This live-streamed webinar will bring together well-known public figures and activists from Serbia, who will explore the changes in Serbia over the past 20 years. The speakers will discuss how the situation in the country has evolved, and how current levels of state capture compare to those of the 1990s.
The 5th of October 2020 marks 20 years since the fall of Slobodan Milošević following mass citizen protests, an event that citizens had hoped would be a turning point for Serbia’s democratic future and for the possibility of EU integration. Two decades later, Serbia is now in its ninth year under the increasingly authoritarian rule of President Aleksandar Vučić, former Minister of Information in the Milošević administration.
Despite its initial promise, the turbulence of the last two decades has soured the memories of the 5 October ‘revolution’. Many citizens now comment that there is little hope for positive change in the country. Independent monitoring bodies note significant levels of democratic backsliding, particularly state capture, media repression and the unconstitutional accumulation of executive powers by the president. Freedom house has demoted Serbia to a ‘partly free’ country, while Reporters without Borders has stated that the media scene in Serbia is among the 20 fastest regressing in the world.
The June 2020 elections – boycotted by the majority of the opposition and rife with irregularities – have de facto put an end to Serbia’s multiparty democracy as the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) obtained a constitutional majority and together with coalition partners, won the majority of seats in every single municipality. Meanwhile, the EU accession process has stalled with no new negotiation chapters opened in the past year. Many Serbian citizens now compare the level of repression today to that of the 1990s under Slobodan Milošević, with some claiming the current situation might actually be worse.
Watch the live event on EED Youtube channel.
Our expert panel will include:
- Aida Ćorović, Activist and journalist
Aida Corović became an anti-war activist and human rights defender in 1991 – rare at the time – and was actively engaged in trying to prevent war and the spread of disinformation about Serbia’s role in the wars in former Yugoslavia. Since 1997, she has led the local NGO, Urban-in, in Novi Pazar, working with youth, women and other marginalised groups. Operating in multi-ethnic surroundings in close proximity to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo, in a majority Bosniak-populated region in Serbia, Corović’s work has been met with both repression and praise. She was an independent member of Parliament from 2014-2016. Corović writes for various media in Serbia and the wider region. She has a particular focus on the revival and initiation of regional cooperation.
- Dobrica Veselinović, Activist, Ne Da(vi)mo Beograd/Don’t Let Belgrade D(r)own
Dobrica Veselinović was born in Belgrade in 1981, where he has lived his whole life. He has been active in civil society for 10 years. In recent years, he has focussed on issues of urban development and fighting for public spaces and common goods. Veselinović is one of the founders of the collective Ministry of Space, the initiative Don’t let Belgrade d(r)own and the Civic Front. He likes to organise people and things and create situations that will put a smile on people’s faces. He endeavours to fix what is broken, uncover what is forgotten, revive what is abandoned, and finish what is unfinished.
- Miodrag Majić, Judge of the Court of Appeals in Belgrade
Miodrag Majić is a judge of the Court of Appeals in Belgrade. Independently and as a co-author, he has published ten monographs and more than thirty articles in the field of criminal and international criminal law and has participated in the drafting of several key laws in these areas. He is a member of the Board of Directors and one of the founders of the Judicial Research Centre (CEPRIS) in Belgrade. For ten years he has regularly published texts on Judge Majić’s blog (www.misamajic.com), on topics such as corruption, nepotism and political pressures in the judiciary. He is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards for raising awareness about the state of the judiciary and has also published several literary works.
- Nedim Sejdinović, Journalist (Vreme, Danas, Al Jazeera, ...)
Nedim Sejdinović is a journalist for the weekly Vreme, columnist for daily Danas and a contributor on the regional portals of Al Jazeera, Tacno.net and Lupiga. He has authored two works of fiction, a collection of political essays, as well as a large number of investigations and analyses of media policy. He is the former president, main board president, and secretary general of the Independent Association of Journalists of Vojvodina ((IAJV). He was previously editor of the weekly papers Nezavisni and Bulevar, and the portal Autonomija. Born in Tuzla in 1972.
EED Executive Director, Jerzy Pomianowski, will introduce the panel together with MEP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, Shadow Rapporteur for Serbia for the Greens/EFA.
Prof. Dubravka Stojanovic, History professor at the University of Belgrade, will moderate the discussion.
Interpretation from Serbian into English will be provided. The event will be recorded and published on EED social media channels and website.
Info: firstname.lastname@example.org Event Report