12 February 2018
Minister of the Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ružić, spoke today with Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Public Administration and Sports of Austria, Christian Strache, with whom he agreed on cooperation between the two ministries and academies responsible for the professional development of civil servants.
Ružić and Strache pointed out that administration if the backbone of a country and a pre-condition for the functioning and development of the rule of law.
According to Branko Ružić, the Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government will prepare proposals for a memorandum and agreement on cooperation in the improvement of public administration operation and will soon send them through diplomatic channels for consideration.
Cooperation between the Austrian Federal Academy and the National Academy of Serbia would envisage a visit of Austrian lecturers to Serbia, and Serbian civil servants to Austria to attend specially designed courses.
Strache pointed out that the friendship between Austria and Serbia is, for him personally, important and that he will intend to help Serbia in its ambitious goals, particularly having in mind the number of Serbs living in Austria. “The language is the only thing that sets us apart, and when this is overcome, the barrier between our nations will disappear", he said.
He also said that Austria provides strong support to Serbia on its path to full membership in the European Union and he hoped that Serbia would fulfil its obligations by 2025.
"It is important to treat Serbia on its way with respect and work in partnership", said the Austrian Vice-Chancellor.
2 February 2018
Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ružić pointed out that goals of the inspection oversight supervision were determined for the purpose of establishing good and fair competitive economy, but also a country that seeks to establish a good and efficient administration.
“We allocate resources in a way that we implement reform strategies in partnership with those parts of the society that adhere to the principles of legality and fair competition, and apply repressive mechanisms to those parts of the society and economy that do not adhere these principles“, Ružić said.
At an open session of the Inspection Oversight Coordination Commission, on which businessmen had an opportunity to ask questions to inspectors, and on which they were presented with a leaflet about their rights and obligations in the inspection oversight procedure, Ružić pointed out that the reform resulted in publishing checklists for businessmen to be used for conducting inspection oversight, announce oversight three days in advance, categorise facilities according to a risk type, and even have a possibility of preventive inspection and self-inspection.
The Minister thanked to Daniel Berg, Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, for support to this institution in reforms and improvement of a dialogue between businessmen and inspectors, and as the next step in the reform related to communication between businessmen and economy, he announced the establishment of the Economic Advisor Office. According to the Minister, this Office will enable businessmen to receive answers to all questions related to inspection oversight.
Daniel Berg explained that implementation of the inspection oversight reform is a two-way street and that it should lead to "companies cooperating with inspectors and inspectors with companies, and not to their confrontation". He also said that the EBRD will support establishment of the Economic Advisor Office.
Condemning the recent attack on the inspector in Niš while he was doing his job, the Minister emphasized that it is important to work together on a campaign for raising their reputation. “They make sure that laws apply equally to everyone and they take care of our safety and health and fair business environment“, the Minister said.
The Minister is aware that there is insufficient number, that the average age of inspectors is 54, and that inspection services are insufficiently technically equipped, and as a solution to this problem he announced execution of a complete analysis of needs and the plan of employment of inspectors, which will in practice mean engagement of new inspectors in accordance with needs in the next three years, and also equipping inspection services with necessary equipment, cars, computers, etc.
“I am confident that in this way, with systematic work and partnership relation, we will continue this, so far, successful reform“, Minster Ružić said.
30 January 2018
Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ružić addressed today on the 7th session of the Intergovernmental Joint Commission of the Republic of Serbia and Republic of Croatia on National Minorities and pointed out that the Republic of Serbia is consistent and fully committed to developing relations with its neighbours, affirming in this way one of the most important priorities of its foreign policy.
“Improving cooperation with Croatia and solving all open issues in a transparent and direct dialogue is primarily important not only for our two countries but for the region as a whole“, the Minister said. Serbia is ready to cooperate with Croatia on the improvement of all forms of cooperation in various fields of common interest, however, constructive actions are required on both sides, Minister Ružić said.
According to him, today’s session was an ideal opportunity for exchanging opinions, revise and, finally, decide on specific and necessary steps in the direction of the appropriate exercise of rights of the Serbian national minority in Croatia and Croatian national minority in Serbia.
The Minister pointed out that he is particularly pleased with the fact that both sides showed declarative commitment with the Declaration on improving relations and addressing unresolved issues between Serbia and Croatia to resolve all open issues in a transparent and direct dialogue, as well as that the time has come to show on the operating level as well a responsible and constructive approach to overcoming many years of problems.
30 January 2018
“When one looks at the legislation related with this topic, the Republic of Serbia has a good normative strategic framework, and in some areas it has progressed even further than the EU, for example, in gender-accountable budgeting”, Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ružić, said at the Regional Conference on Gender Equality and Public Administration Reform in Western Balkans, which was organised by the Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA) and Coordination Body for Gender Equality.
Noting that there is good will, knowledge and good statistical data for making improvements in this area, the Minister said that in addition to the fact that Serbia has a female Prime Minister for the first time, and that the President of the National Assembly is a woman, Serbian administration is leading in terms of civil servants with 61%.
“Regardless of good data, moreover, exactly because of good statistical data, we must not allow ourselves to become lazy but do all we can to consistently eliminate any obstacles for adequate progress of women, establishment of the right balance between the professional and private life, and hire them to a higher extent on leadership positions“, Ružić said and added that in this business, Serbia has great support from international partners and domestic experts.
The Minister especially thanked to the Regional School of Public Administration for its support in recognising this important topic and including it in its work, as well as to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Serbia and President of the Coordination Body for Gender Equality, Zorana Mihajlović, on her dedication to making improvements in this field in Serbia.
26 January 2018
Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ružić, participated today in a ceremony of laying a foundation stone for the construction of Serbian Cultural Center "Kolo" in Hungarian town Morahalom.
Future building of the Serbian Center in this town, only about ten kilometers away from the Hungarian-Serbian border, is part of an international project funded by the EU’s IPA Fund, and it involves construction of two such centers, one in the Hungary and one in Serbia on Palić Lake, whose construction is expected to commence in spring next year.
When laying the foundation stone, Minister Ružić said that construction of the Serbian Cultural Center in Hungary is not only a symbol of the high level of bilateral relations that exist between the two counties, but also a symbol of the high degree of understanding and creating a heritage of cultural and traditional values of the two nations.
“This project has a value of EUR 3.7 million, but is worth much more, because these two cultural centers will symbolize the friendship of the two nations", Ružić said.
"Laying the foundation stone is only the first step in the implementation of the project which involved participation of the non-governmental sector and both Hungary and Serbia, and the next cultural center will be open in Palić", Ružić said.
He said that such projects connect people and nations and that this will also affect development of tourism in both countries.
"The fact that the Morahalom municipality is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists who are also interested in getting acquainted with the cultural values of Serbia, supports a thesis that we can present potentials in this cultural center once it is open", Ružić said.
He noted that the European future of Serbia is a joint achievement of the two countries because, as he says, even though Serbia is not a member of the EU, it has been in that large family of European peoples for a long time.
During the laying of the foundation stone, he expressed his hope that the opening of the Serbian Center in Hungary will take place next year on St. Sava day in the presence of the highest state officials of both countries.
A number of cultural and artistic workshops will be held in the future Serbian Center in Morahalom in the next two years, and a special emphasis will be placed on the preservation of the Serbian and Hungarian cultural and historical and national heritage.
In addition to Minister Ružić, the ceremony was also attended by Provincial Secretary for Regional Development, Interregional Cooperation and Local Self-Government Ognjen Bjelić, the Mayor of Morahalom Zoltan Nogradi, and representatives of the DKMT Euroregion.
The facility is being built as part of project “Colourful Cooperation” within an invitation of the INTERREG-IPA cross-border cooperation program between Hungary and Serbia.
Cross-border project “Colourful Cooperation“, organised by the Euroregional Agency DKMT, develops comprehensive cultural and touristic strategies for the entire Hungarian and Serbian border region.
20 January 2018
A bill on electronic government, which was established at the previous session of the Government of Serbia, is one of the basic pillars of development of complete and functional е-government and, in practice, it will, for the first time and in a systemic manner, oblige to the application of modern technologies in all administrative procedures involving citizens and the economy in relations to the country.
On this occasion, Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ružić, said that digitalization is a priority for the Government, and that the essential idea is to make changes in the manner in which public services are being offered with the application of new technologies, and he pointed out that an intention is to send papers to archives and into the history, where they belong in the modern world.
“We expect that effects of this law will be felt by everyone, both the citizens and the economy, but also employees in the administration, because we enable safe use of modern information and communication technologies which facilitate and speed up communication with and between civil services. This reduces the need of citizens and businessmen to spend long time waiting in different institutions and we ensure real chances for them to finish their business with the administration with minimum costs. This will raise the level of their satisfaction, and civil servants will be facilitated in their work“ Ružić said.
The Minister emphasised that the manner of work required by this regulation ensures and reduces administrative expenses and increases legal safety and transparency of work, which also reduces an opportunity for corruption and other forms of abuse of public authorisations. “With the introduction of modern technology and software in the work of the administration, and prevention of a situation in which a piece of paper will sit in someone’s drawer, any possibility of dealing with citizens’ requests that depend on the will of an individual is excluded“ the Minister said.
9 January 2018
The Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government will experimentally establish a single administrative point or a one-stop business system for a new life event – used cars sale, in three to five local self-governments during the year.
Minister Branko Ružić says that these needs are envisaged by the Ministry budget in the amount of RSD 48 million and explains that a single administrative point is nothing more than one counter to which citizens can come if they need to finish some business with the administration and thus exercise their right. “Male and female citizens will be able to get all relevant information in one place, submit only one application, communicate with only one body and a civil servant, and ultimately receive an appropriate solution, certificate or similar document at that place“ Minister Ružić explained.
A single administrative point is associated with important life events and situations in which citizens are referred to municipal or national services. In the previous period, this model enabled citizens to use the single administrative point and е-service “Welcome to the world Baby” to register in registers the birth of a child directly from a maternity ward.
Similar case is with the purchase of cars – a citizen may purchase a used car, go to one counter and submit all necessary documentation for vehicle transfer, determination and payment of taxes, and registration of the vehicle to a new owner. Until now, it took 5 days to finish this process, and citizens had to visit four different institutions eight times, submit eight different applications and pay seven different taxes. “Citizens should not be concerned with how administration authorities will process their applications, how we will exchange data and information. When the business is done, they will only come to pick up their certificate, a driving licence or a similar document“ Minister Ružić said. He estimates that this is the right way to create a bridge between citizens and the administration and enable efficient provision of services paid by the citizens.
“A good starting point for now exists, and it is reasonable to expect that the public administration will, in the near future, really become the citizens and economy service station, and that simple, fast, cost-effective and good quality actions and procedures will be something that is implied” Ružić said.
21 December 2017
The Information Access Center for the ICT training of civil servants but also of citizens was opened today in Belgrade in the presence of Minister of Public administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ružić, which is funded by the Republic of Korea in the amount of EUR 250,000.
