Serbian NGOs Attack Political Hires in Public Sector

A coalition of NGOs in Serbia have come together to launch an attack on croneyism and political hires in the public sector in Serbia, which they describe as endemic.


The Center for Democracy, the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights and the Initiative for Local Development in Kraljevo have launched a joint campaign, “Stop the political employment”, aimed at monitoring the Strategy for Combating Corruption in employment at national and local level.

The government’s strategy, adopted in 2013, proscribes measures for fighting corruption, conflict of interest and politically influenced employment in public sector.

Natasa Vuckovic, of the Foundation Centre for Democracy, said on Wednesday that corruption in employment in the public sector has a much broader impact on society than was evident at first glance.

“Corruption in employment violates the rights to equal access to job opportunities and the right to advancement on merit, which leads to an even greater deepening of social differences,” Vuckovic told a press conference on July 15.

In January 2014, the government temporarily banned new hires in the public sector due the economic crisis. However, research published by the newspaper Danas shows that around 20,000 people were taken on after the ban, which indicates possible corruption.

Mirjana Prodanovic, from Initiative for Local Development in Kraljevo, said their main objective was to establish whether the current regulatory framework is working.

“We need to analyze the regulatory framework and to see what the results are and whether the laws are being applied in the right way,” Prodanovic said.

She added that the role of civil society and citizens in the fight against corruption was crucial. The final results of the research will be published in February 2016.

Serbia’s national agency on corruption states that corruption in employment occurs in all areas, and is most prominent in education, health and the administration.

According to research by the watchdog Transparency International for 2014, Serbia occupies 78th place on a list of 175 countries in terms of corruption. Its level of corruption is 41 on a scale of 0 to 100.

That places Serbia among countries with widespread corruption. The 2014 result is worse than in 2013 when Serbia was in 72nd place out of 177 countries.

Sasa Dragojlo BIRN Belgrade
16 July 2015