Regional Housing Programme Steering Committee Highlights Tangible Benefits of Regional Cooperation
27 November 2018
PARIS - The 13th meeting of the RHP Steering Committee and the 17th meeting of the RHP Fund Assembly of Donors were held today in the headquarters of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) in Paris.
With 4 300 vulnerable refugee families in the RHP Partner Countries Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia receiving a durable housing solution by end-2018, RHP Donors and Partner Countries alike brought to the fore the value of RHP as a “catalyst of regional cooperation” and a “shining example of trust-building”. They agreed that the RHP brings about a wealth of knowledge and experience and could be used as a model for the resolution of protracted displacements beyond the region.
In acknowledgement of the Programme’s impact and humanitarian contribution, the Government of Germany announced an additional contribution of EUR 1.5 million to the RHP Fund, bringing its total contribution to the Programme to EUR 9 million. Another EUR 39.5 million is expected to be contributed by the European Union (EU) shortly, bringing the financial support of the EU to EUR 234 million in total. Spain increased its contribution to the RHP and is now providing over EUR 200 000 for technical assistance.
On behalf of the European Commission, Colin Wolfe, Head of Unit for Western Balkans Regional Cooperation in DG NEAR, highlighted the reconciliatory and cooperation-inductive character of the RHP, at a time when regional and interstate cooperation in Europe is challenged. He evoked the new impetus of the Enlargement agenda and called for a concerted effort to showcase the impact of the RHP in the wider EU and global public.
Semiha Borovac, Minister of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, stated: “Besides the houses delivered to vulnerable families, the RHP has helped the Partner Countries establish enduring friendships that can foster continuous cooperation.”
CEB’s Governor Rolf Wenzel underlined the important message these contributions carry, as they resonate the strong and continuous commitment of the Donors to the RHP cause. He called upon all stakeholders to maintain good progress so that the RHP could be completed by the end of 2021, and to reflect upon the legacy of RHP for future projects.
Key RHP figures (as at 27 November 2018):
Pledged to the RHP: € 285 million
Committed to the RHP Fund: € 206 million
Paid into the RHP Fund: € 171 million
Grants approved: € 230 million
Grants disbursed: € 120 million
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 positive 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.