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Regional Housing Programme donors and partner countries reaffirm commitment to the programme following mid-term review

1 December 2015

PARIS - The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) hosted today in Paris the 7th meeting of the Regional Housing Programme (RHP) Steering Committee and the 11th meeting of the RHP Fund Assembly of Donors. Participating in the meetings were representatives of the partner countries, the donors and other international stakeholders.

The meetings focused on the RHP mid-term review and mid-term evaluation. Donors issued a number of recommendations concerning a series of measures to be taken to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the programme. All stakeholders endorsed the recommendations and agreed on the way forward regarding implementation.

Participants underlined that 2016 would be a crucial year for RHP, as over 1 700 housing units were scheduled to be delivered to eligible beneficiaries. The partner countries stressed their determination to intensify the successful regional cooperation that they have developed thanks to the RHP, which is managed by the CEB.

Referring to the refugee and migrant crisis, which is currently facing Europe, CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel said: “While the Balkan countries must be supported in addressing the current inflow of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa, we should also continue to improve the situation of the displaced persons and refugees still remaining from the 1990s conflicts in the former Yugoslavia”.

Morten Jung, Head of Unit for Western Balkans, Regional Cooperation and Programmes at the European Commission, stated: “The completion of the two RHP reviews marks an important step for the programme, as we now have an informed basis on which to act in the immediate future. The Partner Countries have made a remarkable effort to bring the RHP into full implementation speed and deserve the donor community’s full support. The Commission has agreed to contribute an additional € 11.3 million to the RHP Fund before the end of 2015.”

Key figures (as at 1 December 2015):

Pledged to the RHP: € 268 million

Paid into RHP Fund: € 120 million

Grants approved: € 133 million

Grants disbursed: € 22 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 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.