Vlada republike SrbijeGovernment of the Republic of Serbia



Serbia is firmly committed to building a Europe of peace, justice, freedom, solidarity and security. In addition to wishing to take its place in the EU observing the rules of market economy in the process of EU accession, Serbia will strive towards achieving social justice in line with the highest European standards. This includes improvement of the adherence to human and minority rights, the rights of vulnerable social groups in particular.

The global economy and the financial crisis have pointed to the vulnerability of economies and societies around the world, including Europe. Regretfully, the effects of the crisis have not bypassed Serbia. The European Commission stated in its Progress Report on Serbia in 2013 that „the employment policy and the social policy continue to suffer due to the unfavourable economic conditions and scarce public finances“, but also that Serbia started to deal with the priorities in this domain. It is in the spirit of these assessments that the Government will have the accession negotiations taking care of the need to improve the social and economic cohesion in our society.

Tanja Miščević, Chief Negotiator for the Accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union
Eighteenth Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, March 2014


Due to economic crisis in Serbia, many young people cannot enter into employment right after graduation and state must help them – unemployment period must be limited. If young people cannot find a job when they complete their education, the National Employment Service must find jobs for them, or make possible the continuation of their education, provide retraining or education in new skills. Young work force is the future of Serbian economy and the future of the country.

If their unemployment period is too long, this will not only become a generator of social unrest, but will also have a negative impact on economic development, the demographic future of the nation, and its political destiny. Resolution of this issue must be a priority for Serbia and the European Union will provide its instruments to encourage the country’s efforts to solve this problem.

László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Seventeenth Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction in the Republic of Serbia, October 2013


Advancing human rights is inextricably linked with higher social inclusion of marginalised groups in society and further efforts towards social inclusion and poverty reduction in Serbia are, therefore, essential, not only in the context of European integration, but also in the interest of achieving the desired standards and quality of life for our citizens. It is essential that the principle of respect for diversity, tolerance and nonviolence be brought closer to citizens, and it is particularly important that it become an integrated model for young generations’ behaviour and actions, since this is the only way for us to become a developed, modern, truly democratic society.

To achieve the desired results, it is important that different stakeholders recognise the importance of joint action, i.e. that the state and the civil sector can and must be partners. Developing and strengthening the solidarity principle – one of the fundamental values of the European Union – constitutes another social priority, in order to realise the desired economic and social development and ensure a decent standard of living for all our citizens.

Suzana Paunović, Director of the Office for Human and Minority Rights
Sixteenth Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction in the Republic of Serbia, June 2013


All the reforms that we conduct within the framework of EU integration call for substantial human and financial resources. An additional challenge for the Government and all the stakeholders in the society is a severe impact of the global financial crisis that the Republic of Serbia is exposed to. In order to absorb the effects of the crisis, the Government has undertaken a series of interventions in line with the current development of policies at the EU level seeking to increase investments and social benefits for vulnerable groups, protection of vulnerable groups from discrimination, support to education and employment of population at risk of unemployment or drop out from education.

Because of all the reforms that started in the past as well as those ahead of us, we need a wide front working on EU integration in the society . There are no jobs of greater and lesser importance. As much as passing of regulation is important, so is also their successful implementation or supervision of implementation thereof. The Government cannot do it alone. In order to ensure comprehensive support to the vulnerable groups and continue the reforms, we need an even stronger partnership between the Government, local governments, civil society organisations, trade unions and other relevant stakeholders.

Suzana Grubješić, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration
Fifteenth Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction in the Republic of Serbia, March 2013


Ageing as a process, old age as a period of life and quality of life of the elderly have been in focus of many scientists, researchers, experts from different branches, but also of politicians and the public in general over the past years. In the context of the Republic of Serbia, the problems of protection of the elderly should be on top of the agenda of scientific research and everyday political, sociological and other deliberations.

The reasons are numerous, but the most evident ones are found in the demographic data, which show that it is more than obvious that we are living in the land of the elderly, wherein – as according to the unnofficial data from the last Census of Population – there are 1,250,316 citizens older than 65. In percentage points, this means 17.40% of the total population. At the same time, the number of children aged 0 – 14 is 1,025,278 or 14.27% of the total population. The other reasons logically follow this demographic structure and relate to the financial status of the elderly, their functional dependency on different types and forms of other persons’ care, issues of sustainability of the system of pension and disability insurance, problems of long-term care, etc. These several data call for an active and different approach to development of new policies to meet the challenges related to long-term care, which is bound to become the most topical aspect of ageing in Serbia in times before us.

Brankica Janković, State Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy
Fourteenth Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, January 2013


The most important task of the official statistics is to provide a realistic overview of social and economic trends in the country, as well as a reliable foundation for decision making on all levels – from public administration and other institutions to economic entities and interested citizens. A lot of attention was directed at preparing and conducting major statistical activities over the past three years: the Census of the Population, Households and Homes 2011 and the Agricultural Census 2012, with significant financial assistance by the EU. We will have a comprehensive insight into agricultural production for the first time in over 50 years.

