The European Union aid to the public administration reform in Serbia has been going on since 2000, with over 200 million Euro invested in education, development of electronic services, managing public finances, and also in the improvement of work of local self-governments and independent institutions, the head of the EU Delegation in Serbia Sem Fabrizi and the country's Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic have said in a joint interview on Friday.
"The public administration reform is one of the key elements of Serbia's accession to the EU. In 2014, it became a main topic in the negotiations. That reform is important simply because it represents a clear point of interaction between people and authorities," the top EU diplomat in Belgrade said.
He added that a transparent, fast and professional public administration in all areas was crucially important.
"The last but not least, an efficient public administration makes it easier for Serbia to implement the EU legislation and is important for the country's future path towards the bloc. Besides, it shows how the funds the Union gives Serbia every year is spent – which the public administration is substantially important for."
He added that in the last three years, the Union started an important project, Sector Reform Contract for budget support, to help further improvement of the public administration.
"That is 80 million Euro grant in direct budget support to Serbia's authorities," Fabrizi said.
"In the last 20 year," he added, "we gave Serbia 210 million Euro for the public administration reform; 80 million in the last three years alone for the sector budget support. Besides, there are TAIPEX and Twinning instruments and the possibility to use international organisations like SIGMA for monitoring the reform's progress. These are three instruments we use to support Serbia's public administration reform."
Speaking of the significance of the EU support, Ruzic said it's was important not only financially but also in the sense of experience.
"It is also important that we conduct the public administration reform in line with democratic principles and values existing in the European democracies", Ruzic added.