NATO/PfP Trust Fund Project for Assistance to Discharged Defence Personnel within the Scope of Defence Sector Reforms in the Republic Of Serbia – NTF Project
Through the NTF Project, IOM supported the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia in achieving important national goals in the field of defence reform as well as in contributing further to the stabilization of the Balkan region. During the five and a half years of project implementation (1 July 2006 – 31 March 2012) a total of 6,025 discharged defence personnel received individual counselling, while 4,580 received financial assistance to support their reintegration into civilian life.
The NTF Project targeted individuals and their families, starting a multiplier effect that has involved over 15,000 people and sustained the local economic development of Serbia. A total of 3,619 new family enterprises have been registered and 442 former defence staff members have found employment in existing companies in Serbia. Moreover, this project also confirmed that a painful process like the downsizing of the army can be conducted in a manner that does not add burdens to the social welfare system, contributing instead to the further development of the state economy even during the critical juncture of the global economic crisis.
This 9.3 million euro worth project was considered as one of the biggest, the most comprehensive and the most successful Trust Fund projects that ever been financed within the NATO/Partnership for Peace framework. As evaluated by external experts, such positive results have gone beyond the initial targets, contributing to making this project as a model for future similar NATO/PfP activities. In that regard the conclusions in the External Independent End-of-project Summative Evaluation Report (April 2011) report as follows: “Compared to other projects that support socio-economic reintegration of discharged military personnel, this project goes beyond the immediate needs and takes a comprehensive, medium-term time-frame to address the difficult and complex multi-dimensional issue of reintegration of discharged personnel”.
The project was financed by 18 European countries led by the Kingdom of Norway: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Luxemburg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the Netherlands and United Kingdom joint through the NATO Trust Fund as well as Switzerland as external donor.