The Grey Book 16 introduced, Minister Mihailo Jovanović named Reformer of the year

NALED's annual Top Reformer award was presented to the Minister of Information and Telecommunications Mihailo Jovanović for his contribution to the digital transformation of public administration in Serbia and systemic reforms in the field of electronic communications in line with EU standards.

Recognition was awarded to the minister, whose efforts have led to the implementation of significant initiatives benefiting citizens and businesses, ranging from the establishment of the first state data center to the development of several hundred electronic services on the eGovernment portal, and culminating in the recent adoption of the Law on Electronic Communications. This recognition took place at the annual conference on economic reforms, organized with the support of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and the Better Way Initiative, along with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The event presented the reform results of 2023, along with the latest, 16th edition of NALED's Grey Book containing 100 recommendations for improving the business environment in our country, addressed to the Government of Serbia.

- We hope that the new government will accelerate the pace of reforms and manage to surpass the magical number of 12 partially or fully implemented recommendations from the Grey Book annually, which has been the result in the past few editions. The publication brings 19 new recommendations and 81 updated and improved recommendations. Although the entire Grey Book is based on European values and principles of fair competition, transparency, rule of law, and sustainable development, this year we have highlighted 18 reform initiatives that have been awarded the 'EU badge' due to their particular significance for faster European integration of Serbia," stated Dejan Đokić, President of NALED Executive Board.

A new feature in the sixteenth edition of the Grey Book is that 13 recommendations include a cashless payments designation, due to their importance in combating the shadow economy and furthering the development of e-government and business.

The reform priorities in 2024, as chosen by NALED members, include the electronic payment of all fees and charges and the abolition of parafiscal charges, which have been awaiting resolution for over a decade, consolidation of tax and contribution collections for entrepreneurs, and reduction of fiscal burden on the lowest wages. Additionally, important tasks for the future government include digitalization, expediting the legalization process, and expanding the platform for engaging seasonal workers in new activities.

- Serbia is evidently in a better position than it was a few years ago, but is that enough? Currently, the Serbian economy stands at 44% of the EU average. We believe that with appropriate reforms, this percentage can quickly increase. Organizations like NALED and publications like the Grey Book set a clear course of steps that can be taken to unlock Serbia's potential and ensure that reforms are sustainable and effective," emphasized Emanuele Giaufret, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia.

The international perspective was also addressed by the Director of the EBRD for the Western Balkans, Matteo Colangeli, and the Ambassador of Sweden, Annika Ben David. Ambassador Ben David pointed out that the recommendations of the Grey Book represent a roadmap towards a responsible and democratic society and sustainable development in Serbia.

- I would particularly praise the resolution of one of key recommendations, which was also supported by the Swedish government, namely the mandatory implementation of green and quality criteria in public procurement," said Ben David, announcing continued support for measures outlined in the Grey Book, especially those aimed at strengthening the competitiveness of the domestic economy through the application of ESG standards.

Among the resolved recommendations in 2023, notable achievements include the abolition of conversion fee for construction land and the establishment of regulatory framework for the digitalization of healthcare.

Minister Jovanović emphasized that the Grey Book serves as a kind of roadmap for the Government of Serbia for further economic growth.

- By providing constant support to the Government, NALED has become part of historic changes towards creating a modern and prosperous Serbia," he highlighted.

Presenting the reform perspective of the Government and the agenda for 2024, Minister Jovanović was joined by Minister of Health Danica Grujičić and Minister of Science, Technological Development, and Innovation Jelena Begović, affirming continued work on the priorities outlined in the Grey Book, with digitalization as a common denominator.

Special awards for contributions to reforms

Traditionally, awards were also presented to media for promoting reforms and to outstanding individuals and teams from the public administration who have made significant contributions to improving the business environment.

The team award for contribution to creating better conditions for investment and construction in our country was awarded to Aleksandra Damnjanović, State Secretary at the Ministry of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure, Milan Dobrijević, State Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications, and Đorđe Milić, Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Construction.

For establishing a regulatory framework for digitalization of healthcare in Serbia, enabling link between healthcare institutions and the introduction of a unified e-Health Record and e-Sick Leave, the team award was given to Đuro Radović and Slađana Đukić, Assistant Ministers of Health, as well as Dejana Ranković and Svetlana Jovanović from the Office of the Prime Minister.

A special recognition was awarded to Milan Ranđelović, Director of the Science and Technology Park Niš, for his contribution to the development of the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in southeastern Serbia.

NALED's award for contributions to quality and objective reporting on economic reforms was given to Vanja Ratković Živanović, Editor of the Morning Program at RTS, and Milica Rilak, journalist at portal.


The organization of this year's conference was supported by international partners from GIZ, Better Way initiative, and Sida, as well as NALED members: the event's sponsors included companies Lafarge Serbia, part of the Holcim group and Nanoinspekt, and partner members: Atlantic group, The Notary Chamber of Serbia, the Faculty of Agriculture in Novi Sad, and the Municipality of Mionica.


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