Roof over the head for another 71 families with the help of the EU
The family of Zdravka Knežević and 70 others got the roof over their heads after waiting 30 years since they fled Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The contract for the apartment she was waiting for was awarded to her by the Ambassador of the European Union to Serbia, Emanuele Giaufret.
“Altogether, as many as 6600 families have received keys to their new homes and every such moment is unique – for them as well as for us in the EU. Today is not exception and so I am happy to see smiling faces of another 71 families who today enter apartments they can now call their true home”, said Ambassador Giaufret when handing over the contract to the refugee families.
Two months ago, 250 families moved into their new homes in the Belgrade neighbourhood of Ovča.
EU Ambassador to Serbia Emanuele Giaufret reminded that the goal is for a total of 7,442 families to get a roof over their heads and to “build carefree lives in their homes” in the future.
“From this day, you will indeed have ‘svoj krov nad glavom’ and I hope these new homes will offer you the warmth and security you deserve. I hope that in these homes you will create new memories, happy memories, for you and your future generations. We wish you happiness, health and peace”, said Giaufret.
Apart from the EU Ambassador to Serbia Emanuele Giaufret, the contracts were handed over in the Palace of Serbia by the Mayor of Belgrade Aleksandar Šapić, Minister of Defence Miloš Vučević, Commissioner for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia Nataša Stanisavljević, representatives of the OSCE and the embassies of the countries participating in the program.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Miloš Vučević said that the distribution of apartments to refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia eliminates the injustice that these people experienced personally.
“The most important is to make sure that this is our country, regardless of where you had to come here from”, said Vučević.
Vučević reminded that Serbia received more than six hundred thousand refugees in the previous three decades and that the task of the Government and the President of Serbia is to solve the housing issue of all refugees.
The Mayor of Belgrade, Aleksandar Šapić, said that the City will do everything in its power to provide as many apartments as possible where they can feel at home.
Through the Regional Housing Program (RHP), financed by the European Union with 80 percent of the funds, it is planned that 7,442 families will receive their permanent roof above their heads in Serbia. The program was established to provide permanent housing solutions to vulnerable refugees and displaced persons following the conflict in the territory of former Yugoslavia from 1991 to 1995. The RHP conducts its activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.
The Regional Housing Program (RHP) was established as a regional initiative of Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to help refugees and displaced persons. It is implemented with the support of the OSCE, UNHCR and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB). The European Union finances 80 percent of the funds, and in addition to that, the USA, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Turkey, Luxembourg, Spain also participate.