In April last year, 70 CSOs, in an open letter to the Government, urged that a new director should be appointed as soon as possible in order for the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society could continue its work regularely. After almost a year since the resignation of Ivana Ćirković, on 17th February 2016, the Government of the Republic of Serbia appointed Žarko Stepanović as the new director of the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society. Civic Initiatives have expressed their support to the Government for this decision.
In the past period, the committed staff of the Office have ensured the continuity of the work and resumed the already initiated processes, important for the further development of civil society in Serbia.The achievements and successes of the Office, but also the consequences of not appointing a new director for months, were identified by the European Union in the last report on Serbia’s progress in the European integration process.
Therefore, Civic Initiatives expects from the new director, first of all, as soon as possible, adoption of the first National Strategy and Action Plan to create an enabling environment for development of civil society in Serbia for the period 2015-2019, which began in February 2014. Also, it is expected for the director to have in mind the social climate that has been created in previous months in which, as the CI representatives say, a campaign against civil society is being led in some daily newspapers, as well as the attack on the offices of the Human Rights House in Belgrade. They believe that the new director will advocate for the Government to take a clear stance to condemn this attitude towards the civil sector.