On April 12, 2021, the Ministry for European Integration and the United States Government officially extended their development partnership which has now stretched for 20 years. U.S. Ambassador Anthony F. Godfrey watched on as Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimović and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Acting Mission Director Shanley Pinchotti signed amendments to existing bilateral partnership agreements.
The United States additionally committed an additional $22 million for USAID, the part of the U.S. government responsible for delivering development assistance, to partner with the Government of Serbia on a wide range of reforms. That includes helping to make Serbia’s economy more competitive, enhancing the efficiency of government offices to deliver services to constituents, improving the media environment so people have access to accurate information, helping civil society to play a greater role in improving lives of the citizens of Serbia, increasing energy security so that families have lower fuel bills and can keep the lights on, and supporting Serbia’s COVID-19 response, keeping the population of this country safe and healthy and strengthening the health system.
The Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović stated today that relations between Serbia and the United States, during their long history, have after all proven to be a genuine partnership, that has resulted in Washington’s support to our sustainable democratic, institutional and economic development for the past twenty years, with an emphasis on the implementation of reforms that are necessary for the European integration process. All projects implemented with the support of the United States have always been in line with the goals of structural reforms being implemented by the Government of Serbia, and this support both professional and financial, is immeasurably important for us, emphasized Joksimović.
Speaking about the breadth and depth of the development partnership between Serbia and the U.S. that has existed for the past two decades, Ambassador Godfrey said, “Since 2001, we have achieved a great deal together to advance economic development that has directly impacted the well-being of Serbia’s citizens. We have partnered with the Government to brainstorm, develop plans, and implement reforms that have been important for Serbia’s democratic and economic growth. This partnership is strong, and I can promise you that it will continue.”
USAID’s Acting Mission Director used the event to introduce USAID’s new five-year Country Development Cooperation Strategy which aims to help Serbia move forward on the path toward EU integration: “By pairing support for public engagement with the government together with support for institutional reform by the government, USAID will foster opportunities to create positive changes that serve to further drive improvements in transparency and government performance.” Pinchotti noted that this should help Serbia make progress on the road toward European integration. She added that USAID will help Serbia combat the problem of brain drain by working to accelerate the growth of small and medium enterprises to be the main drivers of Serbia’s economy, as well as assisting disadvantaged communities to increase their economic opportunities.
Since 2001, the United States has provided more than $1.1 billion in assistance to Serbia with approximately $840 million invested by USAID to undertake activities to drive reforms in partnership with government institutions, the private sector and civil society.