During the opening of the Center, Ružić said that the Ministry provided space, and the Republic of Korea equipment, technology, knowledge and training, which will be free, he said.
He said that the fully equipped center is opened for the training of public administration employees in the field of information and communication technologies, but also of citizens, students, start-up companies, non-governmental organisations and local self-governments.
As the Minister said, the Center will help Serbia establish a sustainable model for the development of public administration digitalisation.
"For me as a Minister, it is important that all this will help our state bodies provide better services to citizens in a more transparent and efficient way, as one can never have enough knowledge, especially if we learn from those who the best, or one of the best", Ružić said.
He said that the center is the first tangible and specific result of the Memorandum concluded with the Director of the National Information Society Agency of the Republic of Korea, and pointed out that the Republic of Korea and its government have been a significant partner of Serbia for years.
"Opening of the center is a kind of Korean recognition of Serbia for the results achieved in the development of the IT sector and economy in general, since such projects only start when a country has reached a certain level of development", Ružić said and added that Korea selected Serbia this year as the only country in the Balkans in which it will open a center.
Director of the National Information Society Agency of Korea Bjong Jo So said at the opening of the center that the information-communication policy implemented by the Government of Serbia made an incredible progress, and stated that the IT sector in Serbia is the fastest growing sector with GDP participation of 6%.
He said that the Government of Serbia is taking important steps in increasing the digital competence of civil servants, citizens and young generations.
So also said that the Agency opens such centers in developing countries and that there are 53 centers opened in 46 countries throughout the world.
As So said, Serbia is known for football and tennis in Korea, and his favourites are Novak Đoković and Ana Ivanovnić.
Ki Chang Park from the Embassy of Korea in Serbia said that the center will be a place of friendship between Serbia and Korea, which is Serbia’s partner on its digitalization path.
"This is just the beginning", he said.
Director of the Ministry of Science and Information Technologies of Korea Mungi Che said that Serbia has an excellent educational system that enables development of very good IT professionals.
He expressed a belief that the center will become an "information court" at the level of the Eastern and Central Europe, and that cooperation between the two countries will expand to culture and economy.
The Information Access Center covers 410 square meters with three equipped rooms for training in information and communication technologies, conference rooms and staff office, with the state-of-the-art computers and equipment.
Education will be conducted by experts, volunteers and consultants from the Republic of Korea and Serbia.
Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus are European countries that received this kind of assistance from Korea in the last 15 years, and centers were opened on all continents, except in North America.
11 December 2017
State Secretary Ivan Bošnjak said that efficient administration may facilitate economy business. “I believe in what we do because we have results. These results show us how a new organisation, application of new technologies – digitalization – can contribute to economy business, citizens’ lives, and make our job easier“, Bošnjak said at the conference of the American Chamber of Commerce “Fifth in Lap Time – in the Fifth Gear towards Reforms“.
He noted that there great progress has been made in terms of connecting institutions, databases and records. “Application of e-ZUP has enabled exchange of 16 documents between different authorities. This method of work is implemented today in more than 100 Serbian municipalities and cities, and the transcript of registers into the electronic form in the Central System of Registers enables simple application of the rules of the Law on General Administrative Procedure and drastically reduces a need for issuing hard copies from registers“, the State Secretary said. He reminded that 188 procedures, i.e. services, which local self-governments provide to citizens and the economy have been standardised.
Bošnjak said that e-services have been established and that creation of new e-services depends on the state authorities providing these services. He said that new services are supported by a mechanism and announced that services related to taking an electronic driving exam in driving schools will certainly be improved, as well as service “Welcome to the world Baby“. The service of exercising the right to the child benefit is being tested as part of the process of improvement of service “Welcome to the world Baby“, as well as the e-kindergarten service – electronic enrolment of children to preschool institutions.
Speaking about the fight against the grey economy, Bošnjak said that the inspection reform has greatly contributed to this fight, and he announced that at the next session of the Coordination Commission, which is expected to take place at the end of December, a so called plan for the joint and coordinated inspection oversight will be presented for the first time, which will determine all the resources of inspections and other state authorities in precisely defined areas of fight against the grey economy, and an emphasis will be placed on curbing the grey economy on the Internet. “Е-commerce is an everyday phenomenon in modern countries. In our country it is still developing, but this fact did not prevent the occurrence of the grey economy. The latest estimates have shown that the illegal internet trade in its scope exceeded the scope of the grey economy at open markets”, State Secretary Bošnjak said.
Bošnjak also pointed out that the inspection reform led to a better relationship between businessmen and inspectors, and that research has shown that in 2011 the dissatisfaction of businessmen with inspectors was about 50%, whereas this year , it was reduced to only 13 %.
5 December 2017
State Secretary Zoran Kasalović said today that all the activities related to the public administration reform are conducted for citizens. “The administration is the one which has to provide professional, efficient and cost-effective services to citizens and businessmen, and provide support to other state bodies so that other reforms could be implemented for the benefit of citizens“ the State Secretary pointed out at the final conference of project “Human Resources Management in Local Self-Government”.
Kasalović said that the state system obtained its sound basis through reform laws that ultimately introduced some order in the inadequate efficiency, transparency and professionalism of the public administration. “The Law on Employees in Autonomous Provinces and Local Self-Government Units stablished a new civil service system and a new system for the professional development of employees, and the goal was to achieve better efficiency and satisfaction of citizens with the work of municipalities and cities by ensuring training and better human resources management“, the State Secretary said.
He pointed out that the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government had great support in the project regarding education and training of the employees in local self-governments. “Part of the support package Serbia received from the EU and the Council of Europe involved training of more than 3,700 employees in municipal and city administrations which they completed, and they ranged from the application of the very important Law on General Administrative Procedures, education in preparing and implementing projects, to the trainings in modern technologies and their use in everyday work.
Kasalović reminded that the project involved the construction of 35 models of acts for more efficient and better application of modern principles of human resource management at the local level, and that these models are used today in almost all municipalities throughout Serbia.
The State Secretary said that the system of continuous education of employees will be completed with the establishment of the National Academy, which will for the first time provide professional development in one place, both for employees at the national and local level.
Kasalović pointed out that the administration may not prevent changes. “We in the administration need to be leaders and support changes and that is why it is important that all employees understand that continuous advancement of knowledge and skills is the strongest weapon we have, which we can use to change the way in which the administration operates, and accept changes that await us, because each one change will bring us more efficient way of operation and, more importantly, greater satisfaction and trust of our citizens“, State Secretary Kasalović said.
30 November 2017
The Report on self-assessment of the implementation of the Sector Reform Contract was adopted at today’s session of the Public Administration Reform Council for the Public Administration Reform Sector in the Republic of Serbia for the period from January 2016 to October 2017.
The Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ružić, praised enormous efforts made by competent institutions in the past year that participate in the implementation of the largest individual donation in the amount of EUR 80 million based on the signed Contract in December 2016.
He noted that the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government has a very demanding role of a coordinator of this process compared to other central institutions, and that it is important to emphasise contribution made by all competent institutions in achieving results in two largest national strategic reforms – public administration reform and public financial management reform.
In terms of fulfilment of four general criteria (a stable macroeconomic framework, efficient public financial management, budget transparency and successful implementation of the Public Administration Reform Strategy), Ružić pointed out that there has been a satisfactory progress and certainly satisfaction with the implemented reforms.
The Government will send the Report to the European Commission, after which a decision will be made on the payment of the variable tranche for 2016.
27 November 2017
A meeting was held today in the Government of the Republic of Serbia concerning the Platform for a dialogue on policies within the public administration reform which was led by the representatives of the EU Delegation in Belgrade together with Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ružić, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović and Minister of Finance Dušan Vujović. The meeting was held with a view to revise the first year of implementation of the Sector Reform Contract worth EUR 80 million.
Matea Norčić Štamcar, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation in Belgrade, expressed satisfaction with the results achieved in the past year and commended efforts made by the Government of the Republic of Serbia to better focus on planning, and set priorities in accordance with realistic goals and administrative capacities in order to more efficiently implement the public administration reform.
The attendees concluded that the public financial management and public administration reform is the basis for all reforms being implemented in the country, as well as for the process of Serbia’s accession to the European Union, and that it is important to ensure quality and time.
Minister Ružić commended great efforts of all key stakeholders in the implementation of the Sector Reform Contract, as well as the action of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government which will forward the Report on contract implementation, which will be the basis for the withdrawal of a certain amount of funds as support to the public administration reform.
Satisfaction with the fulfilment of general criteria for the implementation of the Contract was also pointed out. These criteria also represent the largest strategic reforms in the country - 1) a stable macroeconomic framework, 2) efficient public financial management through successful implementation of the Public Financial Management Reform Program, 3) budget transparency and 4) successful implementation of the Public Administration Reform Strategy in the Republic of Serbia and Action Plan for its implementation.
24 November 2017
Representatives of Serbia and the European Union held today the 3rd session of the Join Consultative Committee of the Committee of the Regions European Union-Republic of Serbia, in the Assembly of the AP Vojvodina.
Participants discussed on the session about examples of good practice and ways to better prepare local and provincial levels for the next activities in negotiations on accession to the European Union. One part of the session was dedicated to minority rights at the sub-national level in Serbia and the European Union.
After the session of the Bureau of the Committee of Regions EU-RS, President of the Provincial Government Igor Mirović pointed out in press release that the AP Vojvodina is involved in the negotiation process and that this is particularly important for the chapters related to regional cooperation, regional development, agriculture and environmental protection.
At today’s session, he talked about the way in which rights of national minorities in the AP Vojvodina are regulated and pointed out the willingness to continue improving their position in Serbia and Vojvodina, primarily at the internal level, through a dialogue with representatives of national minorities.
“The fact is that in Vojvodina the heritage of common life of nationalities has for centuries and decades been inherited, and this does not represent a new form that we assume from EU developed countries“, Mirovć said and added that “with additional impulses from the EU, we are developing relations that are already part of our practice“.
The President of the Provincial Government also pointed out the importance of direct cooperation which Vojvodina has with regions throughout Europe, from which it takes over experiences, adopts standards and applies them in practice.
“Vojvodina Province hosted an important meeting today at the moment when Serbia is expecting to open new chapters in the pre-accession period, and when, for the first time, comes a year in which Serbia may slowly count on the full membership in the EU“, Mirović pointed out and added that today’s focus was on the general national priority – membership in the European Union, and on the importance of inclusion of regional authorities not only in the procedure but also in essential accession flows.
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government in the Government of the Republic of Serbia Branko Ružić pointed out that the intention of implementation of the public administration reform at the national and local level is to incorporate in our system principles and standards for the provision of services to citizens and ensure efficiency of the administration that is similar to the one in the EU.
“The efficient public administration is one of the pillars of enlargement, and local self-governments are crucial for the reforms we are implementing and for the accession process. A meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee of the Committee of the Regions is important in this context as it enables the exchange of experiences which will enable to our municipalities and cities to respond better to incoming challenges“, Minister Ružić said.
Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Serbia Sem Fabrizi said that the Committee of the Regions is one of the most important institutions in the European Union and underlined the importance of holding today’s conference in Vojvodina considering the importance of participation of local self-governments in all the processes conducted by the European Union. He added that more that 70 percent of European legislation is being implemented at the local level.
Ambassador Fabrizi hopes that more chapters will be opened by the end of this year, which will be supported by the EU Delegation to Serbia, and he reminded of the speech of the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, when he announced his visit and support to the accession of the countries of the Western Balkans. Fabrizi emphasised that the EU accession process also implies financial funds and said of the EU which may be provided through pre-accession assistance funds in order to make the process of Serbia’s accession easier.
Fabrizi also addressed the session of today’s conference which will deal with minority rights issues, and said that it is extremely important how each of the citizens of Serbia will feel and, most importantly, build a sense of belonging to a wider European family.
President of the Assembly of the AP Vojvodina Istvan Pasztor expressed his satisfaction that today’s meeting was held in the AP Vojvodina considering the fact that the Provincial Assembly and the Government permanently take part and make efforts in accelerating the process of European integration.
“I am very pleased with everything that was said during the conference because, in the past years, we listened to the words that related to the fact that the speed of Serbian’s accession to the EU depends on us. This is partially true. However, in the last few months, in the words pronounced by European officials, I could hear that in case the Republic of Serbia takes necessary steps as quickly as possible, they are ready to accept us. This is very important because the accession process is a two-way process and Serbia may become a member of a society only if the society is ready to accept you“, Pasztor said.
President Pasztor spoke about the importance of negotiation chapter 23 on judiciary and fundamental rights, which also includes the Minority Action Plan, whose drafting involved the Assembly of Vojvodina, the Provincial Government and all national councils of national minorities. He emphasised that this document plays a very important role in the long-term regulation of relations of the national majority and national minorities.
“This is particularly important in Serbia since 17% of the total population are members of national minorities, in Vojvodina this is 26%, and 15 out of 21 national councils in Serbia operate on the territory of the AP Vojvodina. This document has not been imposed, we created it ourselves and, for this reason, I am convinced that, since it is a common intention, we will fully respect it throughout the legislative process and process of implementation of adopted laws“, Pasztor said.
Dejan Jovanović, co-chair of the JCC Committee of the Regions EU-RS said that it is very important that the idea of Eurointegration reaches every citizen at the local level. At the same time, it is important to establish cooperation between elected representatives of EU local authorities and Serbian local self-governments in order to transfer the most important experiences and benefits that the EU has in terms of technical and administrative capacities.
Franco Iacop, co-chair of the JCC Committee of the Regions EU-RS pointed out that the EU Committee of the Regions is here to provide assistance to Serbian authorities at several levels and to help them and guide through the process and the accession procedure, and resolve everything that is imposed as a request when opening a chapter.
The Joint Consultative Committee was incorporated in 2014 and its task was to establish a dialogue and cooperation between regional and local authorities in Serbia, on one hand, and the Committee of the Regions of the European Union, on the other, and to prepare them for participation in the work of the EU Committee of the Regions after becoming a member of the European Union.
9 October 2017
The newly appointed Chair of the Serbian part of the Serbia - Croatia Intergovernmental Mixed Committee and State Secretary at the Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Ivan Bosnjak has met the representatives of the National Council of the Croatian National Minority in Subotica today. They discussed the position of this national minority in Serbia and the improvement of the legal and institutional framework for exercising their rights.
Representatives of the National Council of the Croatian National Minority expressed their satisfaction with the solution to the issue of elementary school textbooks, however they also pointed out that there is still work to be done to find a solution to the issue of secondary school and preschool textbooks. State Secretary has pointed out that by the end of the year, two legal solutions will be amended to improve the rights and position of national minority representatives and the work of national councils, as well. Bosnjak announced that the Intergovernmental Mixed Committee meeting would be held by the end of the year.
The meeting organized on the initiative of Bosnjak, Co-chair of the Serbia - Croatia Intergovernmental Mixed Committee and State Secretary, was attended by the Consul General of Croatia in Subotica, Gordan Bakota, representatives of the local self-government and heads of three administrative districts, as well as the National Coordinator for Open Issues with the Republic of Croatia, Nemanja Stevanovic.
5 October 2017
The conclusion of the round table on the causes of legal and illegal business organized by the US Agency for International Cooperation (USAID) under the Business Enabling Project is that the Act on Inspection Oversight has significantly improved inspectors’ work and the business environment.
State Secretary, Zoran Kasalovic has said on this occasion that a great step forward has been made by this Act and after two years of its implementation we have results in favor of the fact that the foundations of this system are well established, in favor of the state, businessmen and citizens.
Kasalovic has said that inspection controls are no longer purely aimed at the sanctioning of a violator, rather the Act has given them a new preventive and advisory role and provided for joint and coordinated controls.
"This new role implies a permanent dialogue with the economy and we have already launched regular advisory activities between inspections and the economy. Consideration is given to the introduction, i.e. specialization of experts who would act as advisors for the economy in relation to objections to inspection oversight. The next major step of this reform, which is expected by the end of 2018, is the eInspector - a unique platform for the operation and reporting of all 40 inspections," said Kasalovic.
State Secretary has emphasized that the inspection services will be provided continuous and institutionalized training within the National Academy of Public Administration that is currently being discussed in the Serbian Parliament.
Kasalovic has expressed his belief that thus organized system of inspection services, the new, advisory role, granted to inspections under the Act, will also influence the change in the position and attitude of the economy and citizens towards them. "The goal of everything we do in the field of inspection services is not to make people afraid of inspections or for people to make errors due to fear, rather the goal is for them to realize and understand that inspectors ensure equitable implementation of laws, equitable tax liability, and also that every control is linked to the safety of products that are placed on the market or services that are provided to citizens, thereby to the competitiveness of the economy and fair business environment," said State Secretary.
The survey conducted by USAID shows that the different manner of operation of inspection services has resulted in the increase in the legality of operations, and 1000 surveyed businessmen have reported that they are much more satisfied with the work of inspections than back in 2013.
5 October 2017
State Secretary, Zikica Nestorovic has said, presenting the Draft Act on E-Government, that this piece of legislation is one of the basic pillars of developing a full and functional e-government and that in practice it will enable equal use of electronic and paper documents in all administrative and court proceedings, with the tendency to minimize the use of paper and counters.
At the round table, which has been organized on occasion of the public consultation on this Act today, State Secretary has emphasized that its application will enable greater efficiency in work, reduce the costs for the administration, citizens and economy, but it will also create new values in almost all areas of life and work.
Nestorovic has stressed that the effects of implementation of this Act - greater legal certainty, transparency, investments and better planning of development policy - will be felt by all citizens and the economy, as well as by public administration employees. "If we enable safe use of modern information and communication technologies and facilitate communication with the authorities, we will also reduce the need for citizens and business people to"go from one counter to another", and ensure real opportunities for them to complete their administrative transactions faster, which will increase the level of their satisfaction" he explained.
Serbia has waited for these changes for a long time. The modern world started to use and benefit from all the advantages of new technologies way back. "We are catching up with the world, however we are not alone on this path and, more importantly, we are determined to accept these changes and implement them to make the state apparatus more efficient and capable of supporting and encouraging the growth of the private sector as the main driver of economic development" said Nestorovic.
4 October 2017
Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic has said that the National Academy for Public Administration will completely transform the public administration and provide more efficient, more courteous and better-educated officers.
In the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, where a discussion on the Bill on the National Academy for Public Administration was launched on Tuesday, Ruzic said that the officers would be able to acquire new knowledge, skills and competencies through special training programs aimed at raising the level of competencies necessary for quality performance of their jobs.
"An officer must, first and foremost, apply the law equitably in all equal situations, so that the citizens, wherever they are in Serbia, would be in an equitable position," the Minister pointed out, adding that different procedures are applied in municipalities now.
The Academy will, for the first time, provide trainings for all officers, both at the republican and the local level.
He reminded that the republican level officers receive at least some kind of support from the Human Resources Management Service, as opposed to the officers at the local level who have "contrived" to conduct training sessions with the assistance of various international organizations, mainly on implementation of certain laws.
"An officer must do his/her job conscientiously and act in the best interests of all citizens, abide by the rules and serve as an example to others, and it is on us in the Serbian Government to provide a well-organized, equitable system that will not demotivate officers, and to introduce the possibility for promotion and rewarding, in order to increase their motivation’‘ said Ruzic.
The Minister emphasized that the Academy would be open to citizens who are not employed in public administration, who want to learn more about the operation of public administration, introduce a better control of its operation and reassess some activities.
He said that depoliticisation and professionalization of the human resources management system in public administration necessitates a major intervention and further impetus.
“In addition to professional development, this process includes other elements such as planning, staff selection, monitoring and appraisal, rewarding and promotion," said Ruzic.
3 October 2017
"Our activities aimed at introducing order and uniformity in the conduct of local administrations in order to reduce bureaucracy and respond effectively to parties’ requests in the past period also involved making an inventory of proceedings conducted by local self-government units at the request of citizens and the economy and we found a total of 188" State Secretary, Zoran Kasalovic said at "Regulatory Reform - Standardization of the Conduct of Towns and Municipalities in Serbia".
He said that the goal is to standardize and harmonize the conduct of local self-governments, improve the application of legislation, save time and reduce costs for citizens and the economy ...
Parallel to the standardization process in Serbia, the implementation of the new Act on General Administrative Proceedings has begun, said Kasalovic and emphasized that it is an important novelty that this law governs the liability to exchange data from public records ex officio.
"We have put the citizens and businessmen in the center and they are no longer liable to walk from one counter to another and collect documents and data already held by the public administration," he said.
This exercise was additionally facilitated by the information system of the e-APA (Act on Administrative Proceeding) established by the Serbian government in June this year, said Kasalovic, adding that this system is a way for even faster data exchange between the authorities, by electronic means.
"Currently, this system contains data from registries, on domicile, citizenship, as well as the data from the National Employment Service, the Tax Administration, the Central Registry of Compulsory Social Insurance and the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund," he said.
He added that it was planned to include centers for social work as soon as possible, as well as educational institutions at all levels of education (primary, secondary, high).
So far, 55 municipalities and towns were granted permanent access to this database, and seven of them joined the database, Kasalovic said and praised the local self-governments that were among the first to join - Loznica and Vrnjacka Banja.
Secretary General of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, Djordje Stanicic, said that the goal is for the conduct of administrative proceedings to be fully harmonized throughout Serbia.
He added that out of 188 procedures, the vast majority referred to the economy and businessmen.
The conference "Regulatory Reform - Standardization of Conduct of Towns and Municipalities in Serbia" was organized within the program "Support to Local Governments in Serbia in the EU Integration Process - Second Phase", funded by the Government of Sweden.
The Conference was organized by the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government.
29 September 2017
Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ruzic has said that he expects that the insufficient number of employees in the inspection services will be resolved next year and that the inspection service has been hit the most by rationalization, resulting in paradoxical situations that inspection oversight is performed by only one person in some districts.
"Only one health inspector works in Jablanica and Pcinja District, in Nisava district, as well. We are in the situation that one inspector performs four different inspections at the local level, which is unsustainable," said Ruzic, who has met with the Coordinating Commission that controls the work 40 republican inspections today.
According to data, the inspector-population ratio in Serbia is 1:1.200, and 1:780 in Europe.
This fact, according to Ruzic, highlights the need for staff recruitment in order for inspection services to work in accordance with the government's strategy to combat the shadow economy and in the interest of the economy and citizens of Serbia.
"I expect that the next year will be the year of optimization, rather than rationalization that has become a euphemism for dismissal for some people. I think that we have entered a new epoch now in which we will opt for the optimum way of recruitment in those services, even in the inspection services, in order to achieve the goals that are necessary for the government and citizens’‘ said Ruzic.
He added that operation of the inspection services became more transparent in the past two years, due to the implementation of the Act on Inspection Oversight, which was adopted in 2015, and the economic environment is far more predictable.
The Minister emphasized that it is important for citizens and businessmen not to understand the work of inspection services as punishment because they now have an advisory function.
The work of inspection services is in the function of safety of all citizens when using a product, sending a child to school or kindergarten, going to a restaurant, paying taxes ... Inspectors are not enemies, they work in the interest of all of us’‘ Ruzic said.
He highlighted the fact that the Labor Inspectorate found 13,716 illegal workers in the first seven months of this year, 12,861 of which were employed after oversight control as the most significant result in the fight of the state and inspection services against shadow economy.
In addition, since August 2015, more than 8000 controls have been carried out on unregistered economic operators, such as car mechanics in undeclared garages, boutiques in apartments, and so on – and 50% of them have declared their activities after oversight control.
The Minister recalled that regular consultative activities were launched between inspections and the economy, and that consideration was given to the possibility and the modalities for the introduction of economic advisors - specialized experts who would act as advisors for the economy in relation to objections to inspection oversight.
The next major step of this reform expected by the end of 2018 is the eInspector- the unique platform for the work and reporting of all 40 inspections, Minister Ruzic announced.
26 September 2017
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ruzic has pointed out at the presentation of Exchange 5 Project today that the state has secured a continuation of financial and professional support for our municipalities and towns important for determining and making an inventory of the public property they hold and may dispose of.
The Minister explained that since the introduction of the Act on Public Property in 2011, local self-governments have been in a complex and long-lasting process of acquisition of property rights over the property they have used. "The situation is rather chaotic in this field, and in addition to the complex legal framework, there is also the complication of insufficient capacities and complex property-legal situations on the ground. All this slows down the process of registering the right over public property at the local level, which makes the municipalities unable to use their property for the adequate function - the function of development of their communities" said Ruzic and concluded that the majority of (85%) LSGU still lack complete data on the number and structure of buildings and land they could be legal owners of.
"These few facts indicate that the type of support provided through Exchange 5 Programme is exactly what our local self-governments need because asset management is one of the most important instruments of local economic development. We have lost some investors by postponing to address this important issue. Economic development is an obligation of local governments, not just a statutory obligation, but a real, life obligation, because every investment, any improvement in business, any part of the property that is given to an investor for a factory, or a building given for a new school or kindergarten, directly affects the quality and standard of citizens’ lives" said the Minister.
The Minister invited representatives of local self-governments to join the Exchange 5 Programme because through it they can acquire, not only the means to carry out this work, but also the knowledge and skills that they will be able to apply in practice later on.
25 September 2017
Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ruzic has said today that efficient and helpful local self-government must be a standard, and that the Bill on the National Academy is a revolutionary thing for our citizens.
At the meeting on human resources management, he stressed that he was glad to talk about a topic that is essential to all plans set by his Ministry.
"We are not talking about politics, but about people who directly affect the lives of our citizens through their work. We are working on transforming the local self-government into a modern, capable, economical and accountable self-government," Ruzic said.
The Minister added that he expects amendments to the Act on Employees in AP Vojvodina and Local Self-Government Units to be forwarded to the National Assembly very soon, since, in his words, they introduce the improvements needed for further work of the National Academy.
"The administration and officers need to catch up with the trends in order to respond to the demands of the private sector and citizens. We are aware that only good, motivated, adequately deployed staff ensures the efficiency needed for wider social development," said Ruzic.
Whence the desire, says the Minister, to incorporate the EU experiences, models and knowledge in human resource management into our systems at all levels.
22 September 2017
"Public administration reform is one of the basic elements of the structural reforms of the public sector that we are implementing in order to achieve long-term sustainability of public finances and a healthy economic environment. The ultimate goal is to create an efficient, service-oriented public administration in the service of citizens and their needs," Minister Branko Ruzic said opening the workshop for the preparation of a new Action Plan Implementing the Public Administration Reform Strategy for the next two-year period 2018-2020.
Minister pointed out that the focus in the previous period was on the optimization of public administration and the modernization of public services, and that the establishment of exchange of official records, a one-stop-shop system, coordination of inspections, improvement of the work process and public policy management and stable public finances were only some of the results of the implementation of reforms in the last three years.
"It is important to see clearly where we are now in 2017, and to go even further in achieving the planned goals from the Strategy of Public Administration Reform on the basis of identified shortcomings," Ruzic said.
By conducting the workshop, the Ministry started consultations and work on the preparation of the new Action Plan Implementing the Public Administration Reform Strategy for the next two-year period 2018-2020 with representatives of 12 non-governmental organizations selected through a public call, as well as with representatives of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities.
In addition to representatives of the non-governmental sector, representatives of all state administration authorities - ministries, special organizations and government services are involved in the preparation of the Action Plan.
18 September 2017
Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ruzic, Minister of Finance, Dusan Vujovic, and the Ambassador of Switzerland to Serbia, H.E. Philippe Guex have signed a memorandum of understanding, officially launching the project "Property Tax Reform".
Through this project, about 40 local self-governments throughout Serbia will have the opportunity to update their real estate databases, and thus increase the coverage of property tax collection. A million franc prize fund provided by the Government of Switzerland will be divided among the five of the most successful of them.
Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ruzic said that this project, which will be implemented with the support of our friends from Switzerland, is very important for the introduction of order in local self-governments.
"Many local self-governments have financial issues, their budgets are in deficit, they are indebted. One way to overcome these difficulties is to increase their own revenues by better tax collection. It is precisely through this project that 40 municipalities and towns will get the opportunity to reorganize their records on taxpayers, which will enable better collection of revenues," said Ruzic.
The project will last for four years, and even now it is certain that the towns and municipalities will invest the money in infrastructure projects, which will be beneficial for all residents of those local self-governments.
"The Property Tax Reform Project is part of our new strategy of cooperation with Serbia, which will be implemented from 2018 to 2021. We have allocated 91 million euros for this period. With this, our support to Serbia, over the past 30 years of our presence here, will exceed 300 million euros"said Philippe Guex, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Serbia.
In the pilot phase of this project, involving nine municipalities from Eastern Serbia, in the period from 2013 to 2016, the percentage of increase in property tax collection was, on average, 197 percent, while the tax rates did not change.
14 September 2017
Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ruzic has said in a conversation with the Head of International Monetary Fund Mission, James Roaf that the public sector system is changing from the ground up, as the goal is to make it efficient, economical and manageable.
The Minister has reminded that public service positions are catalogued. "About 2,000 tasks and several thousand different positions in public services have been reduced to around 870 through the catalogue. All public services will have to coordinate their internal organization and work with the Catalog, and there will be no more abuse and inventing jobs just for the purpose employment ".
Ruzic said that the Ministry prepared a set of draft acts governing labor relations and appraisal and salaries system in public services, autonomous provinces and local governments, and they will soon be forwarded to MPs as planned.
The Minister believes that such a system is equitable because it allows for equitable appraisal and reward of all public service employees for their efforts and results, which will have a positively impact on their motivation and quality of services.
When it comes to the maximum number of employees in state and local administrations, according to the latest data, there are about 6,700 less employees than the maximum number.
Speaking about the plans, the Minister said that laws and secondary legislation, governing the salaries of employees in other parts of the public administration system, are being prepared simultaneously. "Our goal is to pass them by the end of the year and thus round up and organize the entire system."
13 September 2017
Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ruzic has said today at the meeting with the World Bank mission that Serbia has committed itself in the passed strategic documents to organizing efficient, economical and obliging public administration and services.
The goal is to make the public administration relatively smaller, less costly and more efficient and thus support economic growth. "We are aligning with the needs of citizens and the economy - from services at counters, transfer of knowledge in schools, to health care, social protection and culture," said the Minister.
We are undertaking concrete activities to establish an equitable public service system based on merit and competencies to the benefit of Serbian citizens.
"I am convinced that the effect of establishing a performance appraisal and reward system based on performance and engagement will result in increased employee motivation and, ultimately, better quality of services in health care, education, culture, social protection ...", said Ruzic and added that the Act on Public Service Employees would soon be before the MPs.
Total number of public administration employees at all levels is within the statutory scope. "Standards and priorities within each sector have been examined so as not to jeopardize the functioning of the state and the implementation of reforms" said Ruzic and explained that there is a real need for strengthening health care and inspection services staff.
Minister Ruzic has thanked the World Bank on their support for the Serbian Government in its reforms.
11 September 2017
Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ruzic has spoken with the new Head of EU Delegation to Serbia, Sem Fabrizi, about the activities of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government and on this occasion, he pointed out that the system and people’s mentality are both being changed through the reforms.
Minister Ruzic has stressed that public administration reform is one of three pillars of European enlargement policy and that we are looking up to the EU in this field.
"Serbian Government is aware of the importance of the reform of state and local administration and public services, and its positive effects on the quality of services provided to citizens and the economy, and on the rationalization of budgetary expenditures," said Ruzic. "By preparing and issuing legislation governing the foundations of this system, we have started this reform from the ground up, not only because of the European path, but because of ourselves." The Minister stated that, for this purpose, a set of about 18 pieces of legislation enabling efficient administration and services closer to the citizens and economy, and better exercise of the rights of citizens and national minorities, were passed or are the preparation stage.
Ambassador Fabrizzi has agreed that public administration reforms are crucial for Serbia and for negotiations with the EU, and praised the Minister for his efforts. "Public administration reform is a very complex but necessary process in Serbia as well as in EU member states. Public administration reform aims to increase the efficiency and transparency of public administration, strengthen the trust of Serbian citizens, the private sector and foreign investors, and the sustainability of finances" stated Sem Fabrizzi. He expressed expectations that the reforms will continue according to the plan of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government and the Ministry of Finance.
The reform of public, and further processes of optimization and professionalization of the state administration, will remain a priority of the Ministry and this Government in the future, because they are one of the pillars of reforms in the process of accession of the Republic of Serbia to the EU. The support of the EU Delegation is of great importance for the accession process because a permanent and constructive dialogue has been established.
