News 09 Nov 12

EU to Fund Homes for All Refugees in Serbia

The European Union has pledged to finance the construction of additional flats and houses in order to permanently resolve housing problems of refugees in Serbia, EU senior official says.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade

According to the head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Vincent Degert, the EU will provide funds for the remaining 16,000 refugee households that are still without permanent residence.

Ambassador Degert said that his office will ask for more money from the European and USA funds and other financial institutions in order to resolve housing issues for 45,000 refugees.

“Ten years ago there were around 300 collective refugee centres in Serbia and now there are less than 27. We are now working to close the remaining ones,“ said Degert.

Amassador Degert made his pledge in the town of Kraljevo on Thursday where 20 refugee families received keys to their new apartments.

So far the European Union has donated more than 61 million Euros for the refugees.  The town of Kraljevo, where mainly refugees from Kosovo are settled, received one million Euros.

On Thursday, 13 families from Kosovo, three from Bosnia and Croatia and four socially vulnerable families from Kraljevo were given their new homes.

“We also want to enable to those who are willing to go back to the countries they fled from to have a safe and sustainable life there. We are working with Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro to enable safe return, but we also want to make sure that those who stay here have proper living conditions,“ Degert said.

The Serbian Commissioner for Refugees, Vladimir Cucic, says that the only remaining refugee centre in Kraljevo still houses around 50 people.

The building of the new houses for refugees also started in the town of Smederevo on Thursday.

Vesna Jeremic Dragojevic, an adviser to the mayor of Smederevo, said that 42 housing units would be built in the upcoming months which should provide homes for 174 people who are still living in the refugee centres.

According to the Serbian Commissioner’s Office for Refugees, there are 66,400 refugees from Bosnia and Croatia and 210,000 internally displaced people from Kosovo living in Serbia.

 

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