During his visit to Kraljevo, Head of EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport handed over grants to representatives of Serbian towns taking part in European Support for Inclusive Society Project worth EUR4.3 million. Also, Ambassador Davenport handed technical documentation to Mayor Tomislav Ilic for the construction of waste water treatment plant and sewerage system in Kraljevo, a project funded by the EU with EUR1.25 million.
At the end of his visit to Kraljevo, Davenport visited Veterinary Institute in Kraljevo whose modernisation has been supported through EU donation of equipment, and the newly built bridge on the Lopatnica River near the village of Bogutovac. European Union has invested EUR2.4 million in the aftermath of floods in Kraljevo.
Davenport: Solidarity with Vulnerable Groups One of Fundamental EU Values
Today, Kraljevo had its “European Day,” said Head of EU Delegation Michael Davenport while handing 28 grants worth EUR4.3 million to institutions of social protection and associations from 36 municipalities together with Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Aleksandar Vulin.
“Today we have started some of the significant projects with organisations from across Serbia and a major project in Kraljevo which has its place on Government’s list of priority infrastructure projects,” Davenport said.
Grants have been assigned within the EU-funded European Support for Inclusive Society Project, whereas Kraljevo received a grant worth EUR182.600 for environmental projects and Roma community empowerment, due for implementation in 2015 and 2016 in cooperation with Danish Refugee Council.
Ambassador Davenport said social inclusion and solidarity with vulnerable groups was one of the fundamental EU values Serbia had adopted. He added that many EU projects would be dedicated to Roma education and Roma girls empowerment through the “creation of new jobs.”
“Over the course of next two years, Danish Council in Kraljevo will work to create jobs for young Roma which is why we decided to hold this ceremony right here in your town,” Davenport said and stressed that human and minority rights observance was of essence.
“In a wider sense, human and minority rights observance are incorporated in all European policies and are important part of European integration, as well as Serbia’s EU accession negotiations,” Davenport said and added that he wished to see Serbia moving swiftly on the path to EU membership.
EU Ambassador said he had worked with Serbian Government “for years” to improve the status of vulnerable groups, the process in which “important results” had been achieved, but he also expected to see the adoption of strategy and accompanying action plan aimed at improving the status of Roma for 2016 and beyond.
Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Aleksandar Vulin said that, in the year of austerity, social protection was the only area not suffering from cutbacks, adding that 710,000 beneficiaries of various social benefits did not have to worry about any of their rights.
“Benefits amounting to RSD101 billion will be paid right on time and after the elections, we will also increase some of the benefits,” said Vulin.
Mayor of Kraljevo Tomislav Ilic said that Kraljevo was home to up to 2,000 Roma, which is why the city drafted a project together with Danish Council aimed at supporting the most vulnerable groups through business counselling and professional training.
EU-Supported Capital Infrastructure Projects
EU Ambassador Davenport handed over technical documentation for waste water treatment plant and sewerage system in Kraljevo to Mayor Tomislav Ilić.
Drafting of documentation for the project worth some EUR17 million, was funded by the EU with EUR1.25 million. Part of the funding will be secured by the city, whereas local self-government hopes to see the rest of the money allocated through 2017 EU pre-accession funds.
Davenport said that the funds depended on solid preparation of project documentation, because EU’s initiative was to fund the most relevant capital infrastructure projects.
“This is why this particular phase is key, so we have to be ambitious when it comes to the implementation of such projects,” said Davenport.
Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport, together with Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Snezana Boskovic Bogosavljevic, also visited Veterinary Institute in Kraljevo.
“Cooperation between the EU Delegation and veterinary institutes in Serbia has been good for years. Over the years, Kraljevo Institute has received EUR300,000, whereas the EU has allocated some EUR25 million in the past years for this entire area,” said Davenport.
He added that this cooperation would continue in future, given the importance of agriculture and economy and Chapter 12 within EU accession negotiations.
Blagojevic: Thanks to EU Donation, 41 Bridges under Construction in Serbia
Accompanied by Marko Blagojevic, Director of Government Office for Management of Public Investment, Davenport toured the location of the newly constructed 28-metre bridge on the River Lopatnica near Bogutovac, funded with EUR71,000 through European Union Assistance for Flood Relief in Serbia Programme.
“This bridge will not make to front pages of the newspapers, but is pivotal to 150 families relying on it,” said Blagojevic adding that thanks to EU donation, 41 bridges are currently being constructed in Serbia.