Minister Ruzic thanked the European Union for the very significant support provided to Serbia through numerous projects aimed at reforming and optimizing public administration and strengthening the capacities of local self-governments. The European Union has provided € 80 million in grants for public administration reform only through sector budget support. The Minister said that the Ministry is preparing several more projects for which it will seek the support of the European Union.
8 September 2017
“Digitization is high on the agenda of the Serbian government, and the state wants a faster, more efficient and transparent state and local government and public services for all its citizens. The government won’t give up on this goal”, said Branko Ruzic, Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government at the Digital 2017 conference.
He said that the goal of the state is to follow the world trends in the digital sphere and explained that the state, although it is a time-consuming process, because the system, habits and way of thinking do not change overnight, has made really big steps in the past period in the field of public administration reform.
“We have set sound bases for systemic solutions that allow for further progress in the acting of the administration, both internally and towards the citizens,” said Ruzic and added that in a period of only one year several important electronic services have been put into operation in order to facilitate administrative procedures and improve service delivery to citizens. Some of these services include: registration of newborns as early as in maternity wards through the project "Baby, welcome to the world", online enrolment in preschools, etc.
As a particularly important novelty, the Minister mentioned the networking of databases for the electronic exchange of necessary data so that public administration employees can quickly, easily and electronically access the data.
The Minister explained that the so-called eZUP has been also established, which is the first and excellent tool that enables employees to exchange electronic data in order to provide citizens with faster services. “From 1 June to the date, the Serbian administration has, through the eZUP, exchanged over 15,000 documents! This is just the beginning, because this opens many issues for which we try to find solutions, which we will answer with the adoption of the on e-Government Act by the end of the year and which will be another systemic solution,” said Ruzic.
In order to support the claim that digitalisation is a government priority, the Minister recalled that the IT Office has been established, which directly corresponds with the Prime Minister. “From now on, I hope that we will not only speak figuratively about the seal as a thing of the past, but we will really send it there,” the Minister said.
6 September 2017
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic spoke with the USAID’s Mission Director for Serbia Azaa El-Abd about support programs for improving the work of public administration.
Ruzic and El-Abd agreed that so far cooperation between the Ministry and USAID was remarkable, especially during the inspection oversight reform, which will surely continue to be subject of cooperation.
They talked about the need to strengthen public-private dialogue in order to enable a more favourable business environment, as well as for further cooperation on strengthening the transparency and accountability principles at the local level.
The Minister emphasized the great importance of continuous monitoring of citizens' satisfaction with public services, and given that the practice of the US administration in this area is very developed, the interlocutors expressed their hope that Serbia will see similar initiatives.
4 September 2017
On the sidelines of the Bled Strategic Forum, Minister of Public Administration and Local Government Branko Ruzic met with Macedonian Minister of Information Society and Administration Damjan Mancevski to discuss public administration reforms in Serbia and Macedonia.
Minister Ruzic emphasized that it is of the utmost importance that regional ministers exchange experiences and attitudes more often on this topic in order to promote the whole region in terms of digitization and modernization of the work of the public administration.
“Serbia has done a lot in the past period in the field of public administration reform, by setting a sound basis for further progress in systemic solutions in acting of the administration, internally and toward citizens, while at the same time intensively working on the eGovernment development,” said Ruzic, adding that these reforms have made Serbia's public administration no longer return to the past, but will increasingly be like the governments of the EU member states.
Ruzic and Mancevski talked about electronic services provided by the public administration and the Serbian Minister pointed out that Serbia is willing to share all its positive experiences with the countries in the region, and at the same time to learn from them in order to be better in each segment.
Minister Mancevski was also interested in the inspection oversight reform in Serbia, which has contributed to establishing coordination between inspections and has enabled them to have more of an advisory rather than repressive role. Minister Ruzic stressed that the effects of this Act are excellent, adding that since the beginning of the year, the number of newly registered entrepreneurs has risen to 20,284.
1 September 2017
Draft acts on public service employees and public sector salary system allow for fairness, transparency, better organization and financial management of public services, which ultimately contributes to better quality of services provided by the state to citizens and the businesses,” said Minister of Public Administration and Local Sampaigns Branko Ruzic on the occasion of the current public debate on draft acts governing the system of employment in public services prepared by this ministry.
Ruzic pointed out that the goal is to create a good basis for efficient public administration, enable selection of the best personnel, ensure impartiality and political neutrality in performing jobs, enable better organization of public services, and establish a performance appraisal and reward system.
The Minister stressed that the reforms of labour relations and salaries in public services are necessary, not only due to European integration process, but because the regulation of this area has profound, positive consequences for our society. “The organization of the system and the evaluation of work in healthcare sector, education sector, social protection sector and other public services and the quality of services provided by public services to citizens should become a mirror of the organization and efficiency of the state. Our goal is to have satisfied citizens, whom we provide services, and employees, who provide these services to citizens. Therefore, we are building a system that will enable it,” said Ruzic.
30 August 2017
On August 29, the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM) awarded certificates to participants of e-Training “Implementation of the Act on General Administrative Procedure in Local Self-Government”. The training was successfully completed by 1086 employees from 135 cities and municipalities, who are engaged in administrative procedures as part of their daily tasks.
State Secretary in the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Ivan Bosnjak said that after e-Training Serbia will “be even more modern and of higher quality”.
“The new Act on General Administrative Procedure has become a new circulation of information, and all of us together, especially at the local level, are its most important parts - capillaries and veins, which will link information about the new flow and mode of communication between state authorities, local authorities, the economy and citizens to improve and to live in full extent,” said Bosnjak.
E-training was conducted in the period from May 22 to July 14, and this activity was organized by SCCT as partner in the project “Strengthening the capacities of employees in local self-government for implementation of the Act on General Administrative Procedure through electronic training", which was financially supported by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
30 August 2017
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic spoke with Mayor of Morahalom from Hungary Zoltan Nogradi in Zrenjanin, who was invited by Mayor Cedomir Janjic.
Minister Ruzic praised the results of the City of Zrenjanin achieved so far and expressed support for strengthening future cross-border co-operation with neighbouring countries because, in his words, this is the only way to promote European values in our region.
Mayor of Moraholom said that a joint project on building a Serbian-Hungarian cultural centre in Morahalm is currently being prepared, and in addition to cultural cooperation, Morahalom will be a bridge between the European Union and our country.
After the meeting, Minister Ruzic ceremoniously opened the 34th competition in cooking fish soup "Zlatni kotlić” (Golden kettle) and the 10th “Djula Farkas-Farki" memorial, while the guests from Hungary had the opportunity to present their culture, customs and gastronomic offer in such a big event.
Ruzic expressed his satisfaction with what he had the opportunity to see in Zrenjanin.
“Cross-border cooperation with Hungary and Romania, the disbursement of funds from the European Union, the use of various grants and experiences are a good indicator of the excellent managerial potential that the city of Zrenjanin owns. I think that a professional and modern attitude and understanding of the leadership of this important city greatly contributes to transferring all these contents to end users, namely citizens of Serbia, the Central Banat District, AP Vojvodina,” Ruzic said, adding that Zrenjanin is a good example of how one can affirm what is at hand, but what we fail to always use.
17 August 2017
In seven municipalities of Serbia, the “Ana i Vlada Divac” foundation implemented “Support to Local Response to Refugee Crisis” project, the value of which is US 700,000. During the presentation of the results in Belgrade, it was said that the project, with financial support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was implemented in Sid, Subotica, Dimitrovrgrad, Presevo, Lajkovac, Tutin and Sjenica and lasted from March 2016 to August 2017.
Meeting participants said that the project aimed to improve capacities of selected local communities, volunteer organizations and civil society organizations to respond to refugee crisis in Europe.
Minister of Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic praised the readiness of municipalities to “tackle” the migrant crisis and provide migrants with all kinds of assistance - from health care to administrative.
According to him, Serbia has shown that it is not only a transit zone, but it may be a home for those migrants who want to stay in it.
According to him, Serbia has shown that is not only a transit zone, but it may be a home for those migrants who want to stay in it.
5 August 2017
IThe position of people belonging to national minorities in Serbia is better in many segments compared to some countries that are EU members and other more developed countries, said State Secretary in the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Ivan Bosnjak.
Reacting on the interview with Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Meleşkanu, who said that Bucharest “regarding sensitive issues for his country, which includes “rights of persons belonging to the Romanian minority throughout Serbia, expects visible progress,” Bosnjak says he is glad that Romania, as one of the neighbours of Serbia, a member of the EU, recognized the results achieved in the promotion of minority rights.
“The interest of our neighbours for the steps we have taken on the European path and achieving standards in this area will surely lead to better knowledge of the situation in Serbia, and thus provide significant support in EU integration," he said.
Bosnjak states that in the work of the Intergovernmental mixed commission it is possible to consider all issues of interest to the people belonging to Romanian national minority on this side of the border, but also to the Serbian national minority in Romania. According to him, Serbia has a good and positive tradition in the territory of Vojvodina, which is one of the best organized multi-ethnic environments in Europe.
He states that our fellow citizens, members of minorities, have room for political action through the work of national councils of national minorities, and that there is a whole range of minority institutions, from the extreme south to north, from Presevo to Kanjiza. He also assessed that 21 national councils that exercise cultural autonomy, as well as 26-27 different ethnic communities living in Serbia, can be completely satisfied.
“Perhaps not completely satisfied in every life segment and in every part of the territory,” Bosnjak adds, but states that these rights are affordable in the same way, and that the Ministry intends to pay special attention to more employment of persons belonging to minorities.
27 July 2017
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ruzic talked today with the United States Ambassador Kyle Scott about the priorities from the scope of work of the Ministry, as well as the possibilities for continuing and improving the successful cooperation.
Ambassador Scott expressed his satisfaction with the successful cooperation with the Government of Serbia and the Ministry in the past few years, especially on the inspection supervision reform through the USAID's Business Enabling Project (USAID BEP). Ambassador expressed his hope that the work on this field will continue successfully, and the interlocutors agreed that the next step towards the establishment and implementation of the unique information system eInspector is extremely important.
Speaking about the priorities in the work of the Ministry, Minister Ruzic pointed out that the focus is on legislative activities in the field of functioning of local self-government units and protection of minority rights, as well as work on the centralization of the registry system in Serbia. He said that one of the permanent activities in the Ministry is constant work on the improvement of the Single Electoral Register, and that continuous fight against corruption is the priority of the Government of the Republic of Serbia.
They also discussed about possibilities for launching a project to improve the quality of public administration performance through the application of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI). In the implementation of the project, US knowledge and experience would be used, and the project itself would be focused on the continuous monitoring of services provided to citizens by the public administration. The project would focus on central and local level through the monitoring of services along the scope of work of the police and judiciary at the central level and health and social protection, municipal services and services provided by cities and municipalities at the local level.
The interlocutors expressed hope that such constructive meetings will be held in the future, and at the end of the visit, Ambassador Scott wished to Minister Ruzic a lot of happiness and success in his work.
