Social situation Poor job prospects for young people

Poverty remains a pressing social problem in Serbia, with about 25 per cent of the population living below the national poverty line according to World Bank figures.

Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller visiting a Roma settlement in Belgrade, 2015

Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller visiting a Roma settlement in Belgrade, 2015

Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller visiting a Roma settlement in Belgrade, 2015

According to official figures, 14 per cent of the population are unemployed; however, it is likely that the real unemployment rate is even higher. Underemployment is very common. The situation is particularly dramatic for young people. Among 15- to 24-year-olds, some 35 per cent are unable to find a regular job. The average income has barely changed over the past few years, remaining at a level of about 375 euros a month.

Inadequate public infrastructure is placing severe limitations on people's access to energy and water and on the disposal of waste and wastewater. This is also leading to a high level of pollution, overexploitation of natural resources, and excessive greenhouse gas emissions.

Inadequate protection of minorities

Poverty is most severe in rural areas and among socially deprived groups such as refugees and Roma communities. According to official statistics, about two per cent of Serbia's population are Romani. They are subject to significant discrimination in all areas of life. A large proportion of the Roma population live in informal settlements without any basic services. Less than one third of them hold paid jobs, and merely 15 per cent of young people have completed high school or vocational training.

A woman stands at the fence of her property in a Roma settlement in Belgrade.

A woman stands at the fence of her property in a Roma settlement in Belgrade.

A woman stands at the fence of her property in a Roma settlement in Belgrade.