Intense cooperation of the NBS and the ECB in the implementation of EU-funded projects started in 2008 in the form of technical assistance project “Needs Analysis for the National Bank of Serbia”.
The aim of the project was to do a comparative analysis of the regulatory and operational framework of NBS operations against ESCB standards in six areas. Seventeen national central banks of the ESCB took part in the project. It lasted from September 2008 until May 2009.
The result was the NBS Needs Analysis Report, with recommendations for certain adjustments aimed at preparing the NBS for joining the ESCB.
Cooperation with the ECB and ESCB continued in the new project “Strengthening of the Institutional Capacities of the National Bank of Serbia”.
This project was also IPA-funded and it lasted from February 2011 until December 2013. Experts from the ECB and 21 central banks of EU member states took part in its implementation.
It covered the following 13 areas of NBS operation: financial sector supervision, alignment of legislation, liberalisation of capital flows, FX reserves management, monetary operations, protection of financial services consumers, support to the EU accession process, economic analyses and research, statistics, payment system, financial stability, accounting and financial reporting, as well as information technology.
By developing strategies, internal guidelines, and economic models, the NBS achieved all the planned project results. The application of the mentioned documents facilitated the adjustment of NBS operations to ESCB standards and progress in aligning domestic regulations with EU acquis.
The NBS also received significant support from the Policy and Legal Support Centre (PLAC), within another IPA-financed project - “Legal Support for Negotiations”.
The main objective of the project was to assist Serbia in running effective accession negotiations by improving the alignment of national legislation with the EU acquis, implementing the regulations, and enhancing institutional capacities for negotiations.
As the chair institution for Chapter 9 - Financial services and co-chair institution for Chapter 4 – Free movement of capital, the NBS was a project beneficiary. Following the needs analysis and in line with the screening results, the NBS proposed and successfully achieved seven project tasks under the two mentioned chapters. The tasks covered the following areas: banking and financial conglomerates, insurance and occupational pensions, movement of capital, and current payments and payment system.
The support received in this project with aligning national legislation with the EU acquis was not only significant in terms of the implementation of the plan for alignment of the Serbian legal framework with the EU acquis, but it also in terms of confirming that NBS administrative capacities for transposition, implementation and application of the EU acquis are adequate.
In cooperation with the ESCB, another IPA project was implemented in the period from September 2018 until March 2020 - Strengthening of the Institutional Capacities of the National Bank of Serbia in the Process of EU Accession. This project was implemented in cooperation with the consortium of central banks of Germany, Croatia, and Romania with GIZ support. In addition to these three central banks, the following institutions also took part: the European Central Bank, central banks of England, Austria, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia, as well as the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (Hanfa) and the German Federal Financial Supervisory Agency (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht – BaFin).
The objective of the project was to prepare the NBS for joining the ESCB upon Serbia’s accession to the EU. During the eighteen months of the project, all the planned objectives were achieved, i.e. all twelve project activities were successfully implemented, in ten areas of NBS operation: economic research, financial stability, FX reserve management, financial reporting, insurance, international cooperation, liberalisation of capital movements, protection of financial services consumers, accounting and IT reporting and management.
Having carried out all the project tasks, the NBS once again confirmed its commitment to continued improving of operations and to staff development, not only to be able to respond to the challenges of the EU accession process, but primarily to work in the best interest of Serbian citizens and businesses.
In addition to the mentioned projects, the NBS took part in a regional project “Programme for Strengthening the Central Bank Capacities in the Western Balkans with a view to the Integration to the European System of Central Banks”, intended for central banks and banking supervisory authorities in EU candidate and potential candidate countries.
This project was initiated by the Deutsche Bundesbank and European Commission in March 2019, and it lasted until December 2021. The objective was further alignment with EU regulations and international standards, as well as strengthening of the functions of central banks and banking supervision system.
The Deutsche Bundesbank, together with 19 national central banks, and with contributions by the ECB, organised an intensive regional training programme on key central banking and supervision issues in the areas of: banking supervision, financial stability, financial consumer protection and financial inclusion, recovery and resolution, monetary policy, payment systems, statistics, compliance and European integration, governance policies, accounting and internal audit.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, all project objectives were met. By taking part in this project the NBS once again demonstrated its firm commitment to the highest standards of central banking. At the same time, it has reinforced its administrative capacities for negotiations within negotiating chapters where it plays an important role.