Transparency across public administration reform in Serbia: An underachieved priority
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), transparency refers to an environment in which the objectives of policy, its legal, institutional, and economic framework, as well as policy decisions and all related data and information, are provided to the public in a comprehensible, accessible, and timely manner. In a democratic society, transparency is a fundamental element of good governance which makes public administration more accountable for its work. Additionally, it helps citizens become more aware of their rights and obligations, as well as in better understanding public policy decisions, and it is a precondition for an inclusive decision-making process that involves civil society and all external stakeholders.
Furthermore, transparency is a major cross-cutting issue in all areas of Public Administration Reform (PAR) in line with the Principles of Public Administration which represent codified EU membership conditions in this fundamental reform area. Yet, while transparency is recognised in Serbia’s PAR Strategy as an essential component of its public administration reform, eighteen years after the first Public Administration Reform Strategy was adopted in Serbia, numerous important aspects of the administration’s work remain insufficiently transparent. This creates an overall negative impact on the country’s EU accession process, by undermining fundamental reforms in the essential governance areas. Ultimately, it also leads to a decrease in the citizens’ quality of life.