The Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government of the Republic of Serbia, Branko Ružić, today announced the beginning of the drafting of the Public Administration Reform Strategy for the period 2021-2030, emphasizing that the focus was on the interest of citizens.

He pointed out that the goal of the strategy was to improve the initiation of public policies, management of public finances and human resources, as well as to enable better provision of services to citizens.

“The interest of the citizens is and must be the focus of our work, whereby that is also the focus of the new Strategy”. “Let’s stop thinking in accordance with capacities, in accordance with experience, but move from that point and take a direction of action that will be in accordance with the needs of citizens”, said the Minister.

Ružić added that there were already numerous results and better laws, such as the Law on General Administrative Procedure, the Law on Inspection Supervision, the Law on Electronic Government, as well as simpler procedures and services that were closer to the citizens.

As an example, he cited the “Baby, Welcome to the World” project and a number of electronic services, unique administrative points such as the one opened in Lazarevac last month, a large number of digitized services available with a click on the eGovernment Portal.

“It is significant for us to continue this trend, to continue to put the citizen at the centre of the reform, and to enable contact with the state to be as simple and pleasant as possible for each individual”, he indicated.

He added that the continuation of the reforms was based on the principle that citizens were not couriers of the state, but that the state should be at the service of all citizens.

He added that we initiated that reform with the adoption of the Law on General Administrative Procedure, where it was underlined that institutions were the ones that should exchange data from official records among themselves and refrain from sending citizens from one counter to another to collect their documents.

“The focus is on the citizen from the point of view of continuing the further opening and greater transparency of the administration, legislative processes and the process of creating public policy documents, where our goal is to ask citizens at any time during the process about their needs or their satisfaction with service provided”. More specifically, with the Law on State Administration, we have obliged state authorities to hold public consultations while a Draft Law is being written, not only when it is ready. Furthermore, with the Law on Local Self-Government, we have enabled citizens to say where and what they would like to be built”, stated the Minister.

He added that the introduction of a Service Provision Policy in the new Strategy was in fact a verification of all legislative reforms in reality: whether what we have designed, simplified or digitized is tailored to the needs of the citizens.

“Only when we get an answer from the field, shall we be able to correct mistakes, check whether we have planned well, or continue certain reforms if it has be proven to be good in practice. That is how we are creating an Administration tailored to all of us”, he explained.

He added that no activity was possible without dedicated professionals in the administration.

“That is why we have dedicated a large part of our work to arranging human resource management, in order to ensure that we employ people with quality, whereby we also motivate, evaluate and control their work, hence retaining the professionals”, he concluded.

Head of Cooperation at Delegation of the European Union to Serbia Yngve Engstrom stated that the introduction of a modern public administration is a precondition for democratic governance, based on the principles of the rule of law, but also a precondition for economic development.

He praised the public administration reform in Serbia so far, which has achieved good results in the areas of public policies, human resources, public financial management and service delivery, and thus has a leading position in the region. He added that the EU shall continue to support public administration reforms in Serbia.

Assistant Minister of European Integration Branko Budimir said that public administration reform was a basic form of reform that represented a prerequisite for the effective implementation of all other reforms and strategies”, and that it was a priority area in the process of joining the EU.

Assistant Minister of Finance Verica Ignjatović reminded that the Public Financial Management Reform Programme, as part of public administration reforms, was adopted in 2015.

“In all segments covered by public finance reform, progress has been made such as improving the credibility of macroeconomic forecasts, medium-term planning of budget users, improving programme budgeting, transforming the tax administration, improving financial control of public funds, public procurement and improving supervision and control over public funds”, she explained.

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