2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes
There are several EU programmes in which Serbia participates, and numerous programmes in which young individuals participate on their own.
This section will provide information about EU programmes relevant at the national level.
- Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union
From 2017 until 2018, Serbia was eligible to participate in the Erasmus+ programme Key Action 1 – Learning Mobility of Individuals/European Voluntary Service.
In 2017 Call for Proposals, organisations from Serbia for the first time had the chance to apply as coordinators for the KA1 in the framework of preparatory measures for full participation of Serbia in the Erasmus+ Programme. In that call, one European Volunteering Service (EVS) was approved, and 3 EVS mobilities occurred.
As of 2019, Serbia is an Erasmus + programme country and, like all other countries participating in the Erasmus+ programme, it has access to the European Solidarity Corps initiative. However, the participation of Serbia within the ESC remains somewhat limited and is focused on joining partnership of volunteering projects.
- European Solidarity Corps
The current status of Serbia in the ESC opens the following opportunities for organisations and young people from Serbia:
- organisations from Serbia can be partners in volunteering projects and can send young people to short-term and long-term volunteering activities, as well as accommodate young people from ESC participating countries in short-term and long-term volunteering activities;
- organisations from Serbia can apply for and receive a Quality Label (if they meet the quality requirements) which is a prerequisite for participation in the ESC;
- young people from the ESC participating countries can volunteer in Serbia.
The number of young people from Serbia, according to the National Youth Strategy 2015-2025, who went to some form of training, work or volunteering outside Serbia by 2011 was around 1% in all three categories. However, regular national reporting and monitoring of youth participation in the EU voluntary programmes has not yet been established.
Since 2019, Serbia is also a member of the Eurodesk network, which among other things, helps young people learn about volunteering opportunities across Europe.
Serbia does not have international volunteering programmes that are funded (at least for 50%) by the state and implemented on a large scale.
However, the International Voluntary Workcamp programme has been implemented by the non-governmental organization Young Researchers of Serbia (see 2.2 Administration and governance of youth volunteering Governance/Governance). Its constituent part, Voluntary Service of Serbia (Volonterski servis Srbije, VSS) as a volunteer exchange service centre was founded in 1990 as one of the sectors of Young Researchers of Serbia. Today, it is an important factor in youth international volunteering programme. VSS coordinates the International Voluntary Workcamp programme aiming to help young people from Serbia to participate in the volunteering camps organized worldwide.
The International Voluntary Workcamp represents a special form of international voluntary service. It is a means of informal education that encourages the development of local communities, intercultural understanding and dialogue, active and democratic participation and youth mobility, social inclusion, gender equality, solidarity, freedom and peace. Camps have been organized worldwide since 1920 by more than 90 volunteer services connected through different international networks.
Serbia also participates in the Regional Youth Volunteering Exchange programme ROUTE WB6 that was initiated in 2019 by the Regional Youth Cooperation Office - an independently functioning institutional mechanism, founded by the Western Balkans 6 participants (WB 6) aiming to promote the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation between the youth in the region through youth exchange programmes.
Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers
The Law on Volunteering (Zakon o volontiranju) allows foreigners to be volunteers in Serbia. Article 16 specifies that a long-term volunteering contract concluded with a foreigner is considered to be the proof that justifies his/her temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia, in line with the Law on Foreigners (Zakon o strancima).
The visa-free entry to the Republic of Serbia applies to holders of foreign national passports having a valid Schengen, UK and other Member States' visa, or visa of the United States of America, and for holders of foreign national passports having residence permit in the countries of the Schengen area, EU, or the United States of America. The above-mentioned categories of foreign nationals may, without prior visa application, enter, transit and stay in the Republic of Serbia for up to 90 days during a six-month period. The details of the visa regime can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia official website.