Serbia | Factsheets | (2023)

Definition of Youth

The Youth Law (2011) defines youth in Serbia as 15-30 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 16
  • --
  • Female
  • 18
  • 16
  • --
  • No specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility


Minimum Age

Source:Criminal Code of Serbia

Majority Age


Source: Charter on Human and Minority Rights and Civil Liberties (2003)

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Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Youth Development Index


55 out of 170 countries.

Literacy Rates


Both sexes (15-24) %

  • 98.59%Male (15-24) %
  • 98.40% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School


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Both sexes %

  • 89.56%Male %
  • 91.37%Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV


Male (15-24) %


Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.


Both sexes (13-15) %

  • 10.80%Male (13-15) %
  • 9.60% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?


Serbia has ayouth law, ayouth strategy, anaction planandgui­de­lines. Two reviews:2011,2012.

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The Youth Law (2011) regulated activities involving young people, their needs and interests.

The National Youth Strategy (2008) is,

[…] the first step towards a systematic solution to the problem of youth status and… [supporting] young people in different spheres of social life… The Strategy should determine the attitude of the state towards young people, a possible role of youth in society, and the modes of establishing a partnership relation.

The strategy identifies opportunities, responsibilities, and institutional mechanisms for youth.

The strategy is supported by the Action Plan for the Implementation of the National Youth Strategy 2009-2014 and by guidelines for implementation at the local level (2012).

Consultations are currently being conducted as part of a process to amend the Youth Law.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?


The Department of Youth within the Ministry of Youth and Sport has responsibility for youth affairs and policy in Serbia.

The Department of Youth works in several areas, including: the development and implementation of youth policy, strategy and programs; encouraging youth participation; supporting volunteering; cooperation with youth organisations; supporting youth groups and events national and internationally; monitoring the role of young people in Serbia; promoting the development of youth policy, offices and work at the regional and local level.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?


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The Serbian Youth Umbrella Organisation (KOMS) is,

[…] the highest representative body of the young people in Serbia whose mission is to represent the interests of young people by developing a partnership with the state, inter-agency and international cooperation, encouraging the active participation of young people and organizational development of its members.

Projects have included mobilising youth votes, training on youth policy & advocacy, awareness campaigns, youth research and participation at events. KOMS is a member of the European Youth Forum.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?


In the Revised Memorandum on Budget and Economic and Fiscal Policy for 2011 with Forecasts for 2012 and 2013 (2010), the Ministry of Finance projected a budget of RSD 4.5 billion (USD 53.6 million) for the Ministry of Youth and Sports in 2013. No documentation on the specific budget for youth in Serbia could be found online.According to the World Bank, Serbia spent 10.62% of its government expenditure and 4.82% of its GDP on education provision in 2011.

Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank

Additional Background

From Youth and Public Policy in Serbia (2012):

Young people between the ages of 15 and 31 make up about 20 percent of the population in Serbia. Confronted by a graying population and the hardships of a post-communist, post-conflict transition, these young people faced enormous obstacles over the course of the past decade. On the economic front, while Serbia has experienced steady gains in GDP since the democratic changes of 2000, Serbia’s young people continue to suffer from high rates of unemployment, a lack of access to the labor market, and vulnerability to macroeconomic instability. On the political front, while Serbia has successfully made the transition to an electoral democratic state, young people continue to be far removed from decision-making processes and are often denied a voice in the decisions that affect their lives.
To remedy this, in 2007 Serbia launched a multifaceted, participatory strategy to develop a national youth policy. In that year, it established the Ministry of Youth and Sport (MoYS) and charged it with overseeing that policy. In 2008, in consultation with youth policy experts, civil society organisations, intersectoral ministries, and thousands of young people themselves, the MoYS drafted Serbia’s first National Youth Strategy. The following year it adopted an Action Plan that delineated the tools and activities through which to realize the ambitions laid out in the Strategy. In 2011, for the very first time, Serbia’s parliament adopted a national Law on Youth-to go into effect in 2012…
Yet, if Serbia has made important steps in laying the foundation of a solid youth policy, significant questions remain about the implementation of such policy. Among the gaps that threaten to impede the current policy from realizing its full potential are the following:
Role of Youth as a Resource: Though both the government and the media have come to speak of youth as a resource, young people are largely unconvinced by such characterization. This may be explained by the intersectoral laws and regulations that do not treat youth as a resource or tool for future prosperity.
Intersectoral Cooperation on Implementation: The MoYS is charged with overseeing Serbia’s youth policy. To ensure proper implementation of the existing Law on Youth and National Youth Strategy, it will have to rely extensively on colleagues in other ministries. In addition, MoYS has considerable limitations in its ability to position itself vis-à-vis major stakeholders.
Monitoring and Evaluation: The monitoring and evaluation plan that now exists is not results-oriented and lacks analytical views on the cost and general effectiveness of applied measures. This is a significant omission and must be addressed if the policy is to be amended as needed.
Participation Going Forward: The level of participation of youth and civil society organizations in the development of Serbia’s youth policy has been incredibly substantive. What has been left unclear, however, is whether such participation will continue in earnest throughout the implementation stage.
Social Inclusion beyond Poverty: Since 2003, young people have been recognized as a vulnerable group in Serbia. While this recognition is an important step in bringing youth to the forefront of the policymaking agenda, such vulnerability has been defined almost exclusively in financial terms. As a consequence, some young people who are marginalized in Serbian society have gone unnoticed. This includes the LGBTI population, young prisoners, and even rural youth.
Changes in Government: The effectiveness of Serbia’s youth policy may be attributed in large part to the convictions of the MoYS and its openness to nongovernmental stakeholders. The future of the MoYS—both its existence and its composition—is by no means guaranteed, however. Both the ministry itself, as well as the party that now controls it (the G17 Plus) may not be part of the next Serbian government.
Linking National with Local: By May 2011, 96 municipalities had prepared and adopted local youth action plans, while 15 more were in the phase of adoption. With few exceptions, such plans do not offer concrete objectives or activities. Funds allocated for the implementation of the youth action plans remain very modest. As of yet, there is no means to ensure real commitment from local governments to implement action plans.

Serbia | Factsheets | (1)This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
This factsheet was last updated on: 4 June 2014

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