The launching ceremony of the new Cooperation Strategy Serbia 2018-2021 was held on Thursday, April 19th in Belgrade.
Numerous representatives from the public administration, donor community, diplomacy, civil society, business and media were among guests in the crowded Dorćol Platz hall. Distinguished representatives of the Republic of Serbia and Swiss Confederation participated in two panel discussions where they talked about the Swiss-Serbia bilateral cooperation, results that were achieved so far and plans the next four years. A short movie about some of program beneficiaries and their achievements through Swiss bilateral support was presented, followed with the short presentation of the strategic document. The Strategy launch was created both as formal and informal event, accompanied by music program and social gathering of the Swiss and Serbian cooperation partners.
In his statement to the Serbian media H.E. Philippe Guex, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Republic of Serbia stated: “Europe is the home of Swiss citizens and Serbian citizens. Europe would not be Europe without Western Balkans, without Serbia. Switzerland and Serbia are neighbors and what do our citizens ask from us? They ask to live in peace, to live in security and to have decent living standards. To achieve this goal, it is the moral responsibility of the wealthiest countries in Europe, like Switzerland, to give a little help to its neighbors. This is the reason why Switzerland is so much committed in Serbia in terms of development cooperation. On top of that, Switzerland has very large Serbian diaspora, almost 200 000 people who are living, working and paying taxes in Switzerland. They are actually contributing to the prosperity of our country. This strong commitment of Switzerland in Serbia is also a recognition sign of the solidarity with Serbian diaspora in Switzerland.”
Ivan Bošnjak, State Secretary of the Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government said that “the way in which the Swiss Development Agency and the Swiss Embassy were giving their support was tailored according to our needs. As the needs changed, Swiss support has been adjusted. Currently, several important projects are underway. Right now, we are at the beginning of this next strategic plan of support that will enhance the process of public administration reform, including the reform of local self-government.
Through the support of the Swiss Development Agency, we have been given the possibility to complete, in 45 local self-government units, the process of improving the work of the local tax administration, which will build upon the process of legalization of illegal objects and include them into the register. Therefore, we will not increase tax on property, but the coverage of taxpayer.