Residents of the municipalities of Žabari and Žagubica in southern Serbia can more easily access social and health care services, thanks to the European Union investments in the renovation of facilities for that purpose.

“Through the EU PRO program, the European Union supports local development in 99 cities and municipalities in Serbia, and I am glad to see one of these projects completed in Žabari today, which contributed to creating conditions for improving social protection services for the most vulnerable groups, especially children”, said Martin Klauke, Head of the EU Delegation’s Project Management Department.

The works, which were financed by the EU with over 66,000 euros through the EU PRO, and the municipality participated with more than 30,000 euros, included the reconstruction of floors, roof, toilets, installations, heating systems, replacement of carpentry and the equipment needed for the functioning of the daily stay.

The Municipality of Žabari, recognizing the importance of their work, gave the completed facility for use to the Association of Persons with Developmental Disabilities “Ključ”. In that way, 20 users of the Association will have adequate conditions for living, social engagement and improvement of social skills, to contribute to their further inclusion in the community.

“Now we have space where people with special needs will be able to socialize, create and work. They make soaps from glycerin and candles here, and that is how they feel as equal members of the society “, said the president of the “Ključ” Association, Darko Radovanović.

Klauke visited the building of the Health Center in Žagubica, where the EU financed the reconstruction of the heating and ventilation system, works on lowering the ceiling and installing LED lighting with more than 86,000 euros.

“The implemented project in Žagubica will contribute to better working conditions for employees of the Health Center as well as improved health services for patients, which is very important today when we are facing a coronary virus pandemic,” said the head of the EU Delegation’s project management department. He adds that this is only a part of the support provided by the EU through the EU PRO program, which, in addition to social infrastructure improvement projects, also includes economic infrastructure projects as well as those focused on improving the competitiveness of micro and small enterprises.

The health centre in Žagubica has about 100 employees, and annually about 9,600 patients in this centre received the necessary medical care.

Emphasizing the excellent cooperation and support of the European Union, Predrag Ivković, Deputy Mayor of Žagubica, said that along with the EU, a project of introducing a geographic information system is being implemented to create conditions for development planning through mapping local beekeepers and cultural heritage.

The activities of EU PRO, a program that contributes to a more balanced socio-economic development of Serbia, are supported by the European Union with a total of 25 million euros. The program aims to contribute to increasing the competitiveness of micro and small enterprises, improving the business environment and improving social cohesion in 99 local self-government units, in two regions: the Region of Šumadija and Western Serbia and the Region of Southern and Eastern Serbia. Field activities are conducted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).