Public administration reform is extremely important, not only because of Serbia’s intention to become a member of the EU, but above all for the well-being of citizens. The main goal is to establish a functional public administration system that provides quality services to citizens and provides good conditions for economic growth and social development.

At the opening of the Dialogue on Strategic Policies of Public Administration Reform, Nicola Bertolini, Head of Cooperation in the EU Delegation in Serbia, thanked the participants for their commitment and efforts to further improve coordination and implement this complex reform.

“We are hearing promising news about the implemented activities, and that is very encouraging. Your presence and commitment today and in the near future assures us that there is strong political support, without which this reform would not be feasible. We welcome further improvement of the political and legal framework, the best testimony of which is the last year’s adoption of the new complex strategic framework for 2021 – 2030. We hope to see a better internal connection of the identified specific priorities in the 6 pillars of the reform and a better and more effective implementation. There is no doubt that public administration reform will remain a strategic and vital area of functioning of every country. An efficient, functional and transparent public administration is crucial for the effective achievement of any reform. For this reason, public administration reform remain a basic precondition for a successful accession process. I am pleased to confirm the successful completion of a significant EU sectoral reform contract for public administration reform of EUR 80 million”, said Bertolini.

Michael Miller, Head of Unit for Serbia and Montenegro at the EC Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, pointed out that numerous positive development were recorded at the Special Group for Public Administration Reform.

“First of all, last year’s adoption of the PAR Strategic Framework and Public Finance Management (PFM) program. This lays the groundwork for further efforts. I am glad that the implementation has already started and that the first annual report has already been published. I’d like to share something with you – yesterday our colleagues from the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission and the colleagues from the Delegation of the European Union held consultations with civil society organizations specialized in public administration reform, as part of the preparation for today’s meeting. I encourage you to continue to involve civil society organizations in the monitoring of the new PAR and PFM Strategies”, stated Miller.

Sanja Putnik, Assistant Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, said that Public Administration Reform is continuously among the priorities of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and that it is one of the prerequisites for the EU accession, together with the rule of law and economic governance.

“Only with adequate administrative capacities can Serbia implement all the necessary reforms foreseen by the EU accession process and the negotiation chapters. With pleasure I can say that based on the positively evaluated efforts in the implementation of reforms, Serbia managed to disburse all the funds provided for in the Sector Reform Contract for Public Administration and Public Finance Reform. The successful completion of the implementation of this contract indicates our readiness and determination to continue on the path of reforms and European integration, and therefore we applied for new funds through this instrument”, said Putnik.

Miroslav Gačević, acting Assistant Minister of European Integration reminded everyone that in December 2021, Serbia opened Cluster 4 – Green Agenda and Sustainable Connectivity, and the European Commission stated, in its report, that Serbia is ready to open Cluster 3 – Competitiveness and Inclusive Growth.

“Public Administration Reform is part of the new methodology in Cluster 1 – Fundamentals. This confirms the importance of public administration reform for the entire integration process and the fact that it is a necessary part of every effective state capable of implementing obligations from the EU accession process. This year, the Ministry of European Integration started preparing a new National Program for adoption of the EU acquis. The preparation of this document is in the final stage. The importance we attach to public administration reform is confirmed by the decision to support the financing of two Sector Budget Support programs in this area. The second Sector Budget Support program is currently in the final phase of negotiations and should be an integral part of the IPA Program for 2022. We have earmarked EUR 30 million for that program together with our partners from the EU Delegation”, emphasized Gačević.

Verica Ignjatović, Assistant Minister of Finance, stated that public finance are a priority not only for the Ministry of Finance, but also for the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

“Public finance are an important basis for the implementation of other reform processes. In the global economic crises, the importance of maintaining stable public finance has proven to be important. This is the reason why we decided to adopt a new document, after a five-year reform period – Public Finance Management Reform Program for the period 2021 – 2025. The document primarily relies on the most important reforms undertaken in the budget cycle not only by the Ministry, but also by other relevant institutions. The main priorities are, first of all, digitization in public finance and also various obligations arising from the EU integration process”, said Ignjatović.

The dialogue on strategic policies of the Public Administration Reform was organized by the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government with the support of the EU project for public administration reform within the Sector Reform Contract, and the EU provided almost EUR 6.5 million in grants for the implementation.

The project supports implementation of the new legal framework for policy-making and evidence-based strategic planning through the provision of recommendations in the process of policy development and adoption, support for the revision or development related to public administration reform, and the improvement of institutional and personnel capacities for implementation of the reform in the field of public policy development and public administration reform in general.

Watch the video “Public administration reform with the support of the European Union – path to a competent civil servant”: