EU, US, UK welcome upcoming constitutional referendum in Serbia
Joint statement, also signed by Germany, France, Italy, calls on Kosovo to allow Serbs to vote
The EU, US, UK, Germany, France, and Italy welcomed on Friday the upcoming constitutional referendum in Serbia, which will be held across the country on Jan. 16.
In a joint statement issued by the EU delegation, US, British, German, Italian, and French embassies in Belgrade welcomed the referendum on a constitutional amendment to reform the judiciary in line with EU requirements.
Among others, the changes will end political interference in the election of judges and increase the autonomy of the public prosecutor's office.
The polls, according to the statement, are a “key step to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and to enhance the transparency and effectiveness of the country's rule of law institutions,” which supports Serbia's EU integration.
The partners urged Kosovo to allow Serbs living in the country to vote and expressed disappointment with the government's decision not to allow representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to collect ballots as they did in the past.
They also called on both Kosovo and Serbia to “refrain from actions and rhetoric that increase tensions” and encouraged them to participate constructively in the EU-facilitated dialogue to maintain regional stability.