From left: Gauthier Destenay, Xavier Bettel, Milica Djurdjic, and Ana Brnabić
In a notable meeting between two out heads of government, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg is hosting his counterpart from Serbia, Ana Brnabić, this week to discuss the possibility of Serbia joining the European Union, along with other matters.
Bettel, a gay man, has been Luxembourg’s prime minister since 2013, and Brnabić, a lesbian, was appointed prime minister of Serbia in 2017. While Luxembourg is progressive on many fronts, including LGBTQ rights, Serbia is not. When Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić chose her to succeed him as prime minister, many observers said it was not a sign that the country was embracing LGBTQ equality — indeed, it is deeply homophobic — but a way for him to maintain control. Vučić has been accused of suppressing the media and his opposition, and overlooking corrupt actions by his allies.
In a joint press conference with Brnabić Monday, Bettel predicted that Serbia will someday join the EU, which promotes peace, security, justice, and economic development in member states. “The future of Serbia is in the European family,” he said, according to the Luxembourg Times.
But Serbia must address some important issues in order to be accepted by the EU, he said. He “urged Brnabić’s government to do more to ensure the rule of law, an independent judiciary and press freedom, and to continue the fight against corruption,” the Times reports. He also called on Serbia to recognize the sovereignty of Kosovo, a former province of Serbia that declared itself an independent nation in 2008.
Brnabić said her country is making progress but acknowledged it needs to do more. She expressed commitment to “finding a long-term, sustainable resolution” of the conflict with Kosovo as well.
The two prime ministers will also discuss economic cooperation between their countries, the Times notes.
Brnabić’s state visit to Luxembourg comes three months after Bettel made a trip to Serbia. To mark Brnabić’s arrival in his nation, Bettel tweeted photos of himself and his husband, Gauthier Destenay, with Brnabić and her partner, Milica Djurdjic (Serbia does not allow same-sex marriage).