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The Law on Youth (Zakon o mladima) addresses the establishment of the youth associations, while the Law on Associations (Zakon o udruženjima) is governing the establishment and legal status of associations in general.
According to the Law on Associations, association is a voluntary, non-governmental and non-profit organization based on the freedom of association of individuals or bodies to corporate. These associations are established in order to pursue and promote a particular shared or general goal and interest.
The Law on Youth specifies that for the purposes of carrying out youth activities, improving conditions for personal and social development of young people and including young people in the social life of a community and their informing, associations of young people and associations for young people may be established.
Both the Law on Youth and the National Youth Strategy 2015-2025 distinguishes the two types of associations that are recorded in the register of the Ministry of Youth and Sport and operating in accordance with the Law on Associations:
- Youth organisation is any association whose membership includes no less than two-thirds of young people and whose goals are aimed at young people, pursuant to the Law on Youth.
- Organisation for youth is any other association whose goals are focused, among other things, on young people, pursuant to the Law on Youth.
Youth organisations receive financial support through funding schemes dedicated for youth policy development and improvement.
Existing public funding sources:
- State budget (through public calls of line ministries)
- Budget of local self-governments (through local public calls)
Annually, the Government of the Republic of Serbia drafts a proposal of the Law on Budget for the next year. The National Assembly adopts the Law on Budget, together with the budget lines allocated for the youth sector and for the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Two budget lines in the Law on Budget 2019, Article 4 are allocated for the youth sector (1) IPA 2014 – Youth Employability and Social Inclusion in the amount, (2) IPA 2014 – Lifelong Learning. These funds are allocated for the use of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Additionally, the budget line 481 - appropriations for non-governmental associations of the Law on Budget is intended in particular for organisations.
The Article 20 of the Law on Youth defines the types of activities that can be funded from the state budget. The funds for funding programmes and projects of public interest in the youth sector are dedicated for:
- providing conditions for the development and improvement of youth activities through encouraging young people to actively participate in social processes;
- encouraging associations of young people, associations for young people, and federations to participate in the implementation of youth activities and objectives from the National Youth Strategy;
- informing young people on issues of importance for the youth and issuing publications of importance for young people;
- stimulating career guidance and counselling for young people, and organizing trainings, seminars and events of importance for the employment, selfemployment and entrepreneurship of young people;
- fostering non-formal youth education within the youth sector and development of quality of non-formal youth education;
- social empowerment of young people, especially through encouraging volunteerism and youth work and capacity building of youth associations;
- encouraging young people to spend active and quality free time and foster healthy and safe lifestyles, as well as addressing the needs of young people in the field of culture;
- encouraging youth activities within the youth sector at the local level through the support of implementation of local plans of action for young people, as well as programmes and projects of local youth offices;
- conducting research on the position and needs of young people in the Republic of Serbia;
- implementation and promotion of international cooperation within the youth sector;
- support of young talents through rewards, scholarships, and skills improvement of pupils and university students.
Furthermore, Article 21 of the Law on Youth specifies that funding or co-funding of programmes and projects should be implemented by programme and project holders, including, in particular, associations of young people, associations for young people and federations.
For the purposes of providing conditions for active involvement of young people in the life, the social community and youth projects, the Law on Youth defines the establishment of Youth Offices. The Youth Offices are mainly funded from the budget of the local self-government units.Initiatives to increase the diversity of participants
The initiatives to increase the diversity of participants are mentioned in the Chapter 4 – Social Inclusion. The programme “Local Initiatives for Increasing Social Inclusion and Reducing Poverty” (Lokalne inicijative za povećanje socijalne uključenosti i smanjenje siromaštva) aims to contribute to the social inclusion of vulnerable social groups (women, youth, the Roma, migrants, persons with disabilities), especially those living in rural and extremely poor areas, through the development of innovative approaches to social inclusion at the local level (see Chapter 4/4.4 Inclusive programmes for young people/Programmes for vulnerable young people).
Additionally, there are some initiatives/projects implemented by non-governmental organisations, National Youth Council of Serbia (KOMS) aiming to increase the diversity of participants. For example, KOMS project “Live Stream” (Uključivanje uživo) aimed to encourage active participation of young people from the municipalities with lower participation of youth. In 2019, KOMS implemented the project „Be Active – Initiate Changes“ (Budi aktivan - pokreni promene) with the goal to encourage their participation in decision-making process.