Corruption in Serbia 2007: overview of problems and status of reforms

Type Report
Title Corruption in Serbia 2007: overview of problems and status of reforms
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
Publisher Chr. Michelsen Institute
Corruption is one of the most important problems facing Serbia. While there are some indications
that corruption may have become less rampant in recent years, available evidence suggests that
corruption levels are still high, while trust in key institutions is low. The impact on citizens is
significant: day-to-day corruption can put a substantial strain on the poorest and most marginalized
groups, while frequent scandals involving corruption among highest public officials undermines
people’s, particularly young citizens’, confidence in the future.
Serbia has yet to consolidate its own statehood – it has only recently separated from Montenegro,
and is currently confronting the challenges of Kosovo’s final status. It is a deeply divided society,
experiencing a political deadlock between reformist and anti-reformist forces that has undermined
the reform process. Overcoming it is key to further progress toward EU accession.
Serbia is a country in transition. It is important to tackle corruption systematically to avoid its
becoming institutionalised. However, while good news and perceptions are thin on the ground, we
find that the country is on a positive track in several areas: there are signs of greater control of
public procurement, conflict of interest has begun to be regulated, access to information and
transparency of the government institutions have improved significantly, and the capacity of
enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute organised crime and corruption is increasing. The
burden of rules and procedures has eased for private business, cutting opportunities for corruption.
However, the political nature of the problem is constant, and more ambitious reforms are often
effectively blocked by entrenched elites. A lasting impact on corruption levels cannot be achieved
without sustained political will at the highest levels of government.

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