From 2001 - 2015, USAID has invested more than $728 million to stimulate economic growth, strengthen the justice system, and promote good governance in Serbia. That is more than 80 percent of the $887 million the U.S. Government has provided in assistance. USAID has helped local governments be more responsive to their citizens and municipalities to be more business-friendly, attracting greater investments. USAID has fostered reforms that have helped Serbia's banking sector produce the highest growth in the region. It has worked with courts to make them more transparent and efficient. Its support has produced a more professional and financially viable independent media. USAID's programs continue to promote democratic governance and sustained economic growth while building the capacity of key counterparts at the national and local levels to move the country toward lasting political and economic stability.
Despite having gained European Union (EU) candidate status in March 2012, Serbia’s current reform path is not yet irreversible. Elections in 2012 resulted in a new government led by the Serbian Progressive Party which had never held power before. Crucially, the new government reaffirmed its support for Serbia’s EU membership, a goal that is central to the U.S. vision of a unified, free and peaceful Europe. However, the difficult relationship between Serbia and Kosovo remains an impediment to Belgrade’s EU accession aspirations and a threat to regional peace and security. Disparities between the central and peripheral regions of Serbia are another stumbling block. The Bosniak-majority Sandžak region and the Albanian-majority communities in South Serbia are less developed than the rest of the country and have complex problems requiring comprehensive solutions involving the international community. The economic situation in Serbia poses yet another risk to the country’s political stability. Although Serbia has taken steps to establish a functioning market economy, and has achieved a degree of macroeconomic stability, economic growth has been uneven in recent years. While the new Government of Serbia initially demonstrated the political will to tackle critical barriers to economic growth in the business-enabling environment, it faces a challenging, long-term task to increase Serbia’s competitiveness during the current Eurozone crisis.
Last updated: May 11, 2016