27 July 2017
Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ruzic, has talked with US Ambassador to the Republic of Serbia, Kyle Scott today. They discussed priorities falling within the remit of the Ministry and the possibilities for continuing and improving the already successful cooperation.
Ambassador Scott expressed his satisfaction with the successful cooperation with the Serbian Government and the Ministry in the past few years, especially on the reform of inspection oversight through the Business Enabling Project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID BEP). The Ambassador expressed hope that the work in this field would continue successfully, and the collocutors agreed that the next step towards the establishment and implementation of the unique information system eInspector is extremely important.
Speaking about the priorities in the work of the Ministry, Minister Ruzic pointed out that the focus is on legislative activities in the field of functioning of local self-government units and protection of minority rights, as well as on the centralization of the registry system in Serbia. He pointed out constant work on the improvement of the electoral roll as a permanent activity of the Ministry, and permanent fight against corruption as the priority of the Government of the Republic of Serbia.
Possibilities for launching a project to improve the quality of work of public administration through the implementation of the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) were also discussed at the meeting. American knowledge and experience would be used in the implementation of the project, and the project itself would be focused on continuous monitoring of services provided to citizens by the public administration. The project would focus on central and local level through the monitoring of services falling within the remit of the police and judiciary at the central level, and health care and social protection, utility services and services provided by towns and municipalities at the local level.
The collocutors expressed hope that there will be more such constructive meetings in the future, and at the end of the visit, Ambassador Scott wished Minister Ruzic a lot of luck and success in his work.
25 July 2017
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic met with representatives of national minority councils in the Palace of Serbia today, in order to be informed about the activities of the national minority councils and the most important challenges they face in their work.
After the introductory greetings, Minister Ruzic reminded the attendees that the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government worked on the one of the most important documents in the field of protection of national minority rights - the Action Plan for the Execution of Rights of Members of the National Minorities, which has been planned to be enacted in the process of the accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union under the negotiation chapter 23.
“As far as I am informed, apart from the representatives of the state institution, civil society organisations, and representatives of the international organisations, it was you, the representatives of the national minority councils who provided the significant contribution in creating this document“, the Minister dais an d added that he expects the representatives of the national minority councils to continue to participate in the next phases - in the implementation of activities, preparation and control of reports, and thus contribute to the overall enhancement of the position of their community.
The Minister pointed out that the national minority councils also participated in the preparation of the Draft Act amending the Act on Protection of Rights and Freedoms of National Minorities, and that they are actively participating on amendments to the Act on National Minority Councils. He added that this is a joint task, since the Ministry wants this legislation to be ratified in a participative and inclusive process and that solutions for certain issues are jointly found in a constant dialogue.
“The important issue, which has been moved from a deadlock in the last two years, is the Budgetary Fund for National Minorities. In the meeting of the Council for national Minority held on 23 May 2017, the Draft program for Allocation of Funds form the Budgetary Fund for National Minorities was unanimously endorsed. The Program identifies the information in the national minority languages as a priority area, and the program and projects from this particular area will be funded from the Budgetary Fund for National Minorities in 2017 “, Minister Ruzic emphasized and added that the Ministry is in the final stage of preparation of the Guidelines that will define the method of establishing composition and number of the Commission, which will carry out the competition in keeping with the Law and the Regulation.
Minister Ruzic noted that, although a significant progress has been made thus far, he is aware that there is still space for further enhancement of the legislative framework and implementations of the regulations, that some problems can be resolve din a shorter time, and that there are open issues that request commitment and mutual understanding and confidence. He concluded that, because of this reason, it is important to make sure that the Government of the Republic of Serbia and representatives of national minority councils act as partners in this process.
19 July 2017
Representatives of the Public Administration and Local Self-Government met today with rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), with whom they discussed about taken activities and future steps of MPALS regarding reform processes, European integration, protection of rights and freedoms of national minorities, as well as improvement of the local self-government system and the development of decentralization process.
On this occasions, great gratitude was expressed for the support the international organization provides to Serbia in the reform processes. It was pointed out that the Government of the Republic of Serbia and this Ministry will invest lots of efforts in the future in order to continue good cooperation of the Republic of Serbia with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which Serbia will surely demonstrate through the fulfilment of high international and European standards.
MPALS representatives briefed the delegation of the PACE Monitoring Committee that a Draft Act amending the Act on Local Self-Government has been prepared with the aim of improving the local self-government system which, among other things, proposes the possibility of local self-government units to, though their bodies, monitor the process of European integration and develop administrative capacities, in keeping with the Act and foreign policy of the Republic of Serbia.
Representatives of the Ministry also stress that respect and promotion of rights and freedoms of national minorities is of great importance for both, the process of European integration, and the rule of law in general. At the meeting, it was pointed out that in March 2016 the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Action Plan for the Execution of the Rights of National Minorities within the Negotiating Chapter 23, and that it is now working on its implementation.
At the meeting it was noted that progress was made in the public administration reform in Serbia in 2016, in the areas related to the processes of rationalization, optimization and restructuring of the state administration.
PACE Monitoring Committee Co-Rapporteurs Samad Seyidov and Maria Guzenina, as well as the Head of the Council of Europe Mission to Serbia, Tim Cartwright and Secretary at the Monitoring Committee Sylvie Affholder congratulated the Ministry on the progress made in the reform process and the positive report published by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. They also praised the work and promptness of the representatives of this Ministry and called for further cooperation with the rapporteurs of this international organization.
In addition to the State Secretaries of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Government Ivan Bosnjak and Zoran Kasalovic, the meeting was attended by the Assistant Ministers Ivana Antic, Ivana Cirkovic and Sasa Mogic.
19 July 2017
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic participated in the seventh session of the Council for professional development of local self-government employees, which was held today at the Council of Europe, and on the occasion, he emphasized that he is very pleased that at the beginning of his mandate he attends the session of the Council and can take the opportunity to personally meet the members of this body. The session was attended by the President of the Council and State Secretary in the Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government, Ivan Bosnjak and Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Mission, Irina Sahakyan-Vetter.
“I would like to support you and emphasize the importance of your work thus far, but also to emphasize the continuity in the work of this Ministry, where the professional development of employees in the administration, especially the employees in local self-government units, is high on the agenda,” Ruzic addressed the members the Council and also added that the Act on Employees in Autonomous Provinces and Local Self-Government Units (LSGU), along with numerous reform solutions, provided for the formation and operation of such a Council for the professional development of employees in LSGUs.
The Minister emphasized that the professionalization and depolitization, continuous education and personal development of each employee has long been recognized within the European framework as a necessary prerequisite for the general social and economic development that must have its basis in developed local communities.
“Support packages that are part of the joint project of the European Union and the Council of Europe “Human Resource Management in Local Self-Government”, implemented by the Council of Europe, provided for 20 pilot municipalities, already has given significant results in the implementation of the Act through job classification, staffing plans and set a good basis for the establishment of a new human resources management system at the local level, "said Minister Ruzic, and expressed his satisfaction that the first applications for accreditation of training program implementers will be considered at this session. He also mentioned that in parallel with the project yesterday a public call was published in Strasbourg to collect bids for the realization of 65 proposed training courses on the topics of the Act on General Administrative Procedure and the writing and implementation of projects.
At the end of his address, the Minister pointed out that he would also invest his authority in order to provide further continuous support to the process of establishing a human resources management system in the public administration through joint work, with all these experiences being necessary for the future successful and purposeful work of the National Academy for professional development.
11 July 2017
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic met today with Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Serbia Alexandr Chepurin and discussed about a wide range of competencies of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, as well as the priority of the Government of the Republic of Serbia in the field of improvement of electronic administration and the digitization process.
During the talks between Minister Ruzic and Russian Ambassador Chepurin, the possibility of exchanging experiences in the field of professional development of personnel in public administration was noted, all in the light of the adoption of the Act on the National Academy for professional development in public administration.
Minister Ruzic emphasized on this occasion that the Ministry will continue to contribute to the development of good relations between Serbia and Russia in all segments of the society.
At the end of the meeting, Minister Ruzic and Ambassador Chepurin agreed to continue the traditional friendship between the two countries and our nations, in order to raise the cooperation to a higher level and make it more comprehensive.
6 July 2017
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic and Director of National Information Society Agency of the Republic of Korea Oh Hyunmok signed today in the Government of the Republic of Serbia the Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the Serbian-Korean Information Access Centre and cooperation in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT).
“Today, we have made another important step towards the advancement of electronic administration and information society in Serbia, and we continue to have very good cooperation with the Republic of Korea in these areas. In addition to training for civil servants, establishing a Serbian-Korean IT Centre will open doors to citizens and start-up companies, with capacity building and development of ICT training,” Minister Ruzic said after the signing of the Memorandum.
Cooperation in this initiative was initiated in direct communication with the Embassy of Korea, and the signing of the Memorandum, which is the basis for further concretization and operationalization of cooperation, was preceded by a series of bilateral meetings at the level of Serbian and Korean delegations.
During the visit to the Republic of Korea, the Serbian delegation had the opportunity to get acquainted with the development of ICT strategies in this country, as well as the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the city municipality of Daejeon, the National Health Insurance Service, the University National Hospital, the Tax Administration, the Innovation Centre and the Centre for Informatics and Security, in order to get acquainted with the functioning of the information systems in relation to the tasks performed by each of the institutions.
Previously, in March 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Korea on cooperation in the field of electronic administration, envisaging the exchange of good practices of these two countries.
30 June 2017
New Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic took over today the ministry from the former Minister and new Prime Minister, Ana Brnabic. The Prime Minister presented Ruzic with a report on the state of affairs, what has been done in the previous 10 months, introduced him to the organization and the situation in this sector, as well as the set goals and future obligations.
The handover of duties is, as he says, very important because it ensures continuity that the citizens and businesses do not lose even one day, but that the Minister immediately assumes duty and begins to work.
“It is important for the new minister to be briefed about what has been done, what is in progress, and what is prepared for the future. Then every minister decides on his priorities in accordance with the strategic direction of the state,” Brnabic said after the handover of office.
Ruzic promised that he would work hard and continue with the same pace.
“We will try to be better, which will be very difficult,” Ruzic said and added that as a minister it only remains for him to continue with projects, legal proposals and activities that were prepared in the previous period.
"I am familiar with the report on what has been done and I must say that it is an impressive number of projects and legal proposals that have been prepared. I expect that we will continue in the same manner,” Ruzic said.
3 May 2017
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-government (MPALSG) Ana Brnabic met today with Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in Serbia Yoo Dae Jong. The main topic of the meeting was establishing of the Information Access Centre in Serbia, which will be opened by the end of the year. Participants in the meeting also talked about how Serbia could use the best practice and knowledge of the Republic of Korea in the field of education of civil servants and in the field of e-government, by which the Republic of Korea is recognised in the world.
The aim of the Information Access Centre is to support decreasing of a digital gap in Serbia, which ensures the basis for a more rapid introduction of e-government and a wider use of electronic services by more citizens and civil servants. The Information Access Centre will organise trainings in the use of the Internet for the elderly so that all categories of citizens could use electronic services which provide a possibility for citizens to complete administrative formalities from their homes. In addition, this Information Access Centre will organise education for employees in local self-governments and IT seminars and will have a free Internet access for its users.
The Republic of Korea will invest EUR 250,000 in the Information Access Centre, including investments in equipment for the Centre, maintenance of equipment and hiring of experts who will educate employees in the Information Access Centre. A study visit to the Republic of Korea has been agreed in order to introduce employees who will work in the Information Access Centre to the best practice and experiences which they will use in their work. The Ministry of Public administration and Local Self-government will provide premises where the Information Access Centre will be formed and will hire three persons who will work in the Centre. The selection process for persons who will work in the Centre will be designed jointly by both partners.
“The Information Access Centre is a part of the digital agenda of Serbia which must work intensively on catching up with the Fourth Industrial Revolution and each step on that road is very important for us. The implementation of the Information Access Centre will enable us to use the expertise and know-how and is a logical continuation of previously established good cooperation with the Republic of Korea”, said Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-government Ana Brnabic.
9 November 2016
The citizens who have not yet filed a claim for the replacement of old healthcare document for the new electronic health insurance card, will have the opportunity to do so, starting from Thursday 10 November, through the National e-Government portal ( www.euprava.gov.rs ). The whole procedure is simple and adapted to users with basic computer skills. The new service envisages the possibility of delivery of a new document to the address where the applicant is registered in the database of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), and that address will be offered as an option when filling out the request.
Costs of production amount to 400 dinars per one health card, for the citizens who want personally to take over the health card at the relevant NHIF branch. The citizens who choose the option of a delivery of a health card to the selected address, shall pay the sum of 469 dinars for a health card. If citizens would like to perform this service for their family members who are covered by their insurance plan, on a payment slip will be the amount that should be paid for all family members for which the application was submitted.
In order to protect the sensitive data, the NHIF shall deliver an envelope with a card, separately for each individual. If at the time of a delivery, the claimant is not at the address, a notice will be left with instructions where he can subsequently take over the card.
Citizens who have already paid the amount of the fee, but haven’t submitted a claim at some of the NHIF branches, can repeat the claim through the Portal and pay again, with a choice of whether they want the delivery to the selected address or not. The initial payment can be restored through the standard procedure of the refund of administrative fees. (1 ***)
"The new service of electronic submission of the a claim for the replacement of health insurance cards is the result of joint work of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government (MPALSG), Ministry of Health, Directorate for E-Administration and the National Health Insurance Fund. It was created as a quick and effective response to the appeals of the citizens because of rows at the counters. Since this service is intended for all citizens, I want to announce that from Wednesday the students of the Faculty of Organizational Sciences (FON) are going to fill out requests for the oldest citizens and, thus, will be completing the procedure for them, “stated Ana Brnabić, Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government.
National Health Insurance Fund invites citizens to order new health insurance cards through the National e-Government Portal and reminds that the deadline for the submission of applications, stipulated by the Health Insurance Act, is December 31st.
Steps of the submission of applications for the replacement an old health healthcare card for a new electronic health insurance card:
(1***) Acting in accordance with Art. 60 of the Law on Budget System (Službeni glasnik RS, No. 54/2009, 73/2010, 101/2010, 101/2011, 93/2012, 62/2013, 63/2013 - CC (Corrigendum), 108/2013, 142/2014, 68/2015 - other law and 103/2015) the Regulation on terms and method of public revenues accounts management and allocation of funds in these accounts (Sl. glasnik RS, No. 16/2016 and 49/2016) has been adopted. Article 28, Chapter 11 of the Regulation, establishes the procedure for a refund of public revenues in cases of multiple or incorrectly paid public revenues.
30 October 2016
Electronic registration of babies to be available at all maternity units in Serbia by the end of the year
As planned, the project “Welcome to the World, Baby” has been rolled out to 12 more maternity units across Serbia, namely in: Surdulica, Pirot, Tutin, Novi Pazar, Priboj, Uzice, Kladovo, Paracin, Kraljevo, Zajecar, Bor and Knjazevac. The system allows for simplified registration of babies in the central register of birth, registration of their nationality and address of residence and filing for health insurance. This saves parents’ time and money, as they are now able to complete all legal formalities already at the maternity unit.
To date, 12,012 registrations have been filed electronically from hospitals. The parents of 1,098 babies refused to give their consent and did not want to complete the legalities at the hospital, opting instead for registering their baby’s name and address of residence and filing for insurance the old-fashioned way. The parents of 10,914 wanted to register their babies electronically and gave their consent. Of that number, 9,961 babies have been registered with registers of birth, 9,853 babies have had their addresses registered, while health insurance applications have been filed for 9,173 babies.
We urge parents to make full use of the benefits provided by this new service and file electronic applications for their babies at all maternity units where the service is active. Electronic registration of babies already at the maternity unit gives parents extra to spend quality time with their infant in its first days, instead of wasting it on completing administrative procedures.
The electronic registration system has been operating successfully for several months at 25 maternity units, including: maternity units “Narodni front” and Clinical Hospital Centre “Dragisa Misovic – Dedinje” in Belgrade and maternity units in Kragujevac, Backa Topola, Subotica, Kikinda, Cuprija, Cacak, Pancevo, Vrbas, Prokuplje, Leskovac, Prijepolje, Krusevac, Negotin, Sabac, Loznica, Pozarevac, Petrovac na Mlavi, Zrenjanin, Arandjelovac, Valjevo, Novi Sad and Smederevo.
27 October 2016
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Ana Brnabic, head of the EU Negotiation Team Tanja Miscevic and Assistant Minster of Justice Cedomir Backovic presented the institutional and legal framework governing the status and rights of national minorities in Serbia to Members of the European Parliament within the Intergroup on Traditional Minorities, National Communities and Languages.
“Our country has more than 26 national minorities, which is more than any other European country. We explained to MEPs the complexity of this subject matter and the monumental challenges we face in this area”, said Minister Brnabic.
Minister Brnabic said Serbia provided a successful example for addressing these issues and was constantly striving to improve laws and other instruments in order to enable adequate use of minority languages and scripts, ensure that minorities are represented in political and democratic processes and better define the powers and funding arrangements for national minority matters.
“The very fact that the Government’s Council for National Minorities is presided by the Prime Minister is in itself sufficient proof of the importance the Government attaches to these matters. I have heard some very encouraging words of praise for Serbia’s progress towards EU membership from MEPs and officials in the European Parliament”, Brnabic noted.
The members of Serbia’s delegation delivered a presentation on the institutions of the National Assembly, the Government and the autonomous bodies which, in collaboration with the National Councils of National Minorities, ensure that the rights and freedoms of national minorities in Serbia are respected.
During the visit to Strasbourg, the delegation also discussed European integration issues, Serbia’s progress on the European path and forthcoming activities in the coming months and years. These talks took place within the framework of Chapter 23 negotiations.
26 October 2016
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Ana Brnabic said today that Serbia’s progress in World Bank’s Doing Business Report was attributable primarily to the team work of the Government, the parliament, Ministries and local self-governments, as well as citizens, who had changed their habits thanks to new procedures.
Brnabic said the greatest progress had been observed in property registration and explained a priority for the Government in the coming months would be electronic filing of property tax returns.
“The onus is now upon us to enable citizens to access their file through the Government’s e-government portal, see the amount of their tax liability and pay property tax using the portal”, she said at the National Conference convened to present them World Bank’s Doing Business Report.
She said electronic services were a priority with or without the World Bank index and the focus would be on this in the coming months.
“It is important to enable electronic access to whatever services can be completed in this way in the 21st Century, so as to avoid forcing people to queue for government services and unnecessarily complicating their lives”, the Minister said and noted that similar progress would have been celebrated for a whole month if it had been achieved under previous governments. She said the initial expectations were for Serbia to progress not much more than four to five places on the Doing Business index.
“It is important to cut red tape and implement electronic services in as many procedures as possible”, she said.
She explained the next activity involved electronic health insurance cards and said arrangements were being made for implementing another new practice: namely, health insurance cards would be sent to citizens’ home address to they do not have to physically apply for this document.
25 October 2016
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Ana Brnabic said today that combating shadow economy was a strategic objective for the Government and a complex issue that required joined efforts from all departments and financial and legal institutions. She spoke in a conference on reducing shadow economy organized by Newsweek.
Brnabic said the loss for the state, if collected, would be sufficient to build a new medical centre in every municipality, to pay the salaries of firefighters, police officers and health care professionals and to reconstruct all special and general hospitals.
“We must all take part in the fight against shadow economy in order to reach the goal of cutting its share to about 26 percent by 2020”, the Minister said, adding the key assumption for this was tax ethics, i.e. payment of taxes, registration of workers and issuing of fiscal receipts.
The Minister said the Law on Inspection Supervision (LoIS), which had taken effect in August last year, had already produced tangible results: the number of newly-registered sole traders increased by 18.8 percent compared with the period before the effective date of that Law, coupled with a noticeable reduction in the number of wound-up sole trader businesses by 17.3 percent. She also said the Tax Administration was striving to provide a fair business environment.
“The Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government coordinates the work of all inspectorates in Serbia and this is a novelty introduced by the Law on Inspection Supervision”, Brnabic said, adding that citizens also had a crucial role in the fight against shadow economy.
Brnabic said the LoIS, apart from providing for coordination across all inspectorates, in August last year also granted inspectorates the power to inspect unregistered businesses.
She said a tendering procedure for implementation of the e-Inspector platform would be announced soon and a fiscal lottery event would be held next month to reward the citizens who take fiscal receipts.
She noted the Ministry had passed another important law in addition to the LoIS, namely the Law on General Administrative Procedure, which had been in the pipeline for quite some time. She said this Law introduced the principle of the state as a service for its citizens rather than vice versa and explained this principle would now be enforced.
21 October 2016
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government (MPALSG) Ana Brnabic had a working meeting with the presidents of National Councils of National Minorities, which was also attended by Equality Commissioner Brankica Jankovic and Acting Director of the Office for Human and Minority Rights Suzana Paunovic. The aim of the meeting was to introduce Minister Brnabic to representatives of the National Councils, given the crucial role of these bodies in the preservation of ethnic identity of minorities and improving their status.
“One of the most important activities implemented in the field of protection of national minorities was the passing of the Action Plan on Exercising the Rights of National Minorities, which was envisaged as part of Serbia’s negotiation of Chapter 23 in the EU accession process”, the Minister said and added it was very important that the National Councils are involved in the next stages of Action Plan implementation.
It was noted in the meeting that plans were underway to amend the Law on the Protection of Rights and Freedoms of National Minorities in order to provide for the possibility of including information on ethnicity in the public documents of members of national minorities and in order to ensure proper representation of national minorities in the public sector. The Ministry will continue working on amendments to the Law on National Councils of National Minorities which will involve clear defining of powers of the National Councils and curbing excessive politicization. The focus will be on the financial aspects of this law at all three levels of government: national, provincial and local.
Equality Commissioner Brankica Jankovic thanked the Minister for inviting her to attend this meeting and for creating an opportunity for further improving cooperation. She said Serbia had come a long way in the field of protection of minority rights and praised the willingness of MPALSG to address issues in this field.
“Members of national minorities face certain forms of discrimination, especially members of the Roma national minority”, Jankovic said. She praised good cooperation with the National Councils of National Minorities.
Director of the Office for Human and Minority Rights Suzana Paunovic talked about the activities undertaken to implement the Action Plan on Exercising the Rights of National Minorities and said the AP had gained traction in practice. She said a report on this topic would be presented to the public by the end of October and praised the commitment of the Serbian Government in this process and its cooperation both with the National Councils of National Minorities and with EU Member States.
11 October 2016
Parents can complete all infant registration formalities at maternity units
As they presented the project “Welcome to the World, Baby”, the Ministers attended the registration of a baby by its parents at the maternity unit of the Clinical Hospital Centre “Dr. Dragisa Misovic – Dedinje”. Minister Brnabic and Minister Loncar wished the new mothers to enjoy the first days of their babies’ lives free from administrative procedures, which they were able to do thanks to the new child registration system.
“Public administration reform begins with babies and it is one of the most important projects of the Serbian Government. This is the first step towards modernisation of administration and its transformation into a service for citizens. Babies can now be registered at maternity units, without the need for applying in person at government offices, and the whole procedure takes 15 minutes. Everything is free of charge and a birth certificate and a health insurance card are sent to the address where the baby’s residence is registered. The most important thing is for parents to agree on the baby’s name, because registration begins with the baby’s name. The Government launched this project in April this year and, owing to the tremendous efforts made by all participants in the project, including the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, it will be rolled out across Serbia by the end of the year”, Minister Brnabic said.
Minister of Health, assistant professor Zlatibor Loncar, MD, said this project supported efforts to increase birth rates in Serbia: “Due to availability of electronic registration of babies, parents no longer need to visit government offices and waste time on red tape. The fact that this project is a joint effort of several Ministries and government authorities further adds to its importance”, he said to the press.
Before the reform, it took parents 7 hours on average to complete the bureaucratic procedures, whereas now the whole procedure can be completed at a maternity unit. In addition, the republic-level administrative charge of RSD 300 for registration of address of residence has been waived for new-born children. The health insurance card, which normally costs RSD 400, is also free of charge for new-born children.
The system has already been implemented in Belgrade, in maternity units “Narodni front” and Clinical Hospital Centre “Dragisa Misovic – Dedinje”, as well as in 23 maternity units across Serbia, including: Kragujevac, Backa Topola, Subotica, Kikinda, Cuprija, Cacak, Pancevo, Vrbas, Prokuplje, Leskovac, Prijepolje, Krusevac, Negotin, Sabac, Loznica, Pozarevac, Petrovac na Mlavi, Zrenjanin, Arandjelovac, Valjevo, Novi Sad and Smederevo.
Those maternity units and municipalities that are still not in the system currently lack computers to connect to it. For this reason, the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government and the Cabinet of the Prime Minister donated the equipment needed to overcome this technological obstacle. The project “Welcome to the World, Baby” is planned to be rolled out to all maternity units and municipalities by the end of the year.
The project is supported by the Government of the United Kingdom, the UNHCR, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the Faculty of Organisational Sciences, the B92 Foundation, Komercijalna banka and MediGroup.
FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROJECT:
Aleksandra Švonja (E: firstname.lastname@example.org , phone: 064/8135029)
Marko Pavlović (E: email@example.com , phone: 066/8386921)
4. oktobar 2016.
Presenting the rationale for the Bill amending the Law on Financing of Local Self-Governments in the National Assembly of Serbia, Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Ana Brnabic said the bill would address the weaknesses identified in the current system of local self-government financing.
She said the purpose of enacting the Law was to create a more equitable distribution of revenue between the central government and local self-governments, which will see a lower share of reallocation of tax revenue to fiscal consolidation measures in order to reduce the overall fiscal deficit.
Brnabic said the financial burden local self-governments would have to take in accordance with the Bill would not be RSD 8 billion, as foreseen earlier, but RSD 4.8 billion, which would allow them to function normally. She added this reduction was in line with the requirements of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
She said that, according to the Bill amending the Law on Financing of Local Self-Governments, out of the total salary tax revenue paid to citizens and municipalities, in the future cities would be entitled to 77 percent and municipalities would be entitled to 74 percent instead of the current 80 percent, while Belgrade would see its revenue cut even more: instead of 70 percent, the capital would be entitled to only 66 percent.
Brnabic explained that municipal budgets would on average be cut by 2.65 percent, while the budgets of cities would be cut by 1.68 percent. She said Belgrade would bear the brunt of the cost-cutting measures, as its budget would be cut by RSD 1.9 billion.
She said an important consideration was to ensure that no local self-government sees more than four percent of its revenue cut.
“This is not the end of reform of local self-government financing, which is a very complex issue”, Brnabic said and explained her Ministry was working with the Ministry of Finance to pass a Law on Fees and Charges in order to address the issue of fiscal levies and sort out the functioning of local self-governments.
She also said the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government was drafting amendments to the Law on Local Self-Government in order to increase its efficiency and was also working on a decentralisation strategy together with the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities.
“We have three laws and a strategy that should complete the financing framework for local self-governments and make it sustainable”, Brnabic said.
She said the Serbian Government would continue supporting local self-governments in the implementation of the development projects they had initiated, to help them weather out the funding cuts. She noted the reallocation had been done in a way which ensured that cities and municipalities remain incentivised to promote local economic development.
23 September 2016
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government (MPALSG) Ana Brnabic met in Novi Sad today with the city’s mayor Milos Vucevic and representatives of IT companies. The final part of her visit included also a visit to the Faculty of Technical Sciences in Novi Sad.
“It is a great pleasure for me to be here in Novi Sad, one of the largest IT industry centres in Serbia. I intend to use this opportunity to meet with experts from the Faculty of Technical Sciences (FTS) and people for IT companies. I believe this will have many benefits for my future work”, the Minister said and highlighted the great importance of IT clusters.
Brnabic said this was an excellent opportunity for her to learn about successful practices in information and communication technologies so she could draw on these experiences to prepare a plan for the IT sector.
“I intend to return here in late October, when I will meet with a number of companies and outline a preliminary plan for the IT sector”, Minister Brnabic. Adding she would also visit the FTS, as a true example of successful cooperation between the industry and the academic community in this field.
“I am not alone in these efforts. We are cooperating with the Ministry of Education and other colleagues to jointly improve the IT sector in Serbia”, said the Minister in her closing statement.
The mayor of Novi Sad, Milos Vucevic, said today’s meeting was of great importance for him because such initiatives supported efforts to create readily-employable workers.
20 September 2016
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Ana Brnabic said today that implementation of eGovernment would be a priority for her Ministry and that tendering procedures had already been launched.
“For many years, progress in this field was hindered by the lack of a clear definition of what was meant by the term ‘electronic services’. Now this has been clarified”, Brnabic said in a presentation of the results of AmCham survey “The Fourth Lap Time: Engage for Change”.
She added that electronic databases were now available and said central registries of births, marriages and deaths would also be available electronically by the end of the year. The next stage would be to enable citizens to use public administration services via mobile phones.
“This will further improve citizens’ lives and the economy, which is our ultimate aim”, Brnabic said.
A video of Minister Brnabic’s address is available on the link below.
13 September 2016
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government (MPALSG) Ana Brnabic attended the signing of a Cooperation Agreement for fostering a favourable business and investment climate in Vojvodina between the Government of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED). The Agreement was signed by the President of the Provincial Government Igor Mirovic and the Chairperson of NALED’s Board of Directors Goran Kovacevic.
Minister Brnabic said she hoped the Agreement would bring many tangible results in the development of cities and municipalise, which is a priority for the Serbian Government.
“We do not always have the capacity to address each individual issue and this is why organisations such as NALED and agreements like this one are important: they help local self-governments launch development projects, including through public-private partnership, which involves funding by private investors. The buildings built in this way remain for the citizens and the local community to use, Brnabic said.
Under the Agreement, the Provincial Government and NALED would monitor and direct the implementation of strategic and development-related plans in the municipalities of Vojvodina, support the formation and capacity building of municipal offices for local economic development and provide specialised training to civil servants in the local administration.
There are also plans to introduce e-government and a one-stop shop system through simplification of procedures and to promote the investment potential and competitive advantages of the cities and municipalities of Vojvodina.
7 September 2016
“One of the four priorities of my Ministry will be the implementation of eGovernment to best benefit citizens and businesses and our mission will be ‘Serbia without Public Service Counters’”, Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government (MPALSG) Ana Brnabic said at a celebration event marking the tenth anniversary of the National Alliance for Local Economic Development. She added she expected the Alliance to continue being a critic and partner to the Government of the Republic of Serbia.
Brnabic announced the formation of a Public Administration Academy. She said she expected Serbia to progress on this year’s Doing Business index published by the World Bank and stated the Serbian Government would continue making efforts to improve competitiveness and fight against shadow economy.
21 August 2016
Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Ana Brnabic visited the town of Bajina Basta today to talk to the municipal president Radomir Filipovic and visit the site of the recent landslide..
“The problems here occurred on local roads, the maintenance of which is not funded from the national budget, but from the local one”, the Minister explained and said the municipal president had informed her any prevention efforts would be difficult to put in place in that municipality because as soon as the ground is cleared and the road network is reconnected, new landslides and floods strike the area, which then necessitates reconstruction works.
“This region is highly specific. On the other hand, I have seen many fantastic things. For example, the great entrepreneurial spirit, which is highly conductive to business efforts. Many local inhabitants grow raspberries, blackberries and blueberries and have fish ponds”, Brnabic said and noted it was paramount to enable the local population to work normally and to transport their products to suppliers.
Brnabic also said she had come to visit the municipality and reassure the inhabitants the Government cared about them and worked to address their issues. “Being good at my job is of utmost importance for me, so I intend to frequently visit local self-governments and this will be a major part of my work – to witness local living conditions and to talk to locals. In this way, we will be able to jointly set priorities, including rationalisation of local self-governments and budgets”, she said.
President of the Municipality of Bajina Basta Radomir Filipovic thanked the Minister for coming on a Sunday, only a day after their phone conversation, to visit the works and assess the situation. He said the Minister had passed through most of the destroyed section of the road together with municipal officials. “Our greatest problem is completing the rehabilitation works and reconnecting the community with the school via the local road. If we do not protect our roads, we will continue facing this kind of problems. In a matter of days, the municipality will have to make the second budget revision this year in order to pay for the reconstruction works”, he said and added he hoped the next bout of precipitation would not cause further destruction.