The EU has earmarked 9 million euros for projects aimed at implementing a national plan for supporting refugees and internally displaced persons, IDPs, in Serbia.
Josep Lloveras, head of the European Commission delegation to Serbian, yesterday told media that helping IDPs and refugees was a vital initiative, especially during the economic crisis. He said the EU was committed to improve living conditions for refugees and IDPs in Serbia.
According to the delegation head, EU officials have diverted 26.5 million euros to the CARDS program, and by 2010 plans to invest an additional 26 million euros, local media reported.
The CARDS program envisions the building of 74 mounted, mobile homes and 256 flats.
Speaking to reporters today, Serbian Deputy Commissioner for Refugees Danijela Polovic-Roko said there were 97,000 refugees and 210,000 IDPs from Kosovo living in Serbia – a fact that has placed Serbia on a short-list of countries identified as being in a state of “extended refugee crisis”.
Serbia has 74 refugee centers, 17 of which are in Kosovo, Polovic-Roko said.
Lenart Kotsalainen, the UNHCR’s representative in Serbia, told reporters that the new project would provide some 1,000 refugees with homes and opportunities for financial independence.