Republic of Serbia and its citizens are faced with a protracted refugee and displacement situation. At the beginning of 2015, there are around 43.763 refugees and 203.480 internally displaced persons in Serbia, 12 remaining formal collective centres existing for more than 20 years and now hosting 266 refugees and 635 IDPs.
The living conditions of many refugees and IDPs are still difficult, many of them are unemployed and live in poverty. Practice has shown that major obstacles to the complete integration of vulnerable individuals in the society are the inadequate number of available housing solutions and their poor economic situation. This is why the EU has provided €74 million to support housing and employment of the most vulnerable families in this marginalized group.
Efforts made by the EU and Serbian authorities have resulted in improvements of living conditions and social inclusion of refugees and IDP, fostering their inclusion in local communities in terms of adequate housing, strengthened economic self-reliance, better social inclusion and improved psychosocial status and quality of life.
The provision of housing solutions and the closure of collective centres, both formal and informal, as well as the implementation of measures for the promotion of employment have been identified as a precondition to achieve the programme aims – decreasing the number of refugees and IDPs listed among the poor and reducing the amount of time they spend in a state of poverty.
In addition, the EU has donated €259 million through Regional Housing Programme, a joint initiative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia whose aim is to contribute to resolving the protracted displacement situation of the most vulnerable refugees and IDPs following the 1991-1995 conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. This regional programme aims to benefit close to 74,000 people or 27,000 households; its total cost is estimated to be approximately €584 million over a five-year period.
Through RHP, it is envisaged provision of durable housing solutions for 16.780 refugee families in Serbia.
Future EU assistance through IPA Programmes remains focused on supporting IDPs and returnees in need for housing solutions, as well as refugees, IDPs and returnees in their efforts of achieving economic independence. This assistance will contribute to better social inclusion of this marginalized group.
For more information:
Delegation of the EU to the Republic of Serbia
Tel: +381 (0)11 30 83 200