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21th, March 2016

THROUGH KARADJORDJE’S TOWN VINEYARDS

The Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government continues to promote local self-governments in Serbia through the "Serbian puzzle" project, where cities and municipalities present themselves weekly through a number of different topics (history, culture, investment, gastronomy. ..).

 THROUGH KARADJORDJE’S TOWN VINEYARDS

This week in "Serbian puzzle" you can read about Municipality of Topola, the hometown of Karadjordje, where each stone, a chunk of soil, grapevine and a vine droplet are witnesses of history. Located in the heart of Serbia, close enough and far enough from Belgrade, Topola is proud of Oplenac and its vineyards, agriculture and small crafts, and provides the basis for investors to invest with all the benefits.

Topola Fair, celebrated in the epic poem, has transcended the local boundaries long ago and for more than half a century provides fun, a good time and the famous wines. When you get hungry, there is no doubt - for gourmets there is Karadjordje’s steak. Everything is already said about this specialty and we believe there are a few people who did not taste this rhapsody of flavours. You can find the recipe at www.serbianpuzzle.rs.

10th, Mаrch 2016

BOŠNJAK: CITIES AND COUNTIES – POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK ON LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

Speaking at the end of the Kopaonik Business Forum about the best possible ways of decentralization, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Mr. Ivan Bošnjak said that the city with the administrative district headquarters should be the district backbone and the development leader forthe neighbouring, smaller municipalities.

 BOŠNJAK: CITIES AND COUNTIES – POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK ON LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

At the panel "Local Development Perspective and Business Conditions," Mr. Bošnjak said that county councils could facilitate communication between presidents of the municipalities and state authorities, but the presidents of the municipalities and mayors have got no motivation to meet with the district chiefs, because there is no additional funding support for development of inter-municipal cooperation of two or more neighbouring local governments.

"Municipality president is the 'boss' in his municipality and no one, not a head of the district will bring him to the table, unless there is some money to be distributed for the municipality," said the State Secretary.

According to the State Secretary, local self-government units could have a mandatory and optional responsibilities and duties, which would be delegated to the municipalities, depending on capacities they would have to establish and prove their functionality.

This would be accompanied by the appropriate financial resources from the central level, and the local self- government units would have to be controlled from the district level, Bošnjak concluded.

9th, Mаrch 2016

MARAVIĆ: ADMINISTRATION OPENNESS HAS NEVER BEEN DEFINITIVE

At the conference “Permanent Dialogue Days 2016”, State Secretary in the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government (MPALSG), Mr. Dražen Maravić said that the Ministry will continue cooperation with civil society organizations, and pointed out that the issue of the administration openness is not something that could be considered definitive, but it has been constantly reaching new frontiers.

 MARAVIĆ: ADMINISTRATION OPENNESS HAS NEVER BEEN DEFINITIVE

At the beginning of the two-day conference, which is the crown of a two-year project of the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society of the Republic of Serbia and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Maravić said that MPALSG will continue helping the change of the entire state administration, local self-governments, cities and municipalities, towards becoming services to the citizens, and that every form of citizen organization helps and channels that communication and achieves results.

Speaking that MPALSG faces the challenge to do as much as possible with lesser and lesser financial resources, Maravić stressed that the researches have shown the main problem is not in the employees’ number, but in their structure, contrary to the initial view that public administration is unwieldy.

"There are not too many employees. There are too many in some places, but, unfortunately, they are insufficient in public affairs, public policy creation and implementation. Skills needed for working there are not the ones you can get through the formal education" said Maravić. Hence, the role of the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society is important, to build the necessary capacity in all sectors and to develop the employees’ skills, he added.

Speaking of the strategic documents, Maravić said that a step has to be made toward two-way communication with citizens, who are not just users of the public services, but also agents throughout process, controllers, someone who directly supervises and evaluates the public and state administration work. Modern technology not only allows that step, but also sets requirements, keeping in mind the mobile devices and internet networks ubiquity, as well as the opportunities they provide to each individual.

"The citizens’ needs are changing and it is difficult to have a fundamental strategic planning process and to draft a fundamental strategic document, without becoming obsolete the very next year in some of its part... we need to focus on this issue," Maravić concluded.

8th, March 2016

FURTHER CLARIFICATION REGARDING THE DATA ON THE NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS IN THE UNIFIED REGISTER OF VOTERS

The Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government published on its website the information regarding the data on the number of registered voters in the Unified Register of Voters, on March 7th

Bearing in mind that publishing of this information caused a confusion among the citizens, the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government reminds that the Unified Register of Voters keeps records of the adult, legally competent citizens of the Republic of Serbia, who have the voting right according to their place of residence, as well as the voters who reside abroad and who are registered in the Unified Register of Voters according to their last places of residence before leaving the country.

Any changes to the Register of Voters are made on the relevant authority’s official records and are updated on a daily basis.

It should be noted that, according to the 2011 Inventory, for determining the number of total population the concept of "default population" (a person is considered a resident of the town in which he/she spends most of the time alone or with the members of his/her household) was applied, regardless of where he/she has permanent residence. It should also be borne in mind that a number of citizens boycotted or for other reasons did not respond to the Inventory (abroad, travel...), and for this reason the number of voters defined by the Inventory is not relevant data for comparison with the number of voters.

