During the first day of his visit to South West Serbia, Head of Sector II Operations of the Delegation of the European Union Steffen Hudolin visited today in Brus the ongoing construction works carried out on a Day Care Centre for persons with disabilities which will create adequate conditions for day care and improve the status of some thirty beneficiaries in the territory of the municipality.
The construction of the Centre is funded by the European Union and the Government of Switzerland, through the development programme European PROGRES, with EUR95,400. The Municipality of Brus, whose implementing partner in the project is the Association for Helping Persons with Disabilities Pcelica, provides co-financing to the tune of EUR14,500.
“This project is one of many excellent examples of how municipalities, local institutions, the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the European Union listen to needs of local communities and work together to meet them across Serbia,” said the Head of Sector II Operations of the European Union Delegation, Steffen Hudolin, while paying a visit to the construction site, and pointed out that in future, it would be important to think about the sustainability of the Day Care Centre.
He stressed that, through the European PROGRES alone, the EU and the Swiss government had so far invested EUR5,5 million in infrastructure projects in South East and South West Serbia, many of which are focused on improving access to social services, education and health care, especially for marginalized social groups.
“At the new facility, our beneficiaries will have an appropriate and pleasant environment where they will spend their time in a protective setting with the support of professional staff. Also, through community involvement and improvement of social skills, we will help their integration into the community,” said Tatjana Dokic Milenkovic from the Association Pcelica. She pointed out that this way, support would be provided to families as well, especially parents, who will be able to find temporary jobs and generate income while their children spend time at the Day Care Centre.
The Mayor of Brus, Milutin Jelicic, said that the municipality had recognized the importance of this project, and that the completion of construction works the two-story building, with a total floor space of 400 square meters and a courtyard, designed and equipped for children, was scheduled for August 2017.
In Brus, Steffen Hudolin paid a visit to Bojana Punosevac, who had received dental equipment worth EUR10,000 thanks to the EU and the Government of Switzerland, and started her own practice. The donors have supported women entrepreneurs through the European PROGRES with EUR357,000, resulting in 45 being provided with equipment to start their own businesses.
During the meeting, the EU Delegation Head of Sector II Operations, Steffen Hudolin, and the Mayor of Brus, said that EU support was of particular importance for boosting the competitiveness of the local economy and economic development. Hudolin welcomed the progress made by the Municipality with respect to the efficiency in issuing building permits, for which it received an award at the 10th annual conference of the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED). More specifically, in all 34 municipalities in which the European PROGRES is being implemented, NALED carried out a project with financial support from the European Union, the Swiss Government and the Government of the Republic of Serbia, aimed at supporting the implementation of a system for electronic issuance of building permits in order to strengthen the capacity of urban planning and construction departments in local self-governments.
Over the course of the second day of his visit, 12 May, EU Delegation Head of Sector II Operations Steffen Hudolin will visit Novi Pazar and attend the event “A Meeting with Europe” organised to mark Europe Day
The European Union and the Government of Switzerland will support the activities of the European PROGRESS programme, which contributes to the sustainable development of the South and South West Serbia, with a total of EUR24.46 million. Approved projects will be aimed at strengthening local administration creating a favourable environment for the development of infrastructure and economy as well as improving the implementation of social inclusion and employment policy. The programme is implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Service (UNOPS).
The municipalities included in the programme are as follows: Novi Pazar, Ivanjica, NovaVaros, Priboj, Prijepolje, Raska, Sjenica and Tutin in South West Serbia, as well as Prokuplje, Blace, Zitoradja, Kursumlija, Leskovac, Bojnik, Vlasotince, Lebane, Medvedja, Crna Trava, Vranje, Bosilegrad, Bujanovac, Vladicin Han, Presevo, Surdulica, Trgoviste, Brus, Aleksinac, Gadzin Han, Doljevac, Merosina, Svrljig, Babusnica, Bela Palanka and Knjazevac in South East Serbia.