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 27

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



Municipal Development in South and South West Serbia

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

Switzerland will support the Serbian government to reform local administrations and ensure wide use of good governance principles in order to make local governments and services more effective and accessible to citizens. SwissPRO will scale up intervention to 99 municipalities (2/3 of the entire country) south of Belgrade to improve good governance, social inclusion and gender equality. It complements EUPRO which focuses on economic development and together they are the largest development intervention in Serbia.


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.


Strengthening Oversight Function and Transparency of the Parliament

01.11.2015 - 31.10.2019

To benefit Citizens whom they represent, parliamentarians have an important stake in law making including accurate consultation mechanisms. Equally important is their oversight function over the executive's expenditures. Also, the representation of Citizens as per their political power and regional affiliation reflects important features of an effective parliament. The intervention will address identified shortcomings both in the National Assembly as well as in local assemblies of Serbia, thus enhancing their democratic legitimation.


From Education to Employment (E2E): Youth Skills Development and Public Private Partnership

01.04.2015 - 31.12.2019

One of the most challenging problems and a key concern of the Government of Serbia is high youth unemployment (51%). With the EU Accession negotiations, a new strategic dialogue on employment and social issues has been launched. The Government of Serbia has invited Switzerland to support the dual VET reform in Serbia. The E2E program aims to assist the development of a system of tailor made youth employment policies and measures to stimulate employment prospects through public private partnerships.


Private Sector Development South Serbia

01.10.2014 - 30.09.2018

The Private Sector Development South Serbia Programme will contribute to increased income and employment opportunities for the population, especially young people and women, of 90 (out of 167) Serbian municipalities. This will be mainly achieved by reorienting training and skills development to the demand of the private sector and promoting efficient and functional cooperation among relevant actors of the Furniture/wood and Horticulture sectors.


Resources for Local Democracy

01.09.2014 - 31.10.2019

At the request of the Serbian Government, SDC will support three reforms on Serbia’s path towards European integration: 1) the enforcement of a municipal finance law that awards good performance of local governments and ensures the necessary resources for democratic decisions; 2) the development of regional development policies for reducing regional disparities, including mechanisms for disaster risk prevention; and 3) high quality municipal audits aiming to achieve a rational use of public resources.


Institutional Support to Standing Conferenceof Towns and Municipalities

01.05.2014 - 30.09.2018

Serbia remains fairly centralized while local governments have limited capacities. Division of tasks, responsibilities and competencies between municipalities and central state is important. The Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM), association of local governments in Serbia, strives to overcome gaps between central and local level. SDC supports SCTM advocacy department to represent municipalities before the central government and support its members to implement policies and regulations.

 


Object 1 – 12 of 27