We believe that it is important to note that the published data on the total number of voters for the 2014 elections are not comparable with the data on the current number of voters registered in the Unified Register of Voters, given that the Register of Voters is concluded only for polling stations where the voting will be conducted.

25th February 2016

UDOVICKI: WE NEED EDUCATION REFORM IF WE WANT HIGHER EMPLOYMENT RATE

At the international conference "Sustainable Development Forum", organized by the University UNESCO club, where United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda was debated, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-government, Kori Udovicki, PhD said that each country can define its own priorities and plans based on global UN Sustainable Development Goals.

 UDOVICKI: WE NEED EDUCATION REFORM IF WE WANT HIGHER EMPLOYMENT RATE

The Deputy Prime Minister, who heads the Working Group for the promotion of the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals, emphasized that improving technologies gradually displace labour and indicated that, additionally, many companies, thanks to technology development, earn large sums of money with very few employees. "The entire last decade we’ve been creating wealth and incomes, but we haven’t risen the employment level to the necessary extent," she said and warned that the world is going to collapse if it continues to create wealth that cannot be spent.

Therefore, Udovicki mentioned that continuous investing in creation of new market demand - the creative jobs, is of the great importance, since it will stop further reducing of the labour requirements. Comparing Serbia with the European countries, the Deputy Prime Minister said that, as a middle-income country, Serbia owns same specificities as a number of countries do, for instance, the low employment level, except for  that Serbia, together with Bosnia and Herzegovina, has got the lowest level of the employment rate.

“Therefore, we have to reform education system and to increase its quality and flexibility, create high-quality and flexible teaching staff, or otherwise, we’ll have to make labour cheaper, as it is in the Eastern countries, which will certainly lead to the impoverishment of our staff,” said Udovicki.

"We have to give everyone a chance to work, but also to reduce the loss of creative people by investing in education,” said Udovicki and concluded that it’s necessary for children not to learn existing answers by heart, but to think and find answers for questions that haven’t been posed yet.

25th February 2016

SERBIAN GOVERNMENT SUBMITTED THE LAW ON SALARIES TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

At today's session, Serbian Government established the Draft Law on the Salary System of Employees in the Public Sector and submitted it to the National Assembly for urgent procedure.

 SERBIAN GOVERNMENT SUBMITTED THE LAW ON SALARIES TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Law on salaries (shorter title) introduces the order into the system of the public sector employees’ salaries, and equalizes the status disparities and anomalies occurring in practice. More than 20 laws and regulations, 10 bases and 900 coefficients of employees’ and officials’ salaries, will become past.

It is foreseen that all salaries will be calculated on the same elements basis, the same basic salary and the unique matrix of coefficient ranges. This will enable comparison of jobs, which brings us closer to the realization of the "equal pay for equal work" principle. As the basis for the increase of salaries, the principles of career advancing will be determined for everyone, taking into account the specifics of each general government subsystem. The productivity and efficiency of the work performed will be evaluated.

After establishing the transparency and comparability of salaries, specific laws will be enacted, which will regulate the employment status, salaries and other earnings in the public service, administration, agencies, other bodies and organizations established by the Republic of Serbia, Autonomous province or local self-governments. The officials’ status, salaries and other earnings will be regulated as well.

24th February 2016

MINISTRY OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT FILED MISDEMEANOUR CHARGES AGAINST 11 PUBLIC COMPANIES

Administrative Inspectorate of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government filed the requests for initiating criminal proceedings against the persons responsible in 11 public companies, for not creating Work Information Booklet or for the contents of their Work Information Booklets not being in accordance with the regulations.

Work Information Booklet wasn’t created by "Serbian Railways" JSC, "Srbijavode", "SrbijaGas", "Textbooks Institute", "Roads of Serbia", "National Park Kopaonik", "Park Palić", " Serbian Railways Infrastructure", "Resavica", Nature Park "Mokra gora", and "EPS".

Requests for initiating misdemeanour proceedings were filed in accordance with the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance.

The Inspectorate emphasizes its intensified supervision of the implementation of the Law, concerning publishing Information Booklets on the public companies websites. Administrative Inspectorate also asserts the public companies’ obligation to act as the public authoritiy at the citizens’ request for free access to information and to prepare and publish the Work Information Booklet, as the public authorisations holders.

The Ministry repeats its view about the necessity to strengthen capacities within all state authorities in order to fulfil their obligation to consistently implement regulations of the Law on Free Access to Public Information. The aim is not to increase the number of misdemeanour charges, but to ensure the public companies transparency, in accordance with the Law.

19th February 2016

A FLIGHT TO A BETTER REPUTATION OF SERBIA AND ATTRACTION OF INVESTMENTS

Direct flight to New York is a big step towards a better reputation of Serbia, attracting greater investments and improving bilateral relations between the two countries, it was pointed out at the meeting of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Kori Udovicki and US Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Kyle Scott.

"I hope that the phone lines for ticket sales for Belgrade-New York direct flights will be red-hot for a long time," said the Ambassador, adding that this is a great success for Serbia.

