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Serbia Is Taking Steps To Become A Member Of The European Union

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: EP}



European Parliament Think Tank

Social situation in Serbia

By the end of 2015, Serbia expects to move closer to EU membership by opening its first negotiating chapters of the acquis.

The social dimension, an integral part of the enlargement process, is mainly covered in Chapter 19 (Social Policy and Employment) of the acquis. Serbia has to address major social policy issues to achieve compliance with the EU’s common basic social standards – a condition for successful participation in the single market.


The legacy of Serbia’s past – the rule of socialism, the break-up of Yugoslavia, conflicts between members of different ethnic and political groups, international isolation and delayed transition to a market economy – provides a complex context for the country’s socio-economic progress.

Substantial reforms that started in the 2000s remain incomplete, and have been further delayed by the recent global economic crisis.

Structural bottlenecks, such as a weak business environment, an inflexible labour market and a large and inefficient public enterprise sector, have persistently blocked competitiveness and growth.

All these factors have also delayed Serbia’s social transformation. In the past, the country’s social policy was based ‘less on social rights’ and more on the care of the state, which had a major role in the provision of social security.

The state remained for a long time a ‘dominant service provider’ in the area of the labour market, education and social protection (pension and disability insurance, social assistance to vulnerable groups and social welfare).

To prepare for EU membership and meet its obligation for alignment with the EU’s legal framework, Serbia has had to undertake reforms to shift away from its centralised social policy model.

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[photo credits: Denis Barthel [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, CC BY-SA 1.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons]




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