Corruption is one of the most important problems facing Serbia. While there are some indications that corruption may have become less rampant in recent years, available evidence suggests that corruption levels are still high, while trust in key institutions is low. The impact on citizens is significant: day-to-day corruption can put a substantial strain on the poorest and most marginalized groups, while frequent scandals involving corruption among the highest public officials, undermines people's, particularly young citizens', confidence in the future.

Serbia is a country in transition. It is important to tackle corruption systematically to avoid its becoming institutionalised. However, while good news and perceptions are thin on the ground, we find that the country is on a positive track in several areas: there are signs of greater control of public procurement, conflict of interest has begun to be regulated, access to information and transparency of the government institutions have improved significantly, and the capacity of enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute organised crime and corruption is increasing. The burden of rules and procedures has eased for private business, cutting opportunities for corruption.

However, the political nature of the problem is constant, and more ambitious reforms are often effectively blocked by entrenched elites. A lasting impact on corruption levels cannot be achieved without sustained political will at the highest levels of government.