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

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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.


Contribution to the Roma Education Fund (REF)

01.12.2015 - 31.12.2020

REF is the lead organization for Roma education. SDC is supporting REF from its inception, contributing in a relevant way to the Roma decade. REF recently defined a strategy (2015-20) and is strengthening its results orientation. By continuing the partnership with REF, with a focus on pro-inclusion policy dialogue, SDC ensures coherence and consistence of its position in the Roma inclusion agenda. REF's focus on children from early childhood is crucial for the social inclusion of the next generation of Roma.


Resources for Local Democracy

01.09.2014 - 31.12.2020

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.



Technopark Serbia 2 - boosting exports through technoparks

01.09.2019 - 31.12.2023

The overall objective of the project is to increase the competitiveness of the Serbian high-tech industry by developing a scalable model for Science Technology Parks (STP) in Serbia and implementing it in Ni? and Èaèak, thus contributing to increased revenues and exports from high-tech companies and job creation.


Swiss Entrepreneurship Program, Phase II

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

The Swiss Entrepreneurship Program supports entrepreneurs in developing their growth-oriented businesses. They are the key drivers of innovation, economic growth and job creation.


Organic Trade 4 Development in Eastern Europe

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2023

The program aims at accelerating the market uptake of organic farming in Eastern Europe, Albania, Serbia, and Ukraine, by engaging in a partnership with the Swiss organic sourcing industry for the development of organic exports from the beneficiary countries and by fostering sustainable growth of the organic sector in line with IFOAM's vision 3.0.


Local Government Finance Reforms Serbia Phase II

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

The project supports subnational public financial management (PFM) reforms in specific thematic areas. Based on the good results achieved so far, the second phase envisages a scaling-up of activities to a larger number of municipalities.


IFC Sustainable Cities Platform

01.12.2018 - 30.11.2023

The availability and quality of urban infrastructure and related services constitute an essential basis for enhancing competitiveness, reducing poverty and environmental and climate change impacts.


IFC Debt Resolution Program, Phase II

01.11.2017 - 31.03.2022

The Debt Resolution Program contributes to effective debt management frameworks in Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Kosovo.


Regional Capacity Development Network for Water and Sanitation Services

01.05.2017 - 31.12.2020

Switzerland is a longstanding and important partner of public water supply providers in the Western Balkans. The Regional Capacity Development Network is a signficant additional contribution towards building a professional work force in the region required for a sustainable and inclusive provision of water and sanitation services to the population.


Multi-Country Investment Climate Program

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2024

The Multi-Country Investment Climate Program (MCICP) supports investment climate reform advisory in a total of 20 SECO partner countries. It is implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a globally recognized leader in this field.

Object 13 – 24 of 29