• 2020-12-17

Serbia Fails to Introduce Measures to Assist Those Most Vulnerable

Executive Director of the FCD asks a few questions of the Prime Minister

The National Convention on the EU held a plenary session on 17 December 2020, the main topic of which was rule of law. The following representatives of the Government spoke at the plenary session: Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, Speaker of the National Assembly Ivica Dačić, Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović, Minister of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue Gordana Čomić, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior. Srđan Majstorović, Coordinator of the Intersectoral Working Group for Political Criteria, Jovana Spremo, Coordinator of the Working Group for Chapter 23 and Bojana Selaković from Civic Initiatives, all spoke on behalf of the Convention. The second session was dedicated to assessing the effect of the institutional crisis on socio-economic well-being, public health and environmental protection.

Nataša Vučković, Executive Director of FCD, spoke on behalf of the Working Group for Chapter 19 - Social Policy and Employment at the plenary session. Upon welcoming the announcement made by the President of the National Assembly, on plans to hold an upcoming Assembly plenary session to discuss this year's Report of the European Commission for Serbia, she inquired as to why no such session had been held since 2014. She reminded that in 2014, the Resolution on the Role of the National Assembly in Accession Negotiations envisages the holding of plenary sessions twice a year to discuss progress in the negotiations. As regards socio-economic indicators, she highlighted that the poverty structure imposes upon the RS Government to make the battle against poverty one of its top priorities, and that unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s statement failed to place any emphasis on this issue.

“Along with the good measures introduced to support legal entities, the Government failed to include supportive measures for the most vulnerable, in particular, those who were first left unemployed by the crisis, such as temporary and occasional workers, workers in the informal economy, and there is also the fact that Serbia is one of the few countries that failed to assist vulnerable families in any meaningful way." This pandemic and the threat to many jobs raises issues concerning the protection of social rights and institutional capacities, Vučković pointed out. “In the matter concerning the efficiency of institutions relevant to socio-economic issues, one cannot help but question how the Government intends to strengthen the Labour Inspectorate, which, in terms of authority and number of inspectors and budget, cannot meet current demands, especially when OH&S have been set as priorities necessary to maintaining economic activity during the pandemic."

Vučković asked the Prime Minister about the Government’s work plan toward fulfilling the Action Plan for Chapter 19, adopted by the Government in May of this year. “According to an announcement made by the President of Serbia, this is a government with a very short mandate. How do you intend to meet all the deadlines provided for in the Action Plan, which imposes a broad legislative initiative and the adoption of numerous strategies i.e., the National Employment Strategy, National Gender Equality Strategy, National Social Welfare Protection Strategy, etc.?"

Center for Democracy Foundation