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 25

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 Topic Period Budget
Serbia
Governance
Human rights
Gender
Decentralisation
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Women’s equality organisations and institutions
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Decentralisation and support to subnational government (incl. accountability)
Human rights
Women's equality organisations and institutions

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 27,5% 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
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Employment creation
EDUCATION
OTHER SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES
Vocational training
Employment policy and administrative management

01.04.2015 - 31.12.2019


CHF 8'010'000



Strengthening regional cooperation on migration in the Western Balkans

01.01.2020 - 31.12.2027

In light of diversifying migration patterns and challenges with increasing regional dimensions, the migration policy priorities of Western Balkan governments are changing and the relevance of regional dialogue, coordination and cooperation is growing. This proposal seeks to promote coherent and effective regional governance of migration in all its multifaceted dimensions contributing to greater social cohesion and regional integration in the Western Balkans.


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.


Coordination and society-wide dialogue on implementing the 2030 Agenda in Serbia - SDGs for all

01.03.2019 - 31.07.2022

The project is a contribution to support an innovative society-wide dialogue on the priorities of Agenda 2030, which leads to citizen-oriented and inclusive policies that contribute to sustainable development. Civil society is supported to influence development priorities through multi-stakeholder platforms, the Government is strengthened to better coordinate and finance Agenda 2030 implementation and the quality and availability of data for Agenda 2030 implementation is improved.


Regional Housing Program (RHP)

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2021

Switzerland participates in the Regional Housing Programme which is a joint initiative by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia. The aim is to contribute to the resolution of the protracted displacement situation of the most vulnerable refugees and displaced persons following the 1991-1995 conflicts on the territory of former Yugoslavia. RHP is expected to provide 11’300 housing units to 34’000 people.


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.


Programme contribution to Brot für alle / Bread for all 2019-2020

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2020

Bread for all (Bfa), the development organization of the protestant churches of Switzerland, has aligned its mandate with the Agenda 2030. Through a network of ten faith-based organizations active in partner countries, Bfa supports disadvantaged people to access Food Security, Education and Health. It also strengthens communities in peacebuilding and conflict transformation, while furthering the social responsibility of Swiss stakeholders.


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 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.

Object 1 – 12 of 25