Strategic document, drafted with the support of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, defines Serbia’s policy to combat corruption over the next five years and aims at eliminating corruption as an obstacle to the economic, social and democratic development of the Republic of Serbia. The strategy covers, among others, the areas of judiciary and police.
The concept and the constituent elements of corruption still have not been defined in a unique and uniform manner. A definition that have been used in the Republic of Serbia so far, that was prescribed by the Law on the Anti-Corruption Agency (“Official Gazette of the RS”, No. 97/08 53/10 and 66/11 – amended by a decision of the Constitutional Court), defines corruption as a relation based on abuse of an official or social position or influence, in the public or private sector, aimed at gaining personal benefit, benefit for others. If compared to the practice in the world, corruption is most often understood as abuse of power for private gain. This concept is used in the United Nations Global Program against Corruption, which was accepted in the European Union practice (particularly mentioned in the Communication of the European Union on Fighting Corruption from 2011). The Transparency International1 Corruption Perception Index shows how widespread this problem is, according to which Serbia was 80th out of 176 countries in 2012.
The first National Anti-Corruption Strategy in the Republic of Serbia (“Official Gazette of the RS”, No. 109/05) was adopted in 2005 (hereinafter referred to as the Strategy 2005), and Action Plan was adopted in 2006. The Report of ACA for 2012 on the implementation of the Strategy 2005 shows that most objectives were achieved in the field of establishing a legal and institutional framework for preventing and combating corruption, preventing conflict of interest in the public sector, involving in the regional and international fight against corruption, as well as establishing ethical standards and transparent financing of political parties. On the other hand, certain issues that are the subject of the strategic document are not at all, or only partly resolved. As an example may be given the judiciary reform that is still not completed in a satisfactory manner; privatization and public procurement processes that still raise concern in terms of corruption; insufficient transparency of the media ownership and possibility of undue influence on the editorial policy; insufficient involvement of the public in the legislative process and budget planning, etc. The ACA Report also defines two types of problems and challenges in the process of monitoring of the implementation of the Strategy 2005. Firstly, the process of collecting information and reports from the parties obliged for the Action Plan 2006 faced many difficulties because obliged parties did not meet their legal duty to report in a timely and complete manner. Secondly, the inconsistent content of the Strategy 2005 and Action Plan 2006 caused confusion about which activities should be undertaken and under whose competence.
There is a strong awareness and political will in the Republic of Serbia to make substantial progress in the fight against corruption with due respect of democratic values, the rule of law and protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms. This was used as the basis for the adoption of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2013-2018 (hereinafter referred to as the Strategy), whereas specific measures and activities for its implementation will be provided for in the accompanying Action Plan.