Address by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic at the ceremony of laying the foundation stone for the construction of refugee apartments in Stara Pazova, within the framework of the implementation of the Regional Housing Programme in the Republic of Serbia:
“Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to address you and thank you for gathering here today to attend the official marking of commencement of apartment construction for refugees from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Stara Pazova.
Construction of housing units in Stara Pazova is one of the phases in the implementation of the Regional Housing Programme, the major regional initiative aimed at addressing the long-term displacement resulting from the 1991-1995 conflict in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The Republic of Serbia is particularly devoted to the realization of this programme, fully contributing to the implementation of the agreed commitments, which is witnessed by our today’s attendance of laying the foundation stone here in Stara Pazova.
Apartment construction is carried out on this location within the Regional Housing Programme, Subproject 5. The total value of the Subproject is 52 million euro, out of which 38.8 million euro comes from donations, while the share of the Republic of Serbia in the project is 13.2 million euro. A total of 1,847 decisions on apartment handover will be delivered within this segment of the housing programme, of which 1,267 apartments are in 27 local self-government units. Out of this number, the construction of 270 apartments is already under way in the Kamendin area of Zemun, to be move-in ready next spring. I would like to recall that the founding stone was laid in Kamendin on 17 November 2017, and that the foundation stone for 276 apartments was laid in Veternik, the municipality of Novi Sad, on 7 August 2018.
Today, we are opening the construction site in Stara Pazova, for the construction of 169 housing units. In other municipalities, construction sites are either in preparation or in the phase of contractor selection. For example, in Ub (20 apartments) and Mionica (16 apartments), contractors have been introduced to the job and preparations have been completed for the beginning of works. In towns and municipalities where the implementation of Subproject 5 is ongoing, tenders have been announced for the procurement of construction material, and distribution of 200 construction material packages has started. In addition, 277 village houses, out of planned 380, have been purchased in 27 municipalities.
Serbia is pursuing the policy of solidarity and understanding for all the difficulties facing the displaced persons. Resolution of the housing issue is important, but is only one aspect of the quality of life in a new setting. Local communities have a special role to play in assisting refugee integration in their respective communities. I am proud to underline that all local communities in Serbia, without exception, have demonstrated their solidarity and offered assistance at the most difficult juncture, as they were helpful in all efforts aimed at current human integration, including through the Regional Housing Programme. Resolution of this complex problem can hardly be successful without local community support.
In this light, I would like to thank the local government of Stara Pazova for supporting the implementation of the Regional Housing Programme, and the Commessariat for Refugees and Migration, headed by Commissioner Vladimir Cucic, for their efforts and commitment.
I also wish to thank many countries, donors of the Regional Housing Programme Fund, and international organizations participating in the Programme’s implementation for combining efforts towards making the Regional Housing Programme come true, and contributing to its progress. Successful implementation of the Regional Housing Programme further reflects the importance of good cooperation and communication among regional countries, thus contributing to the reconciliation process.
I hope that the Programme’s future beneficiaries, to whom I am grateful for their patience, will be able to achieve their lifelong aspirations in this prosperous municipality. My greetings go to all beneficiaries and participants of the Regional Housing Programme, along with my wish that we continue the works to their completion, and then mark the delivery of keys to the occupants.
Thank you for your attention.”