Creating Reform Coalition from Business, NGO and Media Leaders in Serbia

Dátum: 02.11.2005

Project Manager: INEKO – Institute for Economic and Social Reforms, Bratislava, Slovakia
Project Partner: ESPI Institut, Belgrade, Serbia
Note: As of August 2006, ESPI replaced CLDS as the project’s partner due to CLDS’ withdrawal from cooperation
Sponsor: SlovakAid (Slovak government’s Official Development Assistance, administered by NPOA )
Duration: Oct 2005 – Jan 2008
Place of the Project: Belgrade, Serbia
Total Budget: Sk 3.5mil.

The goal of the project is to improve the efficiency of Serbian labour market and quality of its business environment as key elements for raising the country’s economic growth and reducing its poverty. It will do so by creating reform coalition from among the business leaders, partner think-tank experts and journalists who will monitor and comment on labour market and business climate reforms on a regular basis. Such a pooled pressure for reforms is likely to make a more effective push on government to change legislation towards a more economic growth- and employment-friendly environment.

While Serbian governments have been praised by foreign experts for reaching basic macroeconomic stabilization, most of structural reforms have lagged. International financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank continue to emphasize the need for the improved business climate rules as a basic precondition for higher growth of economy and employment. Currently, about a third of the country workforce is employed in informal economy and over 13% unemployed.

In order to achieve higher pro-reform drive, a new Alliance of local think-tank experts and business representatives will be created in Serbia. They will form an informal group that will monitor the changes in the Serbian labour and business environment in two main ways: 1) adopting tools used successfully for such purposes in Slovakia, such as Index of Business Environment, the best essay competition and Report on the State of Labour Market in Serbia, 2) comment and analyze any government proposals related to the labour reforms and business rules by pooling members’ opinions as well as relying on Slovakia’s own experiences with similar reforms, as provided by Slovak experts by email or phone. Furthermore, the findings of the Report will be presented at the Labour Market Reform Conference. A group of Slovak reformers will also give lectures at the event.

INEKO as an implementing institution will provide training on setting up such an Alliance, including management, research and fundraising. Also, as complimentary part of the project, Serbian journalists, journalism students as well as NGO experts will receive training how to improve their skills when covering/analyzing business reform issues, in both ethics and economics. Again, INEKO successfully ran a project monitoring ethics and content of main dailies and TV news programs for more than two years.

The success of the project will be measured by several means. The goal, the improved quality of labour market and business environment can be checked against the project-created Index results, coming out on a quarterly basis . To gauge the contribution of the project itself on the changes, surveys of the top policymakers, business representatives and foreign experts residing in Serbia (embassies, UNDP, IMF) will be carried out. To check the outputs, the partners will provide the number of companies involved in the Alliance, number of publications on Serbian labour market distributed, number of participants in trainings and the Conference against the goals set (50 Alliance members, 40 journalism trainees, 60 Conference participants). Also, over the duration of the project 60 media articles will appear discussing the quality of Serbian labour market and business climate.

Schedule of Activities:

(BAS = Business Alliance of Serbia)

Time Activity
Sept 06 transferring project know-how
Sept-Nov Recruiting new members for BAS, Preparing Index
End Nov Sending and collecting Index questionnaires, calculating Index
Late Dec PROGRESS Report 1 to donor
5 days in mid January 07
  • First Assembly of Serbian Business Alliance, INEKO reps attendance
  • Agreement on statues, 2007 program
  • First Index numbers published
2 weeks February
  • Training for Serbian Labour Market Report 2007 work
  • Training of Journalists, J.Students, Think-Tankers
Early March Deadline for essay competition
Late March PROGRESS Report 2 to donor
April Setting up Conference organization staff, speakers’ list
Mid April Index for 1st quarter 07 published
Announcing essay competition winners
April-June Work on chapters of Report
Also, commenting on labour market and business reforms throughout the year (press events, interviews, media articles)
June Preparing Index for new quarter
Late June PROGRESS Report 3
2nd week in July Submission of Draft Labour Market Report to INEKO for comments
Mid July Index 2nd quarter published
Early Sept Printing Report
Sept Preparing Index for new quarter
Late Sept PROGRESS Report 4
mid Oct Conference on Report in Belgrade
-announcing 3rd quarter index
Nov-Dec Research results dissemination
Nov Surveying local players for project’s impact
January 08
  • Second Assembly of Serbian Business Alliance, INEKO reps attendance
  • Agreement on statues, 2008 program
  • FINAL Reporting on project

Other SlovakAid projects carried out by INEKO: Ukraine


Gabriel Sipos, INEKO,, tel.+421.2.5341 1020