitor the adoption of numerous laws to implement the changes in practice, he said the rules were a priority „because what has been achieved must be implemented“.

„We welcome the Government’s intention to keep the Venice Commission involved in the implementation. And the EU will closely monitor, but also support it financially and technically,“ he said.

He added that „this is not just about Serbia joining the Union, but also about the rule of law.“

„We know that this is an important condition for EU membership,“ he said, stressing that Serbia should work on reforms, the fight against corruption and organised crime, media strategy and freedoms, and greater security for journalists.

Giaufret said that some parties that supported European integration were against the reforms.

„There is no consensus on Serbia’s political scene on the issue, and that is understandable. What is important is that at the end of the day, the majority of voters who turned out voted yes,“ he told RTS.

Asked whether Brussels could do more than ask the Kosovo authorities to allow Serbs in Kosovo to vote in the referendum, Giaofret said Pristina was publicly asked to conduct the vote.

„We called on Pristina to carry out the same procedures as in previous years, to allow the OSCE to count the votes and transport the ballots to the voters … We are sorry that in the end, we could not find a way to have the same procedures as before,“ he said.

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