 A FLIGHT TO A BETTER REPUTATION OF SERBIA AND ATTRACTION OF INVESTMENTS

Udovicki expressed her gratitude to the US government, particularly to the Program for Better Business Conditions in Serbia of the USAID Mission in Belgrade, without whose help the preparation of the Law on Inspection Control, and now its application, would not have so much success.

"We regularly meet commitments from the Action Plan for Implementation of the Law and I am glad that, together with USAID, we have the whole two years to make better coordination of inspections, to make our inspectors better trained and to achieve greater channelling towards the high-risk economic subjects," said Ms. Udovicki. The Ambassador congratulated Ms.Udovicki on adopting this law, which is important not only for the citizens of Serbia, but also for businessmen, and he pointed out that the US government remains committed to supporting the reform process in Serbia.

Talking about the reform of public administration, Udovički informed Mr. Scott that the ongoing implementation of rationalization for the first time in Serbia "forces" managers to reorganize work process, focusing on the purpose of that work, by removing unnecessary jobs or reducing the number of employees for specific jobs, while respecting the rights of employees . "At this stage of rationalization we must not evaluate the quality of personal commitment to the work because we do not have the criteria for appropriate evaluation of civil servants’ work performance," she said, noting, that in the next period  the goal will be further enhancement of work evaluation methods , competitions for employment and further education officials.

As a priority of the Ministry, the Deputy Prime Minister also emphasized the development of e-Government in Serbia, for integration of which, unanimous decision of the government is needed. The interlocutors pointed out that e-Government is necessary for getting better transparency and reduced corruption.

12th February 2016

MPALSG: WE WILL NOT TOLERATE MISUSES AND IRREGULARITIES IN THE RATIONALIZATION

The Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government (MPALSG) warns that the deadline for the state authorities to bring the new regulations on organization and systematization in compliance with an assigned maximum number of employees, and for local self-governments assemblies to make special decisions on the maximum number of employees according to the Law on the Method of Determining the Maximum Number of Employees in the Public Sector, expired on the 8th February 2016. The Ministry will insist on the strict application of laws and the penalties for irregularities.

During the Law implementation monitoring process some irregularities were identified, and those are examples where is questionable whether the terminated jobs were crucial to the functioning of the organization, and the decisions for termination of employment without a clear explanation on the decision criteria, prior analysis etc.

Administrative Inspectorate of the Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government conducts monitoring of whether local self-government rulebooks and decisions were adopted in accordance with the Law and the principles of rationalization. Monitoring, therefore, has been conducted in ministries, special organizations, the General Secretariat, the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, municipal and city governments, while Labour Inspectorate of the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy conducts monitoring of public services and enterprises at the provincial and local levels.

The Ministry reminds that the Law for the first time defines that rationalization must be carried out according the principles and criteria that protects both the system efficiency and functionality, as well as the rights of employees. We warn that this time the mistakes made in previous attempts of rationalization, whose consequences cost the state more than they brought savings, will not be tolerated. Respecting  the Law means that each manager is responsible for raising productivity by reorganization of work and for fitting the organization with the assigned maximum number of employees.

For the benefit of its citizens, the Serbian government is determined to reorganize, modernize and improve the work of public administration. According to these objectives, rationalization will be implemented and controlled at all government levels.

10th, February 2016

BOŠNJAK: THE NEEDS OF CITIZENS AND ECONOMY SHOULD BE IDENTIFIED IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES

State Secretary in the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Mr. Ivan Bošnjak held a lecture on "The importance of local self-government infrastructure development", at the seminar dedicated to media coverage improving: "The implementation of infrastructure projects - the momentum of economic development." Participants were journalists from twenty media houses throughout Serbia.

 BOŠNJAK: THE NEEDS OF CITIZENS AND ECONOMY SHOULD BE IDENTIFIED IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES

During the lecture, Bošnjak explained in more detail the status and role of local governments in the state system, as important factors of European integration processes. He especially pointed to the local government as a level of authority and accountability "where the life really happens."

"The municipal infrastructure development includes the process of strategic planning, identification, preparation and implementation of infrastructural projects," Bošniak continued and stressed the importance of a stable political leadership as an important factor of sustainable development at the local level. He also said that identifying the needs of citizens and businesses is essential for project preparation and that their defining should be in a harmony with national strategic priorities.

Concluding the lecture, the State Secretary pointed out that the Ministry gave its contribution to the promotion of local communities through the "Serbian puzzle” project. Bosnjak emphasized that the Ministry initiated the idea of local self-governments’ promotion on a weekly basis in this unique and interesting way, with the intention to represent each town and municipality both to domestic and foreign public.

11th , September 2015

VALUES OF THE OPEN GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIP - A GOOD WAY FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE GENERAL OBJECTIVE OF THE PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION REFORM

The delegation of the Republic of Serbia, led by Mr. Zeljko Ozegovic, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, participates in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Regional Meeting dedicated to The Western Balkans OGP Dialogue, which will be held 10-11 September, 2015, in Tirana.

On this occasion, Ozegovic has pointed out that the values of the Partnership have been adopted by the Government of the Republic of Serbia as a good way for the implementation of the general objective of the public administration reform in the Republic of Serbia, which entails the provision of high quality services to the citizens and business entities, which will significantly contribute to economic stability and improvement of the living standards of citizens.