At this point it is certain that, as of next year, we will begin implementing the survey considered by European countries to be the most relevant for monitoring poverty, social inclusion, inequality and living standards in general – Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC). The implementation of this survey in EU countries started in 2003, whereas for us it represents an obligation within European integration. Although the EU has not, as of yet, officially required Serbia to introduce this survey, the RSO, aiming to be ready for this official requirement, is moving one step ahead and intensively working on training staff, drafting methodological instructions, and creating instruments for the implementation of this survey.

Professor Dragan Vukmirović, PhD, Director of the Republic Statistical Office
Thirteenth Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, October 2012


Wealthy countries are wealthy not only because its individuals are wealthy, but because most population therein take active part in social trends, contributing to the creation and utilization of social wealth and higher social cohesion. People are, therefore, the major potential of Serbia, which may help turn unemployment into employment and dependence into income, and may help youth become the most creative and development potential of a society which thrives for itself and stimulates all others.

Social inclusion contributes to building a sustainable welfare state. Every excluded person in our society implies less safety and equality in society. Every included and satisfied individual implies personal potentials used to a maximum and a maximum contribution to society’s development. Therefore, the main issue before our society should not be – how much social inclusion costs, but what we can do to include the people who have withdrawn from society and who are lost to it.

Žarko Šunderić, Manager of the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit – Government of the Republic of Serbia
Twelveth Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, July 2012


It is well known that children’s earliest experiences form the basis for all subsequent learning and that if solid foundations are laid in the early years, later learning is more effective and more likely to continue life-long, particularly among poor and other most vulnerable children.

Pre-school programmes help children develop their skills, acquire knowledge, and learn to respect each other and live with each other. Early learning is essential to give every young child the maximum possibilities to succeed in his or her further education. It gives them a winning start position, lessen the risk of school drop-out, help break cycles of inter-generational poverty and reduce the costs for society in terms of lost talent and public spending. Economic research has confirmed that investing in pre-primary education actually brings a higher rate of return than investments in any other level of education.

Novak Đoković, UNICEF National Ambassador to Serbia
Tenth Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, January 2012


One of the key commitments of the Serbian Government is to ensure the establishment and solid functioning of the social market economy, where the higher economic efficiency, founded upon the market economy principles, is closely related to the achievement of key development objectives: full employment, reduced gaps in income distribution, as well as social inclusion and poverty reduction of the population as an inseparable part of the integral development strategy. Prior to the global economic crisis, Serbia had decent economic growth and managed to gradually decrease the number of poor people in the urban and rural areas, in various regions and regardless of the type of household or age of the individuals.

Unfortunately, the number of unemployed persons is still rising despite a set of stimulation measures taken by the Government. The continuation of the poverty reduction efforts is directly related to the creation of new jobs. This will reduce the number of socially disadvantaged persons and allow the state to generate additional tax-related revenues for funding the social inclusion and poverty reduction programmes. Therefore, Serbia’s priority mission is to attract foreign direct investments and mobilise domestic savings for investment in the fields considered as national development potentials, which could open the possibilities for new jobs.

Professor Jurij Bajec, PhD, Former Advisor to Serbian Prime Minister
Ninth Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, October 2011


Serbia’s membership in the European Union (EU) is a long-term goal shared by an overwhelming majority of the country. One of the obligations in the upcoming period will be to draft the Joint Social Inclusion Memorandum, a document that will set forth a plan for advancing social inclusion and poverty reduction until the moment Serbia has attained EU membership. To demonstrate that we are prepared for the task, the Government has prepared and adopted the First National Report on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, taking account indicators and targets adopted by EU member states.

To combat social exclusion and poverty effectively, a strong partnership of all stakeholders is required – it is only through the partnership and joint action of all segments of society that we will be able to act upon the recommendations of the First National Report on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction. Our ultimate goal is for citizens themselves to feel that Serbia is a more equitable and better society for all.

Božidar Đelić, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration
Seventh Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, May 2011


The significance and role of the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society is reflected in the coordination of co-operation between government institutions and civil society organizations in the process of creating and establishing clear standards and procedures for inclusion of civil society organisations at all levels of the decision- making process.

One of the definitely most interesting activities will be the possibility to partake in one of the EU programmes titled “Europe for Citizens”, where domestic civil society organisations, social partners, local self-governments and citizens will be guaranteed participation on equal terms with the other EU partners in this programme, aimed at implementing various activities in the fields such as employment, social cohesion, promotion of participation and democracy at the EU level, sustainable development, strengthening the European identity of citizens, co-operation and understanding among the Europeans and other.

Ivana Ćirković, Director of the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society
Seventh Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, May 2011


Social entrepreneurship is a modern business model focused on finding solutions for social problems. The main idea of the concept is seeking maximum benefit for the people, rather than maximum profits. Investors receive their investment back and the dividends are not paid. Bank total half a billion dollars. When we lend, more than half of the money lent comes from our clients’savings accounts.

Grameen Bank’s successful business model has demonstrated that small amounts of money, if distributed with care, can change lives of poor people fundamentally. We have established and are successfully managing a pension fund, a health insurance company, three eye hospitals, a mobile telephony company, etc. We have started a number of social enterprises, some in cooperation with multinational companies from Europe, America and countries worldwide. Making money has completely blinded us – we are not
really blind, but we see the world through a pair of glasses that allow us to see enlarging profit as the only imperative. The whole world is looking for opportunities to make money.

Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Father of Social Entrepreneurship
Fifth Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, Dec. 2010


Observing the principle of equality among people is an ethical imperative of any democratic society and any state based on the rule of law. The Anti-discrimination Law was adopted in 2009; Specific antidiscrimination laws – the Law on Gender Equality (2009) and the Law on the Prevention of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (2006) – foresee specific measures towards achieving gender equality, improving the status of persons with disabilities and their social inclusion. Research indicates that discrimination most often affects the Roma, the poor, persons with physical or mental disabilities, the elderly, women and persons belonging to sexual minorities.

Building an inclusive society requires, amongst other things, persistent combat against all forms of direct and indirect discrimination, which entails strict enforcement of antidiscrimination legislation and efficient operation of the judiciary and the Equality Commissioner. This is the path towards inclusive and truly equal society, in which all its citizens will be given equal opportunities to develop their potentials and to participate equally, actively and productively in all spheres of social life.

Nevena Petrušić, PhD, Equlity Commissioner
Fifth Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, Dec. 2010


To embark on the process of resolving this difficult and complex problem requires absolute social and political consensus and relentless persistence inherent in dealing with a problem without a definite solution. Continued policy for overcoming poverty and social inclusion of the excluded, marginalized groups is a challenge which, over time, integrates solidarity in the foundations of each society’s set of values.

This process is impossible without a clearly defined role of each stakeholder in society and new communication and cooperation channels among them. In this division, the role of the state is to ensure a legal framework to stimulate those measures which will contribute to progress in the spheres of education, employment, care for children and the elderly, etc. in a systemic way. That said, it is obvious that the state cannot and should not deal with individual cases, and “marginalized groups” are a cluster of destinies which often require tailored approach that no government can provide efficiently. For this reason, civil society organizations (CSO) should take over the “field work”, through direct contacts and work with marginalized groups and individuals.

Miljenko Dereta, Executive Director of the Civic Initiatives
Third Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, July 2010


We wish to help in all possible ways – in the social, political and health domain – the most vulnerable strata of the society. We wish to advance rehabilitation and revival, creating a cultural model that would maintain authentic, original culture of the people that would benefit all the advantages of communication with cultures, economic models, development, etc in the world.

This is a seemingly impossible mission, but we shall try to achieve it in some form at least, to prove it possible, to prove that the media must be socially responsible and act as watchdogs of public interest. Only as such will they help development of the community, contribute to a much brighter future than what it appears to be now. Our mission is to attract all the positive energy, to accumulate the strength and use it where it is most needed. The results of some of our projects are imposing and may serve as a model and an encouragement to others to try and embrace this model of behavior.

Veran Matić, Director and Editor-in-Chief, B92
Second Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, April 2010


Being engaged in the social inclusion issues, we see that they tend much too often to be regarded as a burden on the society and the budget. In order to get involved in this process, as honestly as possible, and achieve lasting progress we need to change the perspective and recognize that resolving social exclusion issues represents the best way to avail ourselves of the potential of all the members of our society.

The social inclusion process should empower citizens to take an active approach to and part in all the aspects of social life. This involves access to education for the children and adults alike, access to labour market even if we are not highly educated, when we have some form of disability or when we belong to a minority, access to health care and social services for often we are not even aware that we have equal rights to them.

Žarko Šunderić, Team Manager, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit
Second Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, April 2010


We are convinced that the social inclusion of all citizens of a country is a key condition for sustainable economic growth and political stability. Thus, the social inclusion process launched by the Serbian Government will be an important part of our joint work. Nowadays, with the new situation after the global financial and economic crisis, the fight against poverty and social exclusion is more important than ever.

We are very pleased that Serbia considers Switzerland as one of the competent partners to assist the Government in the process of transformation of the former Poverty Reduction Strategy into the Social Inclusion Program. Serbia will remain in the future a priority country for Swiss Cooperation with the Western Balkans.

Ervin H. Hofer, Swiss Ambassador to the Republic of Serbia
First Newsletter on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, November 2009

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