We need a real National Strategy for the fight against corruption in Serbia, not a fictitious one – One of the most significant issues in Serbia is corruption, especially political corruption at a high level; this is widely acknowledged. The government is making efforts to demonstrate its commitment to combating corruption, and one of the ways it does so is through the National Strategy for the fight against corruption in Serbia. The previous National Strategy was adopted for the period from 2013 to 2018. Since 2018, Serbia has not had a National strategy. In April of this year, the country initiated the drafting of the National Strategy for the fight against corruption in Serbia for the period from 2023 to 2028. Five civil society organizations (CSOs) are also involved in the drafting process, including the Institute for Corruption Research Kareja. Only two of these CSOs are actively participating (Kareja and TS), while the other three do not attend meetings.
Apart from the issue of the absence of CSOs, a much more significant problem is that the drafting process is methodologically flawed, and it lacks a proper analysis of the previous National Strategy and its impact on the (non)prevention of corruption. There is also a notable absence of a comprehensive state analysis of corruption in Serbia. Furthermore, the process persistently avoids addressing the most dangerous form of political corruption.
Aim of the intervention:
- Stronger, more sustainable, and more dynamic CSOs in Serbia;
- Increased effectiveness of the influence of citizens on changes through CSOs that promote the fight against corruption, especially against political corruption, in connection with the drafting of the text of the Draft National Strategy;
- Increased public awareness of the importance of active participation of civil society in the fight against corruption as a significant development initiative in Serbia as part of the Western Balkans.
- The wider public in Serbia is aware of the importance of adequate national strategies for the fight against corruption.
- The NGO sector and the media.
- The scientific and anti-corruption community.
- The working group for drafting the National Draft strategies.
- Decision-makers (Ministry of Justice and government).
1 – The gathering of CSOs (including representatives from BIRODI and TS from Belgrade, BUM Bečej, CEMA Čačak, PAKT Loznica, Užice Center for Democracy, Užice, Center for Integrity Niš) and several independent anti-corruption agency experts. This gathering aims to establish an informal body for an alternative approach to drafting the National Strategy, with the intention that this body will continue monitoring the development, adoption, and implementation of the National Strategy even after the conclusion of this intervention.
2 – Introduction of the informal group to the observed shortcomings and all the activities undertaken so far in connection with Call Reference No: SB SRB AD 01/22 5 (some CSOs have already met regarding this).
3 – The first working (video) meeting of the informal body.
4 – Conducting working meetings (both video and in-person).
5 – Inclusion of the mentioned CSOs in subgroups for drafting. Three attendances at the meetings are planned, with budget allocation for three trips from the interior to Belgrade.
6 – Obtaining the opinion of the scientific community.
7 – Contacting and engaging the media with which we have cooperation and publishing two journalistic texts.
8 – Collection of relevant documentation.
9 – Preparation of an alternative report in a concise format. The content of the report will include an analysis of the previous National Strategy’s application, its impact on corruption, an analysis of the state of corruption, along with remarks and proposals. We have already initiated the production of the alternative report.
10 – Prepress and minimal design.
11 – Printing of reports and publication in the “e” version.
12 – Delivery of the alternative report to decision-makers, the media, and the interested public.
13 – Posts on Facebook.
14 – Holding a press conference.
15 – Continuous monitoring of the National Strategy until its adoption.