SELDI Partners from Serbia
Center for Liberal-Democratic Studies (CLDS), Serbia, Non-governmental organisation
Postal address: Kralja Milana 7, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
CLDS is a non-governmental organisation whose projects include a variety of areas: from research projects related to the transition as a whole, to specific issues (corruption and justice), as well as consultations on projects that represent the idea of liberalism and liberal democracy.
The Center for Liberal-Democratic Studies (CLDS) has successfully implemented corruption-related projects in the past, and these projects included surveys, analysis and high-level conferences (where participants included relevant ministers, and the president of Serbia).
In 2001, immediately after Slobodan Milošević had been removed from power, CLDS did a groundbreaking investigation of corruption in Serbia based on two surveys. Survey of the general public was done on a representative sample of 1,600 respondents based on a questionnaire with about 80 questions. The survey of entrepreneurs was done on a representative sample of 600 respondents based on a questionnaire with about 80 questions. Additional information was gathered though in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs. The empirical research was the base for the full report (200 pages) on the legacy of Milošević rule on corruption in Serbia. An international conference was organised in Belgrade with the report as a background material. The book received Sir Antony Fisher International Memory Award for 2002. In 2002 CLDS made a thorough empirical research on corruption in the customs administration in Serbia. The empirical research was the base for the full report (250 pages) on the topic. CLDS assisted in application of the same methodology in research of corruption in the customs administration in Sri Lanka in 2007. In 2004 CLDS made a thorough empirical research on corruption in the judiciary in Serbia in the case of litigations, i.e. commercial courts. The research was based on three surveys. The empirical research was the base for the full report (300 pages) on the topic. CLDS also applied the methodology in Argentina in 2007. In 2007 CLDS repeated a groundbreaking investigation of corruption in Serbia from 2001. In 2007 CLDS published a monograph “Corruption: An Economic Analysis” written by Boris Begović, CLDS member. This 600 pages monograph is a survey of the theory of corruption and methodology of corruption research.
Forum of Civic Action FORCA Pozega, Serbia, Non profit organisation
Postal address: Karadjordjeva street 3, 31210 Požega, Serbia
During the twelve years of its existence FORCA developed into an organisation, which represents the backbone of the third sector in Western Serbia. Since 2010, a representative of NGO FORCA Pozega is a member of the Local Council for the Fight against Corruption. This council suggested local action plan against corruption, which was adopted by the Municipal Assembly of Pozega. By this, the municipality of Pozega became the first municipality in Serbia, which systematically faces problems in the field of corruption, to have developed an action plan to counter corruption. From 2005 to 2007 NGO FORCA was a member of the Coalition for Supervision of Public Finances. The mission of the Coalition was raising the level of transparency of public finance, fiscal accountability and participation of the citizens in the creation and monitoring of public policies.
NGO FORCA has implemented several large projects in the field of good governance and anti-corruption. Examples include “Core grupa” - action to further develop capacity of civil society in the fight against corruption and strengthen the local institutions in eleven cities of Western Serbia and Sandzak. With support from the EU’s cross-border programme NGO FORCA implemented the project "Fostering economic development through enhancing information technology and institutional capacity building of local governments". The main objective of the action was to improve social and economic cohesion of municipalities of Andrijevica and Kolašin in Montengro and Arilje and Požega in Serbia and social and institutional infrastructure and capacity.
Belgrade Centre for Security Policy
Postal address: Djure Jaksica 6/2, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
One of BCSP’s main topics is accountability of security institutions, with particular focus on anti-corruption. BCSP has so far systematically mapped corruption risks in the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces, Ministry of Interior and the Security Information Agency, in a project funded by Anti-Corruption Agency of Serbia (ACAS). Building upon that, it focused on police corruption and building capacities of local CSOs to investigate this problem at the local level in the EU-funded project: A-COP: Civil Society against Police Corruption. It has also continued to comprehensively monitor implementation of anti-corruption policies and integrity building in security institutions, as well as strengthening cooperation with independent state institutions overseeing the work of security actors in the framework of the project Partnership for Integrity in Security Sector, funded by USAID. A major recognition of BCSP’s expertise in this field is the fact that it was selected as a country assessor for Serbia in both Transparency International Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index surveys that have taken place so far (2012, 2014). BCSP has also been selected to perform the duty of Citizens’ Overseer of Public Procurement, which is a mechanism established in Serbia to increase transparency of, and reduce corruption risk in public procurement.
Educational centre - Krusevac
Postal address: Prokupacka 55, 37000 Krusevac, Serbia
In the past years, ECK has implemented more than 30 projects with youth at the local level, with the participation of over 800 youth, has also organized 10 international youth camps, participated in 12 international youth exchanges and has initiated or participated in several projects at the national level, which are dealing with youth policy and the active participation of youth. In the lack of the program for youth in Serbia carried out by the National Agency, the European Commission has in the year of 2005 started the process of accreditation of the organizations with the mandate to support and build the capacity of smaller youth organizations within their country. ECK has since the year of 2006 been accredited for the European Voluntary Service (an organization which is able to send their members to the long-term volunteering abroad, to coordinate the exchanges, and to host foreign volunteers) and starting from the year of 2008 the ECK is able to act as The Contact Point for Serbia in the framework of the European Commission - Youth in Action Program. In the framework of the European Commission’s program “Youth in Action”, the ECK has realized or participated as a partner organization of 12 international youth exchanges. Under The European Voluntary Service, ECK has hosted and engaged twelve foreign volunteers so far.
Postal address: Obrenoviceva 59/4/44, Nis, Serbia
Improving communication between citizens and government representatives and creating new mechanisms for advocating processes, are the topics Proaktiv has been working on since its establishment. The project “My Councilor” is focused on the same topic (www.mojodbornik.rs). In the area of advocacy, the organisation has realized promotional campaigns for the increased participation of the public in the process of designing budgets of local self-governments.
The Challenge of Corruption
Corruption is widespread and entrenched in Serbia and eradicating it requires effective and independent institutions which can go after even the most powerful official. i.e. Serbian political elite. Currently, it appears that prosecutors and courts are still waiting for the politicians’ approval for virtually every move. In addition, many corruption cases are being leaked to the media, so that fight against corruption sometimes appears to be nothing more than media lynch and/or PR opportunity for selected politicians. Although the role of media in anticorruption efforts is crucial, a strict delimitation needs to be drawn on what kind of reporting is appropriate and when the basic ethical norms are violated.
Over the last ten years, each government stressed the importance of fighting corruption, but only a few specific results were achieved. In the first few years since 2000, the appropriate legal framework was set (regarding the public procurement process, prevention of the conflict of interest, campaign financing etc.), but the results of those efforts are limited. In addition, some liberalization of economic activities took place (such as foreign trade liberalization) which reduced the corruption in some areas, such as Customs Administration. However, many parts of the public sector are still unreformed and ample room for corruption remains, especially in areas such as public enterprises, state owned banks, health services provision etc. Some cases of privatization seem to include corruption and, in addition, the money laundering provisions were not respected in the privatization process. In total, there is a list of 24 privatization cases which the government should examine, according to the EC suggestion.
Combating corruption was declared the top priority by the government elected six months ago, together with the EU accession. The good thing is that effective combating corruption becomes a precondition for the next steps of the EU accession. Several high profile cases have been initiated and some, previously “untouchable” people have been indicted/arrested. However, Serbian institutions are week, judiciary is still not independent from politics and it is still very difficult to assess whether the anti-corruption effort is durable and sustainable or is it just a one-off effort targeted at the opposition parties and improving political ratings.