Serbia

The National Youth Strategy 2015-2025 (NYS) was adopted as a guide for all youth policy actors working with and for young people. It lays down the basic principles of action, directions and expected results of all activities towards the improvement of the social position of young people.

Published on October 25, 2023
Updated on February 20, 2024

Definition of youth

The Youth Law (2011) defines youth as "persons from 15 to and including 30 years of age."

Definition 1
15 - 30 years

Source: Youth Law 2011

Definition 2

Voting Rights

Majority age
18 years
Voting age
18 years
Criminal responsibility
15 years

Candidacy age

Lower House
18 years
Upper House
--- (unicameral)
President
--- (tbc)

Marriage & Gender

Without parental consent
Female
18 years
Male
18 years
With parental consent
Female
16 years
Male
16 years

Source: UNSD, UNDESA, ILGA

Is same-sex marriage legalized?
Female
Banned
Male
Banned

Source: UNSD, UNDESA, ILGA

Are other genders recognised?
Yes
compulsory medical diagnosis

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
YES

The Youth Law (2011) is the basis for the institutional framework for the implementation of youth policy. According to an Announcement on the Beginning of the Drafting of the Law on Youth, the Ministry of Tourism and Youth has begun the process of drafting a new youth law in order to address the shortcomings of its implementation thus far and to harmonise its provisions to reflect new changes to the legal system of Serbia.

The National Youth Strategy 2015-2025 (NYS) was adopted as a guide for all youth policy actors working with and for young people. It lays down the basic principles of action, directions and expected results of all activities towards the improvement of the social position of young people. The NYS was followed by an Action Plan for the Implementation of the National Youth Strategy for the Period from 2015 to 2017 and an Action Plan for the Implementation of the National Youth Strategy for the Period from 2018 to 2020.

Due to strategic and legislative changes in the Serbian legal system and in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, a new Youth Strategy for the Period from 2023 to 2030 was adopted.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority that is primarily responsible for youth?
Yes

The Youth Sector within the Ministry of Tourism and Youth is primarily responsible for youth in Serbia. It is made up of two departments: the department for strategic, normative, legal and operational affairs and the department for cooperation with youth associations and offices. More specifically, the Youth Sector is responsible for:

  • The development, improvement and implementation of youth policies and strategies;
  • Supporting youth in employment and volunteer work;
  • Assistance and cooperation with youth organisations and associations in their work.

Youth & Representation

Does the country have a national youth organization or association?
Yes

The National Youth Council of Serbia (KOMS) is an association of over 100 youth organisations and the highest independent representative body for youth in Serbia. KOMS aims to improve the position of youth in society and acts as a link between youth, their member organisations, and the government and its institutions. The council has three main strategic goals:

  1. Improving the youth policy system and mechanisms for active youth participation;
  2. Promoting youth rights;
  3. Contributing to the capacity building of the youth sector and strengthening of youth organisations.

Youth work

Is youth work a formally recognised profession?
Yes

The Youth Law (2011) defines youth work as:

"youth activities organised by and for young people, based on non-formal education, carried out in young people's free time and undertaken with the aim of improving the conditions for personal and social development of young people, in accordance with their needs and abilities, in which young people voluntarily participate."

The National Association of Practitioners of Youth Work (NAPOR) is:

"a professional and representative alliance of associations that carry out youth work, whose mission is to provide support to youth workers and young people to achieve their full personal and professional capacities, necessary for the development of the local community and society as a whole, by developing conditions for quality assurance and recognition of youth of work at the local, national and international level."

According to its site, since its start in 2009, NAPOR has been able to achieve many milestones in the field of youth work, including:

  • Developing standards for three levels of occupations in youth work (youth leader, youth worker, and youth work and policy specialist);
  • Developing quality standards for youth work and a mechanism for their implementation;
  • Creating a code of ethics in youth work and a council for ethical issues;
  • Developing an education programme for youth leaders and youth workers;
  • Having "youth worker" officially included in the occupation codebook;
  • Participating in the drafting of the Youth Law (2011) to include a definition of youth work;
  • Participating in the development of the Youth Strategy for the Period from 2023 to 2030 to recognise youth work as one of the five goals of the strategy.

