Sweden’s support, which is usually channelled through ministries and authorities, is largely to adapt Serbia’s policies and economy for EU membership.
Despite the reform-friendly government, Serbia’s institutions and administration must now speed up the pace of becoming more democratic and modern. Gender equality needs to improve and the Serbian environmental policy needs to catch up with EU measures to protect the environment and utilize natural resources carefully.
Support built on old relations
Our support is built on relations between Sweden and Serbia, which have a long history.
In the 1960s, many people from the former Yugoslavia came to Sweden to work. The two countries’ long-term relationship has been characterized by many years of trading and contacts within the private sector. During the war in the 1990s, Serbia received humanitarian support from Sweden.
Giving people insight into how the state is run
Previous support, such as economic cooperation, will be phased out during 2010. We are concentrating our efforts where we believe that the support can achieve the best results. Our support for democratic governance will therefore continue.
Serbian administration has not reformed to a sufficient extent, but our continued support aims to improve these efforts. According to the Paris Agenda, development assistance to Serbia will be co-ordinated, an ambition that has not come particularly far. However, our support for co-ordinating development assistance from various donors will continue.
To gain an understanding of the situation regarding poverty, we are also supporting efforts to produce statistics for gender equality and the environment, as well as other areas.
Teaching civil servants to resist corruption
Getting the general public to participate in and have an influence on how the state is run is important to democracy. Our support is aimed at training civil servants and administrations in how to combat corruption. Within the area of corruption, our previous support has led to the creation of Serbia’s anti-corruption strategy.
One key stipulation in Serbia’s application for EU membership is to reform the security sector. There have been cases where the Serbian police have used torture to extract confessions, according to the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ report on human rights. Another issue is to get more women and Roma into the security sector.
Women and minorities influential to developments
We have a strong profile within gender-equality matters. In Serbia, women, especially Roma, are clearly underrepresented in society. One of the organizations working with this matter is the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, which is working to drive a strategy for gender equality through the country’s gender equality directorate.
In addition, a number of Swedish non-governmental organizations are receiving support to drive gender equality for Roma and LGBTs, among other groups.
Supporting water purification and Serbia’s environment protection board
Serbia has major environmental problems. Industrial pollution has raised challenges for the country’s environmental policy. Discharges from the city of Belgrade run directly into the river untreated, air pollution is increasing along with the traffic, there is large energy misuse and waste management is deficient. Continued support for environmental infrastructure could bring results that will finally reach the levels required by EU environmental legislation. Support is given to waste management and water and sewage purification.
We will also strengthen the power of Serbia’s environmental protection board and the ministries for the environment and agriculture, forestry and water issues. To increase the collaboration with authorities, we are also strengthening environmental organizations. They are also receiving support to engage more women in environmental work.
The total amount of development assistance to Serbia for the year 2010 was approximately 119 million SEK. For the years 2011-2012 it will be 130 million per year.