Serbian MPs gain an insight into Swiss best practice

Article, 15.09.2014

Serbian MPs are visiting Bern to meet with lawmakers. The focus of the discussions is on Swiss best practice in the field of communication and financial oversight. The meeting is part of an SDC project in partnership with the Serbian National Assembly and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Serbian delegation talks with Christa Markwalder, Vice President of the Swiss National Council.
The Serbian delegation talks with Christa Markwalder, Vice President of the Swiss National Council, 16 September 2014. © SDC

In 2012, Serbia became a candidate country for accession to the European Union. For this accession to take place, it is of paramount importance that Serbia has a properly functioning parliament and adopts laws in line with European standards. To this end, Serbian MPs are visiting Switzerland to gain an insight into the best practice of specialists working at the cantonal and federal levels. The UNDP project, developed in partnership with the Serbian National Assembly, is being funded by the SDC.

Communication and oversight of public finances

The Serbian delegation will be briefed on two themes central to best practice in the field of public finances: communication with the public and financial oversight. Switzerland's Parliamentary Services will present how they communicate these matters and the Serbian MPs will also meet with specialists in financial oversight and fighting corruption such as the cantonal heads of finance and the Control Committees of the Federal Parliament, and with members of the Federal Department of Finance, the Swiss Federal Audit Office and the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland.

One million Swiss francs

The project began in August 2012 and will run for three years. The total cost, which is being shared between the UNDP and the SDC, amounts to CHF 1,051,004. The SDC is contributing the larger share with a sum of one million Swiss francs. The project aims to strengthen the oversight and transparency of the Serbian parliament overall through three main goals:

  1. Strengthening the oversight functions of the Serbian parliament by creating review bodies constituted from the control committees and control mechanisms
  2. Improving communication with the public
  3. Developing an internet-based system of information to monitor the expenditure of public funds

Democracy, economy and energy

Group photo of the Serbian delegation in the Federal Palace with Christa Markwalder in the center, Vice President of the Swiss National Council.
Group photo of the Serbian delegation in the Federal Palace with Christa Markwalder (center), Vice President of the Swiss National Council, 16 September 2014. © SDC

In addition to supporting the transition to democracy and governance, Swiss cooperation is active in two other areas – the economy and energy – to accelerate Serbia's integration into the European Union. The SDC, in cooperation with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), encourages the export of Serbian goods and services and stimulates a competitive environment for small and medium-sized enterprises. SECO is involved in the energy sector by promoting the introduction of new technology and a better use of renewable energy.