Address by Minister Dacic at the ceremony marking the beginning of construction of refugee housing under Subproject 4 of the Regional Housing Programme, at Golubinci

“As Chairman of the Serbian Government’s Commission for Coordination of the Process of Permanent Integration of Refugees, and President of the Steering Board, I have had the privilege, over the past year, to be regularly directly involved in different events marking the progress in the implementation of the Regional Housing Programme. It is an honour and pleasure to be part of a project that truly changes the life of people, but it is also a responsibility to meet the expectations of all who have been living as refugees in difficult conditions for more than 20 years.

Our commitment to this endeavour is reflected in the intensity of our activity on the ground. I can say, without any exaggeration, that entire Serbia is a big construction site. A total of 1,207 housing solutions have been reached so far, out of which 628 in the form of construction material packages, and 479 houses.
The past year saw the implementation of a new solution in the form of apartment buildings. The construction of 235 apartments, which began in Ovca, last year, to the value of 9.8 million euro, is already coming to an end. This spring, we opened a construction site under Subproject 2, in five towns. Most of these sites are progressing very well indeed, and it is our expectation that, if everything unfolds as scheduled, the beneficiaries will be able to move in, next spring.

Subproject 4 is valued at 13 million euro, consisting of 661 housing units: 30 prefabricated houses, 261 housing units, 300 construction material packages and 129 village houses. Under the present Subproject, buildings with multiple housing units will be erected in 13 local self-government units. Construction sites were opened in nine municipalities, in addition to the present one in Golubinci, including Zrenjanin, Brus, Bor, Arilje, Negotin, Temerin, Kladovo and Loznica. The construction works at these locations are expected to end by next summer.

The construction of 30 apartments for refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia, started here, in Golubinci. The apartments will be rentable, and after a six-month occupancy, available for purchase as well, at subsidized rates, as per the Law on Refugees.

The construction of 270 new apartments in the Kamendin area, Zemun, is expected to begin in early November. This will provide a new momentum to the Regional Housing Programme in Serbia.

It is our moral responsibility to be humane and not to turn a blind eye to assistance for those uprooted from their home regions; however, this responsibility should be shared by other states participating in the Programme, without exception. We can be successful in our endeavours only by respecting the interests of all, and taking joint action. I am primarily referring to the need for full respect of acquired rights by Croatia.

Rare are the projects such as the Regional Housing Programme which, I believe, will be globally recognized as an example of good practices in addressing outstanding issues and regional cooperation. It is therefore important to ensure its unimpeded operation.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all those who have contributed, with their persistent efforts and belief, to the success of the Programme, including national and international partners, donors, friends and media which have recognized its importance. I further wish to thank the beneficiaries for not losing hope to look forward to better and safer days that lie ahead.

I am proud of all beneficiaries, and participants in the implementation of the Regional Housing Programme, confident that we will soon meet again on another similar occasion.

Thank you.”