The EU allocates EUR15,4 million for various projects aimed at improving lives of Roma in Serbia, with intention to launch two additional projects worth nearly EUR14 million. European Union is the donor with the highest number of projects aimed at Roma inclusion, employment and housing in Serbia.
The projects implemented with Serbian Government, local self-governments and NGOs brought positive changes in a number of areas. One of these areas is legal aid – with EU support, the number of Roma registered in birth registers increased, access to fundamental rights improved through the work of newly established mobile support units, whereas Roma civil society has been strengthened through grant provision.
Additional activities have also been carried out aimed at improving Roma housing in several municipalities and towns in Serbia, finding most adequate modalities for Roma employment, whereas particular attention has been paid to durable inclusion of Roma students in schools. In past two years, EU Delegation to Serbia granted over 500 scholarships to Roma students.
The issue of Roma social inclusion remains particularly important for Serbia’s EU accession process. Within Chapter 23, great importance will be placed on living conditions measures, as well as Chapter 19, dealing with social policy and employment. The EU intends to remain the biggest partner of Serbian institutions in all quality initiatives concerning Roma social inclusion.
The project Let’s Build A Home Together, worth EUR3.6 million allocated from IPA, will provide sustainable housing solutions to 170 Roma families currently residing in five mobile container settlements located across Belgrade. Most of the families were evicted in April 2012 from the informal settlement known as “Belville”. So far, 78 families, or 372 family members, have moved in social housing facilities, ten families have received support for reconstruction, whereas rural households were bought for 41 families.
Unallocated envelope IPA 2014 envisages EUR1.5 million aimed at improving living conditions for the most vulnerable Roma families in Belgrade, which have previously resided in the informal settlement known as “Belville”. Overall objective is the provision of adequate support for 50 Roma families evicted from the informal settlement and, where appropriate, provision of durable housing solutions. With this project, all 220 Roma families resettled from Belville informal settlement will be provided with durable housing solutions.
EU support for Roma employment
The project “Strengthening social cohesion in the labour market through support to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups,” worth EUR1.5 million, aims to support employment of Roma engaged in waste collection.
It aims to establish a system of formal recycling to ensure legitimate employment and increase access to health, education and social services. Project is ending in March 2016.
Through the project “EU support for Roma employment“, five vehicles for collection of raw materials for recycling have purchased for PUC “Gradska čistoća“ and 20 utility workers employed.
EU support for Roma inclusion
Project “European support for inclusive society,” funded by the EU with EUR5.4 million, aims to ensure increased social inclusion of vulnerable groups in Serbia such as the elderly, children, minorities, including Roma and others. Through this project, the EU has allocated 28 grants to be implemented in 36 towns and municipalities in Serbia by the end of 2017. Projects, implemented by republic and provincial institutions of social welfare, towns and municipalities, centres for social work, citizens’ associations, foundations, educational institutions and public companies, will increase the scope and quality of services at local level in the areas of social and health protection, housing, education and employment, thus strengthening social inclusion of vulnerable groups.
“We Are Here Together – European Support for Roma Inclusion” is an EU project worth EUR4.8 million, implemented by OSCE Mission to Serbia, aimed at helping institutions in charge of improving the status of Roma in Serbia. The project is divided into six components: access to basic rights, formation of mobile support teams, strengthening CSOs, prevention of school drop-out, improving living conditions and sustainable employment. For more information, watch the video below: