City Research Online

The Europeanization and Politicisation of LGBT Rights in Serbia

Slootmaeckers, K. ORCID: 0000-0002-1189-5095 (2021). The Europeanization and Politicisation of LGBT Rights in Serbia. In: Fábián, K., Johnson, J. E. & Lazda, M. (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Gender in Central-Eastern Europe and Eurasia. . Abingdon, UK: Routledge.


As seen through the development of the anti-discrimination legislative framework and the history of Belgrade Pride parades, the European Union (EU) accession process has played an inconsistent role in shaping LGBT politics and rights in Serbia. While fostering some legislative changes and supporting some activism, the EU has periodically backed off on its pressure in service of other EU interests, such as regional stability. In part as a consequence of the politics of the EU enlargement process, many of the changes in Serbia—such as the region and the regime’s first lesbian prime minister—have been symbolic, a means to demonstrate Europeanness. This chapter’s discussion of the case of Serbia is situated within the wider debates on the role of EU enlargement on LGBT politics across candidate countries. While advances in LGBT rights have resulted from a combination of EU pressure, long standing activist pressures, and tactical use of EU leverage, the chapter demonstrates that, because the EU has been inconsistent in its commitments to LGBT rights throughout the accession process, Serbian governments have been able to instrumentalize the adoption and non-adoption of LGBT rights to further their own political agenda.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in The Routledge Handbook of Gender in Central-Eastern Europe and Eurasia on 16 July 2021, available online:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
J Political Science
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
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