 Values of the Open Government Partnership - a good way for implementation of the general objective of the public administration reform

Also, as a good example of cooperation with the civil society in the law drafting process, he cited the involvement of the civil society in the process of drafting the Law on Inspection Control, the new Draft Law on Administrative Procedure, as well as monitoring of the carrying out of the Action Plan for the implementation of PAR.

More specifically on this subject, in the framework of the special session Bright spots, the State Secretary has introduced the basic principles of the Law on Inspection Control, which enforcement has begun on 30th July 2015, with the control of unregistered entities. “We are introducing the authority and duty of every inspection that in its field of supervision supervises unregistered entities and applies coercive inspection measures against them“, he said, and added, that this would increase the level of legality and safety of business operations and procedures in all areas.

26, August 2015

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF SERBIA: WE ARE READY TO START NEGOTIATIONS ON EU MEMBERSHIP

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Author: Mose Apelblat, Brussels Times

Enlargement used to be one of EU’s key priorities. Not so any longer. EU suffers of enlargement fatigue, with about 40 % of the total population against further enlargement. Currently EU is occupied with more pressing issues such as its own identity, the economic crisis, the Greek crisis and, above all, the immigration crisis. 

The new Commission which started to work in 2014 decided that no new member state would be accepted during its five-year long mandate period. However, the commitments to the countries in Western Balkans and to Turkey are still valid. Preparations for joining EU one day in the future when all conditions have been met are on-going and amply supported by EU financial assistance. 

EU member states are taking a growing interest in enlargement and may encourage a candidate country or use their veto to block it from making progress on its way into EU. The path to become EU member has been likened to a race full of hurdles where at each point the European Commission is checking whether the candidate country has met the conditions and is ready for next phase in the process. 

In principle negotiations will only start when the candidate country has proven that it fulfils the political criteria on democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the protection of minorities. In practice this is not always the case. Once negotiations start, they’ll focus on the adoption and enforcement of EU’s comprehensive legal framework, the so-called acquis, which has been divided into 35 chapters covering all possible policy areas. 

In Serbia’s case the process started 10 years ago with the negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.  Now Serbia appears to be on the right track. The Brussels Times met Ms Kori Udovički, Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, when she visited Brussels. 

She is also minister of public administration reform and local self-government – one of the main pillars in EUs enlargement strategy for Western Balkans. With her background as economist in IMF, assistant secretary-general of the United Nations and governor of the national bank of Serbia, she appears to be the ideal champion for public administration reform in her country.


Q: Serbia was granted candidate status already in March 2012. Formal negotiations started in December 2013 with the adoption of a negotiation framework. But no chapters have been opened yet for negotiations because of the Kosovo issue. Is that correct?

A: Indeed. We are quite ready to start: Chapter 32 on financial management and control is already completely ready for opening. Chapter 35 on normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina and chapters 23 and 24 - the rule of law chapters - should be among the first to be opened and should have equal weight in the membership negotiations. 

Chapter 32 is more important than it appears at first glance. It contains the requirements for public internal financial control and external state audit – two essential functions for a proper functioning public sector. Candidate countries are expected to establish an independent state audit institution capable of all types of public auditing, including performance auditing.

Chapters 23 and 24 cover judicial reforms, anti-corruption measures, fundamental rights and the fight against organized crime. According to the Commission’s new approach, these chapters are opened early on in the accession process. Kori Udovički thinks that the drafting of the final versions are coming to an end and will show that Serbia has met the benchmarks for the opening of the chapters. 

Chapter 35 on “other issues” is usually dealt with at the end of the process but not in Serbia’s case. It includes completely new issues for consideration in the negotiations for both Serbia and the EU. 

“We cannot say that the approach to negotiating on chapter 35 has been completely defined. Still, there is no doubt that the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina is a key factor of stability in the region, and hence, for future progress towards EU accession.  As we have demonstrated on many occasions, regional stability is a high priority for us.”

Kori Udovički is optimistic about the start ofnegotiations. “We hope that the September Council of Ministers will recommend the opening of chapters so that we can start negotiate before the end of this year. Serbia has been making great efforts to find solutions on all the open questions in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. Therefore I’m confident that the opening of chapters will happen sooner rather than later.” 


Q: Candidate countries seem to make progress on chapters even if they haven't been opened yet. Does it prove that they are carrying out reforms in their own interest and not only to join the EU?

A: Absolutely. We would do it all even if it wasn’t part of the accession process. The “Europeanization” of Serbia is important to us.  We want to follow the European model. We are Europeans and feel European. We need the stable, democratic, institutional structure that EU represents. Our government wants a modern, professional, rational state where citizens live and work with pride, and the young don’t leave us in search of a better life elsewhere. 

But it’s not enough, Kori Udovički continues: “It is important to make sure that politicians and their constituencies remain motivated over the longer haul. Visible progress in EU integration helps us to attract foreign investment—a critical condition for our economic and political sustainability. Most importantly, it helps us to disprove the still non-negligible counter-forces that claim that EU integration is a façade, that there is no benefit in joining the EU, and that we should turn in other directions to attain economic prosperity.”