Budget & Spending

Does the national youth policy have a dedicated budget?
Yes

According to the Special Part of the 2023 Budget, the Ministry of Tourism and Youthis allocated RSD 3.2 billion (USD 30.3 million). Of this, RSD 603.0 million (USD 5.7 million) is allocated to youth policy. According to a December 2022 press release, this represents a third more than what was allocated for youth policy in 2022. Furthermore, "the most funds are earmarked for supporting the development of youth policy at the local level, youth centres, as well as encouraging the employability of young people."

Contextual Figures

Liberal Democracy Index
361
Youth Progress Index
79.91

Economic Indicators

GDP per capita
$9230.17
Human Development Index
0.802
Gini coefficient
35.0

Additional background

According to an Announcement on the Beginning of the Drafting of the Law on Youth, the Ministry of Tourism and Youth has begun the process of drafting a new youth law in order to address the shortcomings of its implementation thus far and to harmonise its provisions to reflect new changes to the legal system of Serbia. More specifically, the new law aims to:

  • Improve the system of financing and co-financing of programmes and projects in the youth sector;
  • Improve the coordination of youth policy stakeholders in implementing youth policy and monitoring the situation of youth;
  • Improve the record of youth associations;
  • Create conditions for the professionalisation and standardisation of youth work, youth offices, youth councils and youth spaces.

Due to strategic and legislative changes in the Serbian legal system and in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, a new Youth Strategy for the Period from 2023 to 2030 was adopted. This change aimed to address the following issues:

  • Harmonisation of the strategy with the Law on the Planning System of Serbia;
  • Harmonisation of the strategy with other public policy acts and planning documents related to youth at the national and international level;
  • Harmonisation of goals, measures, and indicators of the strategy based on the results of the analysis of its implementation thus far and the survey on the position and needs of youth;
  • Improving the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the effects of the strategy.

The Youth Strategy for the Period from 2023 to 2030 describes the situation of youth in Serbia:

"According to the results of the 2011 census, there were a total of 7,186,862 inhabitants in Serbia, of which 1,419,328 (19.7%) were young people aged 15-30. This shows that the number of young people in Serbia has dropped by two percentage points in the last ten years. In addition to the negative natural increase, which occurs as a consequence of low birth rate (each new generation is smaller than the previous one) and high mortality, there is also a continuous emigration of the population. According to the results of the 2011 census, over 150,000 citizens of the Republic of Serbia, with an average age of 28.7, went abroad, of which 19% have a college or university degree� According to the results of the Survey on the Position and Needs of Youth in the Republic of Serbia, conducted by Ninamedia, in 2021 7.5% of young people plan to leave the country permanently, 13.2% plan to leave the country for a while, while 60.9% have no plans to leave the country at all. As the main reason for leaving the country, young people cite employment (85%), followed by school (8%), family (7%).

Given the diversity of needs and challenges faced by young people in their local communities, especially in rural areas where access to cultural, health, social and other services is difficult, the MoYS has advocated the establishment of youth offices in all local self-government units (hereinafter referred to as LSGU) since the beginning of its work, because they are one of the important mechanisms for effectively encouraging the development of youth policy at the local level� However, research shows that almost half of young people are not aware of whether there is a YO in their local self-government, and the services of YO and local self-government where they exist were used by 18% of young people, more women than men.

Very few young people are members of some organisations. About 90% of respondents are not members of a sports club, political party, cultural and artistic association and citizens' association. Only 6% of young people were members of a cultural and artistic association, 8% a member of an association, 11% a political party, and 11% a sports club."

Sources

See all sources (9)

Updates

  • Update 20.02.2024: