Podgorica, 23 March 2016 – With the support of EU funds, construction of apartments which will provide durable housing for 120 displaced and internally displaced families from Konik camp began today. The construction of these housing units is financed through the Regional Housing Programme (RHP) in the amount of €5 million.

RHP is a joint initiative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia which provides durable housing solutions for refugees and displaced persons. Almost €28 million was allocated to provide housing in Montenegro, and the EU is the largest donor in this regional programme.

“This shows our firm commitment to using EU funds for concrete activities that help people in meeting their most basic needs – in this case providing them with something most of us take for granted – a roof over their head”

– said Ambassador Mitja Drobnič, Head of EU Delegation to Montenegro at the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone for the future apartments in Konik.

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Ambassador Drobnič reminded that gradual closure of the Konik camp has been identified as one of the key priorities in the European Commission’s 2010 Opinion on Montenegro’s application for EU membership, adding that, to that purpose, the EU already funded the construction of five residential buildings with 48 flats that were completed in November last year.

Montenegro’s Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Zorica Kovacevic, said that Montenegro is getting closer to achieving the goal of closing the Konik camp.

“I am proud of everything that has been done so far, I am proud of our European partners and the assistance they are providing. We hope that we will be able to deliver 120 keys to new apartments to residents of Konik 2 camp in the first half of 2017, which will mark the final closure of Konik 1 and Konik 2 camps”, Minister Kovacevic said.

Housing is not the only help to Konik camps’ residents coming from the EU. The projects aimed at social inclusion of displaced and internally displaced persons, as Ambassador Drobnič stated, brought the increase in the number of Roma children attending schools throughout Podgorica, improved literacy among Roma adults, better awareness about the healthcare possibilities and has even generated some income through small business activities initiated by the EU-funded projects.