Q: Public administration reform (PAR) is an important part of the process in preparing for EU membership. However, there is no separate chapter on PAR although elements of it are covered by other chapters. Does the Commission have any leverage without a chapter on PAR?

A: As you know, public administration is an internal matter for each member country. There isn’t anything like “one size fits all” – each system differs.  This is particularly true for the former Yugoslav states that share a peculiar legacy of Yugoslavia’s self-management and what was considered to be the “deconstruction” of the state.  

“However, high standards of operation and professionalism are not only a part of the European values system, but necessary in order to fully implement the rule of law and the principle of non-discrimination by public bodies. Moreover, the whole process of EU integration, and later membership, requires a very high administrative capacity. Hence, accomplishment of the goals in every chapter requires the building or rebuilding of the capacity of some institution or another.”

For Kori Udovički this means that every chapter is also a chapter on public administration reform. “We have a PAR Action Plan that was very positively assessed by the European Commission and that pulls together some key horizontal reforms that need to be carried out. It is not going to be easy, as we have to accomplish restructuring and change of the public sector amid very sharp fiscal consolidation. 


Q: Would you say that Serbia has been making progress in PAR in recent years? 

Kori Udovički admits that progress is slow. “Unfortunately, work on PAR really took off only with the formation of the present government just over a year ago. Before that there was some progress in regulatory reform, especially in the establishment of independent bodies and agencies, but not in improving the capacity of the administration to deliver services and develop policy analysis and change.”  

“We have a special working group for PAR in which we discuss issues with the Commission in a manner that resembles discussions of the chapters. Key was the adoption of the Action Plan. The plan will enable us to better monitor the results of PAR. The forthcoming sector budget support to PAR will also help. So, the leverage of the Commission is quite high as it is.” 

Earlier this year the Commission published progress reports on the neighbourhood countries. They included a separate statistical annex where the countries were benchmarked. The Commission is going to change the format and content of the next progress reports, due this October, on the candidate countries. The purpose is among others to increase comparability between candidate countries by applying new principles and indicators which have been developed by OECD. 


Q: Does the new format of the progress report mean that also the candidate countries will be benchmarked and ranked according to PAR indicators. How do you think that this will work? Will it result in "peer pressure" on the candidate countries?

A: An evidence-based and common approach for all countries, including a benchmarking system, is a very good idea if it can be implemented in the right way. It will show everyone where each country stands. It provides an incentive by simple showing you that you can “beat the competition” when you work hard. The desire to excel in the region is always a great motivation.

But there is the important “if”, Kori Udovički adds. “The condition is that progress will be measured adequately and fairly. And this is not simple in the case of PAR because it has many dimensions, some of which conflict with one-another. They are also all hard to capture by quantitative measures. Clear reasoning and good detailed information may actually give very good results. That said, I believe that the benchmarking approach will increase the already good regional cooperation in the Western Balkans on sharing PAR experience and exchanging good practice.” 


Q: PAR in the past has been focusing on institution building in central government while local self-government was to some extent overlooked. What are your plans for reforming local government? Do you have any benchmarks for fiscal decentralization? 

Kori Udovički agrees that the issue of fiscal decentralization has not been given sufficient attention in the past. “As in the rest of former Yugoslavia, Serbia used to have a very high level of administrative decentralization, but it became very centralized in the 90s. Financial accountability wasn’t always clearly defined, nor the division of competencies between central and local authorities.” 

An example is health care. “Primary health facilities are nominally under local jurisdiction, but salaries are paid from the health insurance fund that does not really operate as a fund, but more as a branch of the central government. As it is, accountabilities aren’t clear, and this breeds less responsible behaviour and complex decision-making processes, even impasses.”  

“Now, figuring out how to disentangle this, and decide which functions need to be put more fully under local respectively central control, is a complex issue. Changes in both directions will happen, but we need to create ownership around any change of this nature, as it will have to be accompanied by greater accountability on all levels. Hence, for the time being, we are taking one issue at a time and expect to work on a more comprehensive decentralization strategy next year, as this year we have our hands full.”


Q: This brings us to the general problem of recruitment to the public administration and its overall performance. A new civil service law was recently adopted. How is it being implemented? 

Kori Udovički explains that the civil service was supposed to change already a decade ago when a new system was adopted. On the face of it, it looked good. Recruitment of staff became competitive. Career development was linked to performance appraisal. However, implementation suffered because of politicization. The preconditions for managing the system were also lacking. 

“For merit-based recruitment to function, job descriptions and competence requirements need to be well defined. There have also to be dedicated human resources in place to operate the system. The performance appraisal system doesn’t work if almost everyone gets the highest score and is entitled to fast promotion. We need a simpler system to ensure a more professional and merit-based approach to recruitment, training and promotion. 


Q: A common problem in Western Balkans has been the politicization of recruitment and the replacement of civil servants after elections. Was it still a problem after the latest elections in Serbia?

Kori Udovički thinks that there is more than just politicization at play. Cultural factors play also a role. While there is a culture of professionalism among civil servants, there is also a culture of legalism. The lack of policy-making capacity makes it almost impossible to get anything done without a large pool of ministry “functionaries” - people that come and go with the minister.  

