- March 16, 2022
- March 16, 2022
On March 16, 2022, the Aspen Institute Germany hosted an online discussion on the topic “Towards the Elections in Serbia – the State of Democracy and the Future of the EU Accession Process” with Bojan Elek, Deputy Director, Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP), and Ambassador Susanne Schütz, Director for South-Eastern Europe, Turkey, OSCE and Council of Europe, German Federal Foreign Office. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Stormy-Annika Mildner, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Germany.
On April 3, 2022, Serbia will hold general elections to elect the president, the national assembly, and the Belgrade city assembly. Many believe that these elections are crucial for the country’s future. No one can predict what will happen after April 3, but it can be said with certainty that the elections will take place under conditions of severe political and social divisions which were described by Freedom House as a “transitional or hybrid regime” only two years ago. There is no opposition in the Serbian Parliament, which boycotted the previous elections due to the electoral conditions. The opposition has criticized unequal media representation and shortcomings in the electoral processes. In addition, the European integration process has progressed slowly or stalled for two years and has been a box-checking exercise instead of a substantial reform process for a long time prior.
Therefore, this online discussion addressed the following questions: Why is there no progress in the rule of law and democracy standards in Serbia, and how will that affect the upcoming elections? What are the missing elements for European integration, on both the European and Serbian side, that are inhibiting substantial reforms? What will the consequences of the election results be with regards to the EU accession process? How can the reform process be encouraged more effectively, especially in the fields of democracy and the rule of law? What role do external actors play, and what geopolitical interests are they pursuing?
The virtual discussion was part of the Aspen Berlin Policy Hub for think tanks from the Western Balkans, a project funded by the Open Society Foundations and the Federal Press Agency.