Serbia

Switzerland is assisting Serbia along the path to regional and European integration by facilitating Serbia’s transition to efficient and effective democratic institutions and processes and by promoting sustainable economic growth for all.  Swiss cooperation with Serbia focuses on supporting local government, economic development, job creation, as well as sustainable energy management and urban development.

© FDFA

The collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s severely affected Serbia’s economy and infrastructure. The country has made considerable progress since then, however. In 2014, negotiations on membership with the EU began, many promising reforms for public administration and the economy were decided, and unemployment began to fall. Nevertheless, major challenges remain to ensure prosperity for all. Many people are living in poverty, and unemployment is high, especially in rural areas. The economy is growing only slowly and the EU accession negotiations are also only advancing at a slow pace.

Democratic governance

Switzerland is supporting Serbia in the process of decentralisation. It is helping to make local administrations and governments transparent and efficient to enable them to provide high-quality services in line with the needs of the population as a whole and those of the private sector. Citizens, municipalities and civil society organisations are being helped to ensure that the interests and needs of all are taken into account at both local and national levels and that government is made accountable.

State and Economic Reforms

Economic development and employment

Switzerland is working in Serbia to promote sustainable economic growth. To achieve this, the framework conditions for Serbian companies are being improved to give them easier access to foreign markets and financing opportunities.  In addition, Switzerland is promoting increased innovation and entrepreneurship to increase their competitiveness.  It is facilitating the development of an efficient and effective finance administration that is both transparent and accountable.   In order to reduce the high level of unemployment, market-oriented vocational training is being expanded, especially for young people and disadvantaged groups

Private Sector Development and financial services

Sustainable energy management and urban development

Improved energy efficiency and greater use of renewable energy sources not only contribute to lower CO2 emissions but also help meet the conditions for EU membership. Switzerland is supporting Serbia with innovative projects to further promote renewable energies, such as biomass and geothermal sources, thus reducing CO2 emissions. More efficient energy use is being achieved through rehabilitating district heating systems and renovating public buildings. Long-term energy planning and improvements to the administration of urban infrastructure is also expected to enable cities and municipalities to be better prepared for possible threats.

Energy supply

Migration

The aim of the migration partnership concluded between Switzerland and Serbia in 2009 is to address together the challenges of migration and exploit the economic and social potential to their mutual advantage. Various measures to achieve this are being supported, such as the reintegration of returnees and the prevention of irregular migration

Migration

Approaches and partners

Switzerland is coordinating its transition cooperation closely with local authorities, other donor countries and international organisations such as the EU, UN and the international financial institutions. All programmes of the SDC and State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) integrate the principles of good governance and gender equality.

Important partners for Switzerland in Serbia:

  • Ministries, city and municipal authorities, national-level local authority associations
  • Swiss and local NGOs.
  • Bilateral and multilateral partners: the EU, Germany, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), UNDP, UNICEF, the UN Office for  Project Services (UNOPS), KfW Group (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau).

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 30

Capacity building for Serbian municipalities

Around 50 parliamentarians in session at the Serbian parliament.

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

Switzerland is supporting the Serbian government’s public administration reform, which aims to make it more effective and accessible to both citizens and the private sector. SwissPRO project is being run in 99 municipalities (two-thirds of Serbia) to improve good governance, social inclusion and gender equality.

Country/region Period Budget
Serbia

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021


CHF 7'000'000



From Education to Employment (E2E)

A young woman at a computer regulating machines.

01.04.2015 - 31.12.2019

Serbia, which is currently negotiating accession to the European Union (EU), must undergo reforms to meet the criteria that apply to EU member states. Unemployment among young people is currently 51% and is a major concern for the Serbian government. Serbia wants to base the reform of its vocational training system on the success factors of the Swiss system of dual education and training and has invited Switzerland to assist it in this crucially important reform process.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Serbia
Economy and Employment
Vocational training and skills development
Labor market development
EDUCATION
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
Vocational training
Employment policy and administrative management

01.04.2015 - 31.12.2019


CHF 8'010'000



The social integration of Roma children requires education

A group of Roma children in a classroom taking part in arts and crafts.