She continues: “Decision-makers expect to personally know the persons they appoint as their closest collaborators – or know personally someone who personally recommends someone else. So while reshuffles happen less with every change in government, they will really disappear only when there is a system that can show where true merit lies - a system that is capable of policy planning and is transparent about policy delivery.” 


Read the interview

10th , February 2015

UDOVICKI ON PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION OPTIMIZATION

Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-government Kori Udovicki, PhD said today that the process of the number of PA employees rationalization will have been finished by June, and that she expects that a half of people will go naturally (retirement). She said that rationalization will be just one brick in the whole system of PA rearrangement that has yet to be seen for the first time.

Minister added that the April will be the month of beginning of every system element questioning in the terms of employees’ functions and job overlapping.

"PA rearrangement process will last for entire three years ahead of us and I believe this will open unprecedented matters”, Udovicki said at the “Belgrade dialogues” conference.

Another key conclusion is the Law on Wages adoption, which has the aim of enabling a more just system of rewarding. 

She said that the basis is rearrangement of public servant system that needs to be more efficient, and that the idea is to question the relation between center and local and their responsibilities.

8th , February 2015

UDOVICKI: PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AS AN OS TO APPLICATIONS

DPM and Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Kori Udovicki, PhD spoke at “Belgrade dialogues” conference, organized by Serbia-Germany Forum and Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence. Fund President said that DPM Udovicki has the greatest burden when it comes to PAR as Mrs Sonja Licht emphasized that she “stepped into deep and cold stream".

 UDOVICKI: PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AS AN OS TO APPLICATIONS

DPM said that there is an analogy between PA and Operating System that enables all other aplications’ functioning whereas it is extremely important that tasks, goals and conditions of PA units are known, and  that the employees are motivated and willing to work. There are two priorities, Mrs Udovicki said, that have to be tackled now considering fiscal consolidation: job evaluation means and PA optimization process.

Mr Eichel former German Minister of Finance said that what is vital is to shift the focus in PAR to clear definition of promotion prospects, higher accountability of servants, and the fact that trainings need to be provided as well as adequate earnings for employees so that the corruption will be discouraged. 

3rd , February 2015

TORRENTIAL DAM CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT SIGNED

State secretary in MPALSG  Mr Ivan Bosnjak was today a participant in signing the Contract on construction of 14 of total 18 torrential dams in eight municipalities in Serbia -  Krupanj, Mali Zvornik, Vrnjacka banja, Loznica, Osecina, Ljubovija, Kosjeric and Bajina Basta.

 TORRENTIAL DAM CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT SIGNED

The contract was signed with the contractors by Irena Vojachkova Sollorano, UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative, Serbia. UNDP is the 1.5 million $ worth project holder. The project is carried out in cooperation with MPALSG and Government of the Republic of Serbia office for reconstruction and flood relief.

Bosnjak pointed out the importance of rapid and quality project implementation, because the dam construction will, after the initial stage of flood relief, make basis for long-term resistance of local communities and their protection from future natural disasters. Moreover, he stated his firm belief that the objects will have been built by May, 2015.

State secretary emphasized the fact that the project implementation would represent Serbia as a good example of an efficient transition from the reconstruction after natural disasters period to the stage of development of flooded areas and prevention of future natural disasters. 

28, January 2015

DPM MEETS THE MAYOR OF NOVI SAD

DPM and minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Governance Kori Udovicki, PhD told the reporters after the meeting with Novi Sad mayor Milos Vucevic that they reached an agreement about the necessity of advancement in the republic and local governement relations.

Mrs Udovicki stated that she told the Novi Sad management directions of the rationalization process, and that she informed them about the laws that will soon be in a Government session and which are relted to LSGs operation.

 DPM MEETS THE MAYOR OF NOVI SAD

“Rationalization, which is unfortunately, necessary due to fiscal consolidation, is a step towards advancement in LSG units operation, as well”, Mrs Udovicki said and added that the most important thing is to have a state which provides better service to its citizens once this process of rationalization has been finished.

She emphasized that the approach must not be linear, and said that savings are necessary even so as to have and increase in economic growth which will further bring an increase in the number of new vacancies.

Mr Vucevic expressed his satisfaction with the meeting of a high quality that had topics which are essential to LSG units operation. “We are most encouarged by the news that LSG will be partners with MPALSG, especially because we will express our suggestions on the laws that affect us, because we are the ones who have direct contact with citizens”, mayor said.

Even though legal solutions for LSG have been ready for a while now, we now want to observe them in the notion of better division of the responsibilities between varios levels of authorities and truly obtaining a state apparatus that will operate better, Udovicki said.

January, 27 2015

2ND RESPA MEETING HELD

On Monday and Tuesday, 26th and 27th January in Sarajevo 2nd RESPA meeting (Regional School for Public Administration) Network for Public Administration Reform meeting was held where Vidosava Dzagic, State Secretary of MPALSG participated as well as the Ministry Representatives she headed.

 2ND RESPA MEETING HELD

The meeting was dedicated to Public Administration reform so the Serbian delegation emphasized the importance of regional cooperation and better coordination in the field of PA reform in the region. Draft of Action plan for PA reform of Government of the Republic of Serbia strategy was presented.

The meeting was intended for public servants at the managing level, which can have an impact on decision making, while moderators would be renowned international experts with big experience in the field. The host of this meeting is Mrs Semiha Borovac, PA reform coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina.   


