Supporting public administration reforms in Serbia

Project description

Title: Support to Public Administration Reform in the EU Accession Process
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Serbia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Ministry of European Integration
Overall term: 2020 to 2023


The government of Serbia recognises accession to the European Union (EU) and the reform of its public administration as key priorities. Efficient public administration will not only enhance citizens’ wellbeing, but will also enable the economy to develop and grow. In the context of the EU accession process, efficient, transparent, and citizen-oriented administration will support the implementation of European standards into the domestic context. 
Over the past years, significant steps have been taken in this direction. The Law on General Administrative Procedure (LGAP) and a new skills-based human resources management (HRM) system have both entered into force. Fifteen local governments have improved their administrative efficiency and effectiveness. Standards that apply to policy impact assessment and citizen participation have been introduced, and significant progress has been made in several EU negotiation chapters. Nevertheless, important work lies ahead in terms of quality assurance and adherence to the adopted standards related to optimising public services, HRM, public policy management and management of the EU accession negotiations.


Serbia’s public administration has improved in the areas of policy management, human resources management, service provision and EU accession. 


The project supports national and local authorities in making public administration more rule compliant, efficient and evidence based. It brings together four main topics: (1) supporting public policy management and public participation, (2) making the civil service better by supporting the professionalisation and modernisation of its HRM processes, (3) providing for more efficient service delivery based on local needs, and by optimising and digitalising services, and (4) supporting the EU accession negotiations by improving the coordination and analytical capacities of key institutions.


The project has achieved the following in terms of public administration reform:

  • the harmonisation of more than 150 laws with LGAP
  • a simplification of more than 100 administrative procedures and digitalisation of 13 of these. 

In addition to introducing a framework of competences to the HR system, the project has also led to:

  • a move towards more efficient and transparent public administration. 
  • capacity building in five ministries, improving their ability to analysis the effects of public policies
  • the introduction of important legislation to increase the transparency of the policy-making process. 

Several chapters of the EU accession process have been given support, including free movement of goods, intellectual property rights, financial services, agriculture, fisheries, taxation, cohesion policy, consumer rights, customs and financial control. The measures carried out in this respect focused on developing strategic and analytical documents, as well as harmonising national regulations to bring them in line with EU standards. 

As public administration reform is a longterm process, the project continues with a follow-on measure that supports the transformation of the Serbian public administration into an accountable and effective service for citizens and business.

Last update: April 2021