15.06.2013 - 31.12.2018

As in other Eastern European countries, not all children in Serbia have the same possibility of attending school. Since 2004 the SDC has been actively involved in promoting the integration of Roma children and children with disabilities in kindergartens and primary schools. The sooner efforts are made to combat the marginalisation of the most vulnerable groups, the greater the chance of their integration in society in the long term.

Country/region Period Budget
Serbia

15.06.2013 - 31.12.2018


CHF 8'460'000



Planned project

For an Active Civil Society -Together (ACT)

01.10.2019 - 30.09.2027

The programme supports higher participation of civil society and all citizens (men and women) in decision-making, particularly at the local level. Civil society organizations (CSOs) are strengthened to rebuild the links with citizens and increase their capacities in order to better reflect citizens’ needs. Civil society organizations will better cooperate with each other and establish partnerships with local authorities to address communities’ needs and improve public services to citizens.


Policy advice for efficient VET reform in Serbia

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2021

Through this policy support to the Serbian Ministry of Education, governance mechanism of the new VET law will be put in place in a transparent and inclusive manner. State capacities will be able to evaluate the VET system. By increasing the outreach, the new system will be more need-based and available to all. All this will contribute to increased employment options for VET graduates. Partners are the Center for Education Policy (Serbian NGO) and the Swiss KOF.


Institutional Support to Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities

01.10.2018 - 30.09.2022

SDC is providing an institutional contribution to the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM) to lead policy dialogue, advocacy and represent interests of local governments (LGs) before the central government in policy and law making. SCTM will promote decentralisation in Serbia together with the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self Government, and support its member LGs to implement adopted laws and pursue reforms, ultimately bringing benefits to all citizens, men and women, in all sectors governed by LG.


Private Sector Development in Southwest Serbia

01.08.2018 - 31.07.2022

The Project – a mandate to the Regional Development Agency Zlatibor – will contribute to increased income and employment opportunities of Southwest Serbia’s inhabitants, especially young people and women. This will be achieved by improving the performance (inclusive growth and access to relevant services) of the tourism and traditional products sectors. The project is an essential part of SDCs commitment towards supporting growth of income and employment through private sector development in Serbia.


Policy advice for efficient VET reform in Serbia

01.06.2018 - 31.12.2021

Through this policy support to the Serbian Ministry of Education, governance mechanism of the new VET law will be put in place in a transparent and inclusive manner. State capacities will be able to evaluate the VET system. By increasing the outreach, the new system will be more need-based and available to all. All this will contribute to increased employment options for VET graduates. Partners are the Center for Education Policy (Serbian NGO) and the Swiss KOF.


Support to strengthening Social Inclusion in Serbia

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

The programme is a contribution to improve the design, coordination and implementation of social inclusion policies of the Government of Serbia within the mandate of the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit (SIPRU), which is affiliated to the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. The quality and the capacities for implementation of the required social reforms, in the Europan integration process, will be improved and state institutions at national and local level will be able to better respond to the needs of vulnerable citizens.


Private Sector Development in South-West Serbia

01.06.2017 - 31.05.2022

The Private Sector Development (PSD) South-West Serbia Programme supports the development of more inclusive, equitable and non-discriminatory market systems, through interventions in the sectors of traditional products (raspberry and honey) and tourism. This will provide rural population and specifically young people and women, access to employment and income opportunities, as well as improved access to finance, social benefits and know-how.


Municipal Economic Development in Eastern Serbia

01.05.2017 - 30.04.2021

The Project will scale up successful experience of property tax collection to 1/3 of Serbian municipalities. The municipalities will be able to increase own revenue and use it to fund services and communal intrastructures for citizens and businesses. lmproved taxation will also lead to a better interaction between citizens and local governments on investment priorities. Policy dialogue will work on simplifying local government tax laws and making them fairer and more transparent.


Social lnclusion and lmprovement of Living Conditions for Roma and other Vulnerable Groups in Serbia

01.12.2016 - 31.12.2018

This project, being a part of the broad HEKS-EHO program, defines an innovative approach to tackle access to quality education and improving of housing conditions of Roma. Through the dweller driven housing model, the project is upgrading the substandard Roma settlements, providing better living conditions for Roma. By institutionalisation of Roma teacher‘s assistants in education, it assists in enrollment and higher attainment of Roma pupils and skills increase of Roma adults, contributing to a more sustainable integration of Roma.

Object 1 – 12 of 30