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January, 22 2015

SUPPORT TO THE “THE ROAD TO JOB THROUGH EDUCATION” PROJECT

 SUPPORT TO THE “THE ROAD TO JOB THROUGH EDUCATION” PROJECT

State secretary in MPALSG Ivan Bosnjak visited the city of Zrenjanin today with Minister of youth and sport Vanja Udovicic so as to give support to the project “Job through education” in this local self-government.

Mr Bosnjak, who went there as a former mayor of Zrenjanin during whose term the project started, said that this was an excellent way to promote even intensive cooperation of businesses, education centres and local self-government units, with the aim of employing the more youth it is possible and creating an education that is oriented towards economy.

Minister Udovicic paid a visit to two Zrenjanin higher education institutions participating in the project, and during it he stated that the fact that project has nearly 400 youth applied for 90 available positions is a clear mark of it being one of the best projects dealing with the most important task – employment.

Januar, 22 2015

NOVI SAD CITY ADMINISTRATION SERVICE IMPROVEMENT AT EGOVERNMENT, NATIONAL PORTAL

Dusan Stojanovic, Director of Directorate for eGovernment, a MPALSG body, had a meeting today with Milos Vucevic, Novi Sad mayor so as to discuss Novi Sad City Administration service improvement at eGovernement, national portal.

Mr Stojanovic presented to the mayor eGovernment opportunities and he offered all the availabile infrastructure so as to increase the number of service offered to citizens and businesses by Novi Sad.

 NOVI SAD CITY ADMINISTRATION SERVICE IMPROVEMENT AT EGOVERNMENT, NATIONAL PORTAL

“eGovernment portal is important because citizens of the Republic of Serbia, as the ones in other countries want more quality, efficient and faster service of Public Administration. The new IT enable all that and simultaniusly decrease the expenses of not only citizens and businesses, but Public Administration itself, as well.”, Stojanovic said.

The City of Novi Sad entirely supports the development of eGovernment and in the foreseeable future we wille establish a Coordinative body which will deal with advancement of e-service for citizens and businesses”, mayor Vucevic said and added that Novi Sad City Administration currenty has three kinds of service regarding registers.

By using eGovernment portal citizens are given an opportunity to experience easier communication with state bodies and public administration, find documents and hand in their applications, receive documents easier. All the information regarding eGovernment portal can be found at www.euprava.gov.rs.

January 21, 2015

NGO REPRESENTATIVES WITH DPM KORI UDOVICKI

MPALSG started the process of consultations with National Councils of national minorities in Serbia and non-governmental sector in August, 2014. The aim was to establish dialogue between citizens and state so as to define the needs for promotion of the national minorities members position. The first meeting was held with Forum for ethnical relations.

Dialogue deeply helped that the elections for National Councils, held in October 2014, be carried out in a democratic manner. The elections were regarded as succsessful and they were complimented on in the David McAlister’s Resolution Draft on Serbia Progress Report. Consultations have continued, even after the elections in order to maintain continuity in communication and to start the discussion about key issues regarding the minitory policy.

 NGO REPRESENTATIVES WITH DPM KORI UDOVICKI

DPM and Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Kori Udovicki PhD and State Secretary in MPALSG Ivan Bosnjak with associates talked with Mreza za interkulturalnost representatives.

It was agreed that communication with national councils was necessary as well as through non-governmental sector with national minorities representatives in the process of regulatory mechanisms alteration. What is more, DPM stated that these conversations should not be held in two closed circles; they should be the means to reach opinions and support of a wider range of population not only of minorities, but majority citizens, as well. Udovicki said that, apart from principles of minorities integration and multiculturality, what is is necessary to be taken care of in the upcoming acitivites is interculturality, that is, interaction of one minority towards another in the instutions of system and everyday life.

Mr Bosnjak expressed his gratitude for the support non-governmental sector gave so as to ensure that the elections were held in a most successful and transparent manner. Moreover, he emphasized the fact that MPALSG has the possibility to successfully implement minority policy at a local level and that it recognizes non-governmental sector as an important interlocutor and partner in MPALSG activity realization.

Goran Basic, PhD, from Centar za istrazivanje etnicitata, Aleksandar Popov from Centar za regionalizam, Snezana Ilic from Centar za razvoj civilnog društva, Zibija Sarenkapic from Kulturni centar DamaD i Sead Biberovic from Urban-In were participants in the meeting.

January 17, 2015

KORI UDOVICKI IN THE SATURDAY ISSUE OF THE „POLITIKA“ NEWSPAPER

 KORI UDOVICKI IN THE SATURDAY ISSUE OF THE „POLITIKA“ NEWSPAPER


DPM Kori Udovicki speaks for the Saturday issue of the “Politika” newspaper about the rationalization process which is coordinated by Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government.

Read the interview

January 16, 2015

CROATIAN AMBASSADOR GIVES DPM UDOVICKI AN INVITATION FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE 3RD EU-SOUTHEAST EUROPE SUMMIT

DPM and Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government was today a host to the ambasssador of Croatia, H.E. Gordan Markotić.

