This is the fifth Poverty Watch produced by the European Anti-Poverty Network – Serbia (EAPN Serbia) to monitor poverty trends and advocate for more effective anti-poverty measures and policies in Serbia.

Serbia is among the European countries with the highest at-risk-of-poverty and social exclusion rates and the countries with the greatest social inequalities. Global challenges in the past few years, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the increase in food and energy prices, have further hindered and slowed the progression of decreasing poverty and social inequalities in Serbia.

The report presents indicators of poverty and inequality in Serbia based on the latest EU-SILC data from 2021, the position of vulnerable groups (children and youth, the elderly, and the Roma population), and the role of fiscal policy in reducing poverty. The focus of this report is the relationship between fiscal policy and poverty, that is, the relationship between tax policy and public expenditure policy on the one hand and social transfers aimed at reducing poverty and inequality on the other hand.

The importance of this topic is also reflected in the fact that social protection and social inclusion in Serbia are assessed as critical areas in the context of the European Pillar of Social Rights. It is emphasized that the social protection system, while in some areas it supports inclusion, poverty reduction, and strengthening equality, proves to be unfair and reinforces inequality and exclusion.