Over the last two decades, Serbia has rarely been mentioned in the news without controversy. Civil wars and independence movements have marred the reputation of this Balkan nation, giving rise to the need for humanitarian aid to Serbia for many of those years. Now, Serbia looks to leave that past behind and move peacefully and progressively into the future. In 2013 the European Council agreed to negotiations that would allow Serbia into the European Union; the talks began in 2014 and continue to this day.
Due to poor leadership and an increase in nationalism in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Federation of Yugoslavia began to disintegrate. Member states began to declare independence, and by 1992, conflicts began to break out all over Yugoslavia. For the next 15 years, the Balkans would be associated with political and cultural strife, creating a need for international assistance and eventually leading to the success of humanitarian aid to Serbia.
In 1992, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) began work in Serbia. The modern goal of the IRC is to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by conflict. The IRC assisted the people of Serbia though conflict until 2004 and has been a major indication of the success of humanitarian aid to Serbia.
In response to the migrant crisis that affected the Balkan region in March 2016, the Serbian government, European Commission, the IRC and other international and Serbian-based charities initiated a response to provide those stranded with humanitarian aid. The European Commission allocated €25 million in funding for the Serbian government to assist refugees and fund other humanitarian aid projects. Much of the money allocated for refugees has been spent on government-run reception centers. The goal of these centers is to track and assist the over 4,000 refugees in Serbia.
Refugee Aid to Serbia (RAS) is a charity located in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. This local charity works in conjunction with international charities such as NGO North Start and the International Women’s Club, to provide food, education, clothing and legal aid to those stranded throughout the country.
While the number of refugees in Serbia may seem small in comparison to other European nations, the impact on the local economy of Serbia has been significant. This is due to its smaller national economy and population.
– Nick DeMarco