The ambassador handed to DPM an invitation for participation in the 3rd Eu-Southeast Europe Summit “Can political, economic & business integration be the catalyst for growth? which is organized by Ministry of Foreign and European affairs of the Republic of Croatia and the Economist magazine. The summit will be held in Split from 26 – 27th March 2015.

 CROATIAN AMBASSADOR GIVES DPM UDOVICKI AN INVITATION FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE 3RD EU-SOUTHEAST EUROPE SUMMIT

DPM would give speech the first day of the summit on the topic “Where is Europe heading”. This is the topic which will be adressed by European Committee Ex-President Herman Van Rompuy,  DPM of Government of the Republic of Croatia and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Vesna Pusic, Chancellor of Austria Werner Faymann, as well as PMs of Albania and Latvia Edi Rama and Laimdota Straujuma respectively.

Other participants in the Summit will be High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, Croatian PM Zoran Milanovic, certain members of governments of Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and Hungary, as well as representatives  from media and CEOs of the transport, energy, shipbuilding, tourism and IT companies from all over Europe. Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure of Republic of Serbia Zorana Mihajlovic will be giving a speech at the summit, as well.

16th January, 2015.

IVAN BOSNJAK VISITS ALIBUNAR MUNICIPALITY

State Secretary in Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government (MPALSG) Ivan Bosnjak visited the municipality of Alibunar and held mutually beneficial discussions with its leaders. The discussions were of great importance to the development of this South Banat municipality.

Ivan Bosnjak stated that the hosts informed him about the public finance management and public funds problems in the municipality area and he complimented Alibunar municipality management on their determination and cooperation during the previous period and their commitment to an active participation in the reform processes.

 IVAN BOSNJAK VISITS ALIBUNAR MUNICIPALITY

State Secretary stated in this meeting that MPALSG actively strives to help improve mutual practice and in accordance with that to promote economy all over Serbia, especially in Vojvodina and mostly in smaller municipalities. Bosnjak said that one of the aims is to help those municipalities complete the process of reforms professionalised, as active partners to all the citizens in its territory.

Moreover, Mr Bosnjak complimented the municipality on the decicions it reached as a contribution to Government measures and he expressed willingness and expection that they should be fully implemented according to the law, provided the specifities are emphasized and in that manner citizen and Alibunar municipality needs are addressed.

15th January, 2015.

COORDINATING BODY CONSTITUTIVE SESSION HELD

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Kori Udovicki, PhD chaired the constitutive session of the Coordinative body for activities against shadow economy which was established according to the December, 20th Government decision.

 COORDINATING BODY CONSTITUTIVE SESSION HELD

Members who attended the session were the following: Rasim Ljajic, DPM and Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommuniations, Dusan Vujovic, Minister of Finance, Bojan Jocic, Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy Labour Inspectorate and Dusan Korunovski on behalf of Ministry of Economy. They received additional support from Bojana Tosic, Republic Secretariat for Public Policies and Violeta Jovanovic and Ana Knezevic Bojovic from National Aliance for Local Economic Development (NALED).

Rules of Procedure were discussed and adopted, and over 30 members of Expert Group stated, some of who were entitled by Government of the Republic of Serbia decision.  Moreover, work material for baselines baselines on developing a national programme on shadow economy suppression was discussed and it was concluded that the Expert group will prepare the baselines in the beginning of February, 2015, while the draft of National programme with the draft of Action plan for activities against shadow economy is expected in the end of March, with the idea that it should be adopted at a session of Governement of the Republic of Serbia.


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12th January, 2015.

Deputy Prime Minister signed herself in Book of Condolences

 Deputy Prime Minister signed herself in Book of Condolences

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, dr Kori Udovički signed herself in Book of Condolences at French Embassy, regarding recent tragic events in this country, with following words:

To the People of France,

May the courage and solidarity that you have shown in these past days provide comfort for the pain and loss you suffered, and show the way until terrorism is completely defeated. Please accept my personal expression of sympathy and admiration and rest assured that they are shared not only by the people of Serbia, but by billions of people, of all colors and religions, all throughout the world.

Sincerely,
Kori Udovički

 

14th December, 2014.

Impatience is our major enemy, Udovicki said for “Dnevnik”

 Impatience is our major enemy, Udovicki said for “Dnevnik”“


Deputy Prime Minister and the minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Governance Kori Udovicki, Phd spoke in an interview for “Dnevnik” on Public Administration reform directions, as well as business environment options improvement.

Read the entire interview in Serbian

14th December, 2014

“Kurir” journalist’s interview with the deputy prime minister and minister

 “Kurir” journalist’s interview with the deputy prime minister and minister


Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Governance Kori Udovicki, Phd spoke for “Kurir”, the daily newspaper, about two most important laws which are expected to be adopted soon, but which are primarily expected to have a large contribution to the improvement of the state effectiveness – the Law on Wage System and the Law on Inspection Oversight Udovicki stated the key elements for reaching the higher effectivenes of the state:”We need to simplify the rules, reorganize the tasks, and increase the responsibility of public servants for results.” She added that there are certain obsolete institutions, but not that many as it has been said. “I would rather say there is a higher number of the ones that are not adjusted to their purpose, a thing that we strive to change”, the Deputy Prime Minister concluded.

Read the entire interview in Serbian

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