EU Statement on Draft Decision 21/23 on the Revision of Provisional Expenditure Authorization for ODIHR´s observation of elections in Serbia

1450th Special Permanent Council, Vienna, 15 November 2023.

The EU Member States reiterate their full support to ODIHR’s election observation work. We emphasise that ODIHR must be sufficiently resourced and staffed to fulfil its mandate. This includes undertaking all election observation requests from the OSCE participating States, be it expected or unexpected.

We acknowledge that an additional allocation is required in order to observe the upcoming early parliamentary elections in the Republic of Serbia in line with the recommendations of the Needs Assessment Mission as stated in the report of 16 – 20 October 2023.

Therefore, without setting a precedent, the EU Member States support the proposal to transfer part of the identified savings from the Human Dimension Meetings Programme in the amount of EUR 170,000. The EU Member States underline that this decision will have no impact on the Unified Budget 2024, as regards the resource allocation to the mandated Human Dimension Implementation Meeting.

The EU Member States regret that it was not possible to utilise the Human Dimension Meetings Programme for its intended purpose due to one participating State again blocking consensus on the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting. The EU fully supported the Draft Decisions on HDIM as presented by the CiO and stood ready to join consensus. We emphasize that HDIM is a mandated event and remains a crucial and unique platform for engaging with civil society, for listening to independent voices and for holding our governments accountable for the implementation of our OSCE commitments. This decision does not establish any precedent for the budget or organization of future Human Dimension Implementation Meetings.

The EU Member States reiterate their full support for the mandate and autonomy of ODIHR. ODIHR’s activities across its entire mandate are essential to promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms in the OSCE region. We call on all participating States to ensure that ODIHR receives the necessary funds.

Candidate countries North Macedonia *, Montenegro *, Albania *, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina *, Moldova and Serbia, potential candidate country Georgia and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area and San Marino and Andorra also align themselves with this statement.

*North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina continue to be a part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.