Serbia has benefited from Council of Europe co-operation programmes since 2002. In this respect, the Council of Europe has supported Serbia in the judiciary reforms, by carrying out a number of capacity building projects to ensure a coherent implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights at a national level. The Organisation also contributed to the enhancement of the capacities of the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing systems, as well as to the improvement of the system for search, seizure and confiscation of proceeds from crime. In the prevention and fight against corruption, the Council of Europe interventions aimed at reinforcing the capacities of law enforcement and judiciary. The Council of Europe also assisted Serbian authorities to establish democratic governance at local level, by supporting legislative and institutional reforms in this area and developing modern human resources management system in local self-governments.
The co-operation with Serbia was recently streamlined through the European Union/Council of Europe Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey, flagship instrument launched in May 2016, to assist countries in the region in addressing the Council of Europe monitoring bodies’ recommendations and relevant European Union accession priorities. With the assistance of the Council of Europe, seven country-specific actions were implemented in Serbia, which contributed to the penitentiary reforms, reinforced the judicial practice in line with the requirements of the European Charter of Human Rights, enhanced the capacity of judges to counter the risk of undue influence and increased the capacity of the newly established Commissioner for Autonomy of Public Prosecution. In the same vein, the integrity framework of the higher education system was improved and the specific anti-discrimination measures in selected pilot schools’ teaching and extracurricular activities were introduced. Significant results were also achieved in the actions addressing trafficking in human beings and the protection of national minorities.
Serbia plays an active role in other regional programmes: Cybercrime, “Promoting good governance and Roma empowerment at local level (ROMACTED)”, "Reinforcing Judicial Expertise on Freedom of Expression and the Media in South-East Europe (JUFREX)", Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP).
The Council of Europe office in Belgrade ensures the necessary co-ordination between headquarters and national stakeholders, as well with international partners present in the field.