BIRN Assesses Serbian Government’s First Year

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BIRN Serbia has published a report about the government’s progress in fulfilling election promises in four key areas – economy, health, education and the fight against corruption. 

For the past year, BIRN Serbia has been monitoring government policies in the four areas which citizens singled out as the most important to their personal and social well-being.

The monitoring results showed that the government had made limited progress in fulfilling election promises made and that implementation was even slower dynamics politicians planned.

According to BIRN’s report, the least progress was made in the field of education. The most important legislative activity was related to the adoption of the Education Development Strategy in Serbia to 2020, although no action plan was adopted for its implementation.

In the health area, the government should seriously work on establishing  anti-corruption measures, transparency in public procurement, the availability of health protection by clearly defining the status of private practices, and infrastructure improvement.

In this field, campaign promises were partly fulfilled by expanding the number of patients who are eligible for health insurance at the expense of the state and by implementing some measures of population policy. The long-awaited law on the protection of patients’ rights was also adopted.

The Anti-Corruption Strategy is the most important document which was adopted by the government and parliament in the field of the fight against graft, and contains key recommendations for the prevention of corruption and the strengthening of independent control institutions.

Even though the privatisation audit showed government’s determination to fight corruption, work should continue to strengthen institutional mechanisms in order to minimise corruption, which is seen as systemic.

In the economic field, which is the top priority for the public, there was very little progress, even though most of the legislative initiatives in the past year were launched in this area. The government was unable to find an adequate solution to the economic crisis, unemployment is still high and it is necessary to consolidate public finances in order to reduce the budget deficit and public debt.

The report is part of the BIRN Serbia ‘Monitoring Policies of the Government of Serbia’ project, which was conducted under the auspices of the British Embassy in Belgrade.

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