Belgrade is preparing to host the most important event for the LGBTI+ community in Europe. The EuroPride Parade will take place on the 17 of September 2022, but the event risks being banned by the government.
Belgrade Pride is organised by LGBTI+ and human rights organisations and individuals in order to raise the visibility of the LGBTI+ community, to combat prejudice and stereotypes, and fight for equality in the country and region.
In September 2019, Belgrade triumphed in winning a historic bid to host the pan-European international LGBTI+ event – EuroPride 2022, against stiff competition from Barcelona, Dublin and a joint bid from Portugal. This is the first time EuroPride will be held in Southeast Europe, a region with a specific and turbulent history of LGBTI+ activism.
Earlier in 2019, Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić, who is also the first woman and first openly gay person to hold the office, signed a Letter of Endorsement for Belgrade’s bid to host EuroPride in 2022, which states:
“With this support, I want to emphasize the Government’s determination to fight discrimination and to reaffirm our goal of building a better and more equal society for all. The Government I lead is committed to ensuring the full respect of human rights of all citizens and we hereby promise to help the Belgrade Pride organizing team in ensuring a safe and successful organization of EuroPride in Belgrade in 2022.”
On the 27th of August 2022, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, appointed Ana Brnabić for another term as Serbian Prime Minister. While addressing the media, Vučić has also stated that “EuroPride will be canceled”. The statement has provoked strong reactions from the public, activists and political parties, both internationally and in Serbia.
“The state, namely the police, can attempt to ban the EuroPride march, but can not cancel it. That kind of decision would be against the Constitution. The Constitutional Court had already revoked similar decisions in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Events held in closed venues that are planned for EuroPride 2022 cannot be forbidden. We are waiting for the official decision to which we will issue an appeal”, said organizers of EuroPride, and also added that they continue preparations for all events that were planned.
A ban on Pride events was ruled by the European Court of Human Rights to be a breach of Articles 11, 13 and 14 of the European Convention. As a member state of the Council of Europe, Serbia has ratified the Convention and would be in breach of its obligations if it were to try to ban EuroPride.
This campaign is run by Belgrade Pride and endorsed by the European Pride Organisers Association.