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Serbia’s Digital Transformation Championed: Minister Jovanović Named Reformer of the Year

Minister Mihailo Jovanović has been recognized as Reformer of the Year for his pivotal role in advancing Serbia's digital transformation and aligning its telecommunications sector with European standards

In a significant stride towards digital transformation and regulatory alignment with European standards, Mihailo Jovanović, Serbia’s Minister of Information and Telecommunications, has been honored as the Reformer of the Year by the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED). The accolade, presented during the annual conference on economic reforms, reflects Jovanović’s pivotal role in pioneering initiatives that enhance the interface between the state and its citizens, as well as fostering a conducive environment for business operations.

Under Jovanović’s stewardship, Serbia has witnessed the establishment of its inaugural state data center, the development of several hundred electronic services through the e-Government portal, and the recent adoption of the Electronic Communications Act. These milestones are in line with the European Union’s standards and underscore Serbia’s commitment to digitalization and systemic reforms in electronic communications.

Mihailo Jovanović, Serbia’s Minister of Information and Telecommunications,

The conference, supported by the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), the “Better Regulation” initiative, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), also unveiled the 16th edition of the Grey Book. This publication, which contains 100 recommendations aimed at enhancing Serbia’s business climate, represents a collaborative effort to accelerate reforms and surpass the historical benchmark of implementing over 12 recommendations annually.

Emanuele Giaufret, Head of EU Delegation to the Republic of. Serbia

The Grey Book, rooted in European values such as fair competition, transparency, rule of law, and sustainable development, highlights 19 new and 81 updated recommendations for the Serbian government’s consideration. Among these, 13 recommendations advocate for the expansion of cashless payments, a measure seen as crucial for curbing the grey economy and advancing e-government and business processes.

The 2024 reform agenda, as determined by NALED members, prioritizes the electronic payment of all fees and taxes, the abolition of parafiscal charges that have been pending resolution for over a decade, and the consolidation of tax and social security contributions for entrepreneurs. These reforms, alongside the digitization of the legalization process and the expansion of the seasonal worker engagement platform, are earmarked as critical tasks for the upcoming government.

Dejan Đokić

Despite the progress noted, with Serbia’s economy at 44% of the EU average, stakeholders, including EU Delegation Head Emanuel Žiofre, emphasize the potential for rapid growth through sustained reforms. International perspectives from EBRD and the Swedish Ambassador, Anika Ben David, also highlighted the importance of the Grey Book’s recommendations in guiding Serbia towards a more responsible, democratic, and sustainable development path.

In addition to minister Jovanović’s recognition, NALED awarded special commendations to media representatives and public officials who have significantly contributed to improving Serbia’s business environment. These awards underline the collaborative effort between the government and NALED in driving Serbia towards a modern and prosperous future through digitalization and economic reform.

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