Varhelyi: EU following expropriation in Serbia

NEWS 13.10.2021 14:25
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Oliver varhelji
Source: EU COMMISSION/POOL/ AFP

European Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said on Wednesday that the European Commission is monitoring rule of law in European Union candidate countries such as Serbia, including the conditions for the expropriation of land.

In his written reply to a question from Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) MEP Marian-Jean Marinescu about land expropriation around the Serbian mining town of Bor where the Chinese Zijin company has taken over the RTB mining and smelting plant, Varhelyi said that the issue primarily falls within the jurisdiction of the Serbian authorities.

“Serbia is expected to implement its own legislation,” he said and added that In a situation of a potential conflict between the legislation and the Constitution, every legal or natural person in Serbia has a right to initiate a procedure for assessing its constitutionality before the Constitutional Court. “The lawfulness of expropriations may also be assessed by the European Court of Human Rights. In the first place, however, such issues fall within the competence of Serbian national authorities,” the commissioner said.

The ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) is an associate member of the EPP. Marinescu said that the section of the Serbian law on mining and geological research which allows expropriation of property from private or public companies runs counter to the constitution which says that expropriation is allowed only when it is in the public interest.

The Varhelyi said that the European Commission closely follows environmental developments in Serbia including in the Bor region and raises the importance of environmental protection in its dialogue with Serbia. This includes the request for proper environmental impact assessments related to investments, he said.