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Governor Wenzel meets with Serbia’s Prime Minister in Paris, signs grant agreement for migrants and refugees

15 September 2016

© Sylvie Dupic
© Sylvie Dupic
PARIS – The Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), Rolf Wenzel, today welcomed the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, accompanied by the Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, Aleksandar Vulin, to the CEB’s headquarters. Discussions focused on bilateral co-operation and the migrant and refugee crisis. Governor Wenzel and Prime Minister Vučić signed a € 755 000 grant agreement, to be used for migrants and refugees in Serbia.

More than 800 000 migrants and refugees have passed through Serbia since the beginning of 2015. An estimated 4 500 persons are currently accommodated in reception centres throughout the country. CEB assistance is being used to provide shelter, food, health care, and legal advice to these persons. 

The agreement signed today brings the total amount of grants provided to Serbia from the Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF) to € 3.5 million. 

The MRF is a trust fund established by the CEB in October 2015 to help its member states cope with migrant and refugee flows. The Bank has so far approved over € 18 million in grants for a total of 15 projects. 

A CEB member since 2004, Serbia is an active partner of the Bank in the framework of the Regional Housing Programme (RHP), which the CEB is managing. As the largest beneficiary of the RHP, Serbia is implementing projects that should provide decent housing to an estimated 14 000 vulnerable persons. 2016 should see the delivery of over 600 housing units throughout the country. 

The CEB’s lending portfolio in Serbia exceeds € 230 million, focusing mainly on social infrastructure in the areas of housing, education and penitentiary centres, as well as support to micro, small and medium-sized businesses through local partner banks.

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AA+ with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable and AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.

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