“For the last ten years, we have co-operated together – today, we dance together”: RHP stakeholders celebrate the opening of Home for the Elderly in Nikšić, Montenegro
Nikšić, Montenego, 15 March 2023 – Regional Housing Programme (RHP) stakeholders gathered today to mark the final major RHP event to take place in Montenegro – the official opening of a Home for the Elderly in Nikšić, which will accommodate up to 104 most-vulnerable elderly or disabled RHP beneficiaries. The RHP will come to a close in June 2023, by which time it should have provided homes to close to 34 000 people across the four Partner Countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was hosted by Admir Adrović, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare of Montenegro, assisted by Budimirka Đukanović, Director at the Ministry – was attended by Riccardo Serri, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro; Marja Seppälä, Head of the RHP Unit at the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), and Marko Kovačević, the Mayor of Nikšić, in addition to representatives from the other three RHP Partner Countries, UNHCR, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Although – due to COVID-19 prevention measures – the residents of the Home were unable to join the celebrations, RHP stakeholders were given a tour of the premises. Welcoming the visitors to the Home, Minister Adrović noted that the complex, which was reconstructed from former military barracks, included five buildings – one administrative building and four pavilions for accommodation of 208 residents – 104 of whom will be displaced RHP beneficiaries, and 104 from the general public.
On behalf of the European Union – the largest Donor to the Programme, Riccardo Serri reflected on the contribution of the EU to the future of Montenegro, including via programmes such as the RHP. “The EU integration process is not only preparing the country for membership but is also bringing concrete benefits to its citizens,” he said. “We try to pay special attention to the most-vulnerable groups in our society – the elderly, people with reduced mobility, people with disabilities, refugees… That is why I am so glad to be in Nikšić today, and… to see EU funds spent for such a humane purpose.”
The opening ceremony also featured regional choir and dance performances by Montenegrