The global financial and economic crises have highlighted the vulnerability of economies and societies worldwide. Hence, the European Union Enlargement Strategy 2013–2014 introduced a new instrument to set and monitor the priorities in the areas of employment and social policy for accession countries –the Employment and Social Reform Programme – ESRP.
The Employment and Social Reform Programme is envisaged as a strategic process, which will accompany the European integration process as the key mechanism for dialogue on the priorities in the areas of social policy and employment and is modelled after the Europe 2020 strategy, already followed by the Member States. The ESRP will focus on a limited number of key priorities in the areas of employment and social policy.
Similarly to the EU employment guidelines, the ESRP will offer solutions in three areas: labour market and employment policies, human capital and skills development policies, and social inclusion and social protection policies. In addition, the document will include horizontal aspects such as capacity building, governance and institutional reforms, as well as the use of EU funds for the implementation of the planned reforms.
In the Republic of Serbia, the ESRP development process was formally launched in September 2013, when EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Mr László Andor visited Serbia and presented the main goals of the Reform Programme
A seminar involving all line ministries, social partners and civil society organisations was held in November 2013; on this occasion, together with the European Commission, ideas were considered and further concrete steps in ESRP development were agreed upon. Programme was adopted by the Government of the Republic of Serbia in May 2016. The entire process was transparent and all national stakeholders were repeatedly consulted and invited to take an active part in the document drafting, in order to ensure its quality and representativeness, as well as the support of all social actors and social partners. The European Commission monitors the Programme implementation process at the annual level, both through annual progress reports and through thematic meetings and conferences.