Democracy, human rights and the rule of law are core European values and the most important preconditions for EU membership. In line with the joint declaration from the 13th meeting of the EU-Serbia Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee | European Economic and Social Committee (europa.eu), we stress that fair, transparent elections are essential for any functioning democratic society, and that complete confidence in electoral processes is essential for democracy and rule of law.
We congratulate the Serbian people for the increased turnout to exercise their democratic right to vote on 3 April 2022, commend the participation of diverse political forces following the inter-party dialogue facilitated by the European Parliament, and welcome the return to a more pluralistic parliament in Serbia.
Conversely, we express our deepest concerns about a number of shortcomings favouring the incumbents in the electoral process, including the highly polarised political environment, unbalanced access to media, pressure on voters and lack of transparency in campaign financing.
Furthermore, we strongly condemn all reported violations, coercions or open violence at polling stations on the day of the election, and particularly deplore the irregularities observed during the election and post-election process in the city of Belgrade. Finally, we regret the unclear communication by the Republic Electoral Commission (REC) on preliminary election results.
As far-reaching reforms remain to be implemented to ensure that confidence in the electoral process is restored in Serbia, we wholeheartedly encourage the elected authorities to strive for real, transparent, inclusive, constructive dialogue across the political spectrum, in close cooperation with Serbian civil society, and to demonstrate that they are genuinely working towards accession to the European Union, Serbia's main political and economic partner.