RIGHTS, EQUALITY AND CITIZENSHIP PROGRAMME
EU Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme
On 17 December 2013, the European Parliament and of the Council adopted the Regulation (EU) number 1381/2013 establishing a Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme.
Participation in this Programme is extremely significant for the Republic of Serbia as the EU membership candidate. The objective of this EU instrument is promotion, protection and application of the rights securing the equality to the citizens, which are guaranteed by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (“Charter “) as well as by International human rights conventions. Joining this EU Programme will provide our country with additional opportunities for obtaining the EU Grant funds.
According to the Annual Progress Report of the European Commission for Serbia 2017, the legal and institutional framework relating to the human rights in the Republic of Serbia exists, but consistent and efficient implementation of the legislation and the policy measures is required on the entire territory of the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Serbia, on the basis of this Report, should strengthen the human rights protection institutions, guarantee their independence, intensify the measures for protection of fundamental rights of the groups facing discrimination and secure greater priority to the child rights.
Taking into account all the above-mentioned and the essence of the EU Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme, joining this EU instrument will allow better implementation of the laws brought by the Republic of Serbia during previous period through the implementation of the projects funded through this Programme. These are the following regulations: Anti-Discrimination Law (“Official Gazette of the RS“, no. 22/2009), Gender Equality Law (“Official Gazette of the RS“, no. 104/2009), Law on the Protection of Rights and Freedoms of National Minorities (“Official Gazette of the RS”, no. 11/02 and “Official Gazette of the RS”, no. 72/09 – st.law and 97/13 – CC), Family Law (“Official Gazette of the RS”, no. 18/05, 72/11 and 6/15), Law on Prevention of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (“Official Gazette of the RS”, no. 33/2006 and 13/2016) as well as related strategies and the Action Plan for the Negotiation Chapter 23. In addition, participation in this Programme will provide necessary experience from the EU countries for the purpose of full harmonisation of the national legislation and the practice with the legislation and the practice in the European Union Member States.
The objectives of this Programme, relevant for the Republic of Serbia, are the following:
- to promote the effective implementation of the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sex, racial and ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, and to respect the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds for in Article 21 of the Chapter;
- to prevent and combat racism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of intolerance;
- to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities;
- to promote equality between women and men and to advance gender mainstreaming;
- to prevent and combat all forms of violence against children, young people and women, as well as violence against other groups at risk, in particular groups at risk of violence in close relationships, and to protect victims of such violence;
- to promote and protect the rights of the child;
- to contribute to ensuring the highest level of protection of privacy and personal data.
The total budget of this Programme exceeds EUR 439.000.000 and participation of the Republic of Serbia will enable civil society organisations, public institutions and local governments to access the relevant financial resources for programme implementation and the projects for fighting against domestic violence, protection of persons with disabilities, gender equality and other sections of fundamental rights protection. All approved funds are non-refundable.
The Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, headed by Minister Zoran Djordjevic, secured the annual contribution (entry ticket) in amount of EUR 200.000,00 to enable the Republic of Serbia as EU candidate country to participate in this Programme. This means that the interested entities from the territory of the Republic of Serbia (national, regional and local authorities, employment services, social partners, non-governmental organisations, high education institutions and research institutes, evaluation and effect assessment experts and statistical office, media) can apply to receive the funds within this Programme. The actual criteria for the interested parties who can apply are given in the individual calls for proposals. The Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Serbia on the participation of the Republic of Serbia in the EU Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme is expected to be signed by the end of June 2018.