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Germany grants EUR 4 million for public administration reform

July 07 2021 | Belgrade

Germany grants EUR 4 million for public administration reform

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović, Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Marija Obradović, and representative of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) Stephan Heieck have signed today the Agreement on the implementation of the project ‘Support to Public Administration Reform in the EU Accession Process’.

The Agreement worth EUR 4 million represents the continuation of cooperation between Serbia and Germany on public administration reform and support to European integration. The agreement signing ceremony has also been attended by the German Ambassador to Belgrade, Thomas Schieb.

Minister Obradović has said that the signing of the agreement is another step which confirms Serbia’s orientation towards the EU and a wish to become a member of the European family.

She has assessed that cooperation with GIZ has so far been very fruitful, particularly in the area of public administration reform, and that, through the realisation of numerous joint projects, Serbia has shown how much it appreciates Germany’s readiness to provide support to Serbia in the EU accession negotiations.

According to her, the German Government is currently realising projects in Serbia worth EUR 2 billion.

“This is a proof of friendship and trust, and a strong backbone for future challenges”, said Obradović, stressing the importance of Germany’s support to realising the vision of the new public administration reform strategy for the period 2020–2030.

She has noted that public administration reform has been ongoing for years, and that the current government, as well as all previous governments since 2012, have invested a lot of energy in that process.

“This is the area where citizens can feel significant improvements, and I am very proud of the public administration’s response to the pandemic crisis”, said the Minister.

She has added that the Agreement foresees that the focus of activities by September 2023 should be on strengthening institutions of public administration and local self-government, and on increasing the participation of the civil society in creating local development plans.

“As before, this GIZ project will provide support to the professionalisation of the civil servant system, optimisation and digitalisation of procedures and services, where all activities will be aimed at meeting the preconditions for better management of the EU accession process”, stated Obradović.

Joksimović has expressed satisfaction at the fact that the agreement was signed, stressing that this marks the continuation of a successful project initiated in 2012, through which Germany has shown that it considers Serbia as not only an important partner in bilateral relations, but also as a serious EU candidate, and that it provides support to accession negotiations.

“I believe that the results we have achieved so far have convinced Germany to give us additional support by the end of the year for the continuation of the accession process and more concrete and visible steps in line with the principles of the new methodology”, stated Joksimović.

Ambassador Schieb has noted that public administration is an important segment of the preparation for the EU accession process and that the goal is to increase the efficiency, transparency and professionalism of public administration and to establish objective criteria for employment.

“Furthermore, the goal is for the citizens to be more involved in drafting laws and developing plans at the local level, and for them to be able to express their opinions at online portals, that is to say – for the public administration to be better prepared for the EU accession process”, said Schieb.

He has emphasised that the GIZ project is a concrete example of Germany’s support to Serbia and its government on the road to EU membership, recalling that Serbia has adopted and accepted the new enlargement methodology.

“It is our great pleasure to be able to continue this cooperation. Germany will continue to provide support to Serbia on its European path, and we hope that the efforts now devoted will yield concrete results throughout the year”, stated Schieb.

The Agreement focuses on improving the quality and access to services for citizens and businesses at the national and local level.

This implies the implementation of an innovative approach to creating and providing services, as well as their standardisation through the establishment of single administrative points.

The support also covers the Serbian Government’s project ‘e-Paper’ aimed at transparent and effective provision of services.
Source: Tanjug

Photo: Tanjug and GIZ