Sweden and Serbia have strong and long-standing cooperation in development of civil society, local government and strengthening democracy. It is really important for Serbia to strengthen capacities in order to achieve European Union standards on democracy, human rights and local administration and to apply these standards at the national level.

Civil society has an important role in monitoring and promotion of the necessary reform process. Sweden provides additional funds and continues cooperation with the Belgrade Open School (BOS), the Olof Palme Center (OPC) and the Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability (CRTA) all in order to support Serbian government to conduct reform process and promote democratization, transparency and accountability, as well as EU integration process, said the Ambassador of Sweden in Serbia, Mr Jan Lundin. He added that the Sweden’s continued assistance to civil society organizations amounts to around 3 million euros.

Recognizing the importance of the development of local government in Serbia, Sweden approved additional financial assistance for the development of local administrations in Serbia, through the project “Support to Local Self-Governments in Serbia on the Rad to EU Accession“ implemented by Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SKGO). The total value of the additional contract is around 1.2 million euros.

Having in mind that public procurement has a significant share in the Serbian economy, it is very important to continuously improve not only the legislation, but also the system and ways in which public procurement are conducted in order to ensure better competitiveness. That is why the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) signed an agreement with the National Association for Local Economic Development (NALED) on support in implementation of the project "Efficient Public Procurement in the Service of Economic Development" with a total budget of 1.36 million euros.

The aim of the project is to promote democratic governance by supporting the establishment of a transparent and accountable public procurement and oversight system, improving public financial management and fostering a private sector-led growth, said Mr Ola Andersson, Head of the Development Cooperation Section at the Swedish Embassy. He added that special attention will be paid to the introduction of environmental criteria in public procurement procedures in order to develop capacities for the so-called "green procurement" which includes energy efficiency. Also, trainings for public procurement officers at the local level will be conducted.

The total value of additional support that Sweden provides to Serbia in the projects mentioned above is around 5.5 million euros. As one of the largest bilateral donors, Sweden is helping Serbia to move closer to the EU and achieve its standards by providing more than 12 million euros per year.

Source: Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden in Belgrade press release