Klemen Groselj, a Slovenian Europarlamenatian, told N1 that MEPs discussed on Thursday alleged forced labour in the Chinese tire Linglong company in northern Serbia and the environmentalist protests in the country, adding the debate was over, and the voting was to come.
He said that the MEPs agreed that the situation in Linglong was unacceptable, as was the lack of Serbia’s people rights to peaceful protests. “The first question was what did the police do? The European Commission (EC) view was clear – the police are primarily there to protect the demonstrators who exercise their Constitutional right,” Groselj said.
He added he and his colleagues shared concerns about how what happened to the Vietnamese workers in the Lingolong factory could happen.
“How was it possible that Serbia’s authorities could allow the situation in which workers are slaves to the employer? That’s the first question. The second concerns the Chinese investments in Serbia as a European Union candidate country. Such investments with such treatment of the workers are unacceptable,” Groselj said, adding. The EP reaction would have been the same regardless of the investors.
He warned that as a candidate country, Serbia “is obliged to accept European laws as well, regardless whether it concerns (Anglo-Australian mining company) Rio Tinto or Linglong.”
“We had similar situations in some EU member states, and the institutions reacted. What is surprising is that Serbia’s institutions can be very efficient in such cases. So, does that mean that Chinese investments have a special legal status in Serbia?” Groselj asked.