Statement 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 housing in Krusevac, within the implementation of the Regional Housing Programme in the Republic of Serbia:
Friends of the Regional Housing Programme,
The implementation of the Regional Housing Programme, aimed at providing housing solutions for refugees in Serbia, is in full swing this spring. Our frequent meetings reflect the great dynamics of the ongoing activity and the progress achieved, and that, if there is a will, cooperation and joint efforts can bring about solutions meeting the refugee needs.
Only two weeks ago, I participated in the laying of the foundation stone for the construction of 40 housing units in Sremska Mitrovica; yesterday, at the Belgrade City Hall, 49 contracts were awarded for the construction of prefabricated houses for beneficiaries having residence in the territory of Belgrade.
Today, we are laying a foundation stone for the construction of 20 housing units in Krusevac, within Subproject 2 of the Regional Housing Programme. It was a pleasure to see that the Programme has been launched, that construction works have gained momentum throughout Serbia, which is of great importance to us.
Everything I said two weeks ago still goes. RHP implementation is a long process, which was not always easy to deal with, but for all of us involved in its implementation, there was nothing more fascinating than to see tangible results of its realization and the joyful faces of its beneficiaries, who will soon move into their new homes, turning a new chapter in their lives.
There is certainly a great deal to be proud of because, in addition to housing construction and procurement of prefabricated houses, intensive public procurement procedure is underway for providing construction material, in order to supply construction material to 303 families during the current construction season, within the framework of Subproject 3. The construction of 235 housing units in Belgrade’s neighbourhood of Ovca, for which the founding stone was laid last year, is running ahead of schedule. The housing units in Krusevac, currently under construction, are designed for refugees from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, with possible lease, under the Refugee Law. The contractual deadline for construction termination is February 2018. I wish to thank, in the first place, the City of Krusevac and the communes throughout Serbia which have participated in the Programme implementation, for their commitment, as well as the end users for their patience and perseverance. It is our desire to compensate for at least a bit of what you have lost, to restore faith in a safer future and ensure protection for you, as citizens of the Republic of Serbia.
It will not be long before the commencement of construction, in Paracin, of a building with 20 housing units, which is underway in the framework of the same Subproject 2 of the Regional Housing Programme. As I have already announced in Sremska Mitrovica, the construction of 20 apartment-buildings is about to begin in two more towns, Vrsac and Prokuplje. Housing construction under this Subproject is expected also in four additional municipalities, including Bajina Basta, Sid, Sabac and Kikinda.
The statistics speaks for itself, best reflecting the accomplished results. Therefore, I would like to thank the relevant institutions, at the central and local level, coordinated by the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, for their efforts, commitment, energy and belief in their work, which have all contributed to the success of the Programme, and being its inseparable part. An important role in the Programme’s implementation is played by local self-government units that have demonstrated initiative and readiness to participate, for which I am grateful to them. This is particularly important bearing in mind that the majority of refugees have opted for permanent integration in the Republic of Serbia, as it was not possible for them to enjoy their full rights in their countries of origin. Cooperation with RHP partner States thus far has marked a milestone in regional relations, though it is necessary that all the states equally fulfil their obligations with respect to finding durable solutions for refugees.
Dear friends of the Programme,
I would like to recall, as I have done many time before, that the Government of the Republic of Serbia has been providing assistance also to internally displaced persons from Kosovo and Metohija, who are in a difficult situation, anticipating sustainable solutions, including the right of return to the Province, who will not be forgotten by us. The progress made by the Regional Housing Programme raises our hopes that a solution can be found, and that successful results can be reached with the engagement of all.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the large number of bilateral donors of the Regional Housing Programme Fund and the international organizations involved in the RHP implementation, for their joint contribution to the accomplishment of results. I trust and believe that we will continue to have the understanding of donors and international partners for the dynamics of the Programme’s implementation. The Republic of Serbia, as the major beneficiary, has also been allocating from its budget 10% of the total value of the Programme, which is a considerable sum and a clear indicator of its political commitment concerning this issue. I therefore thank everyone for their persistence and commitment, wishing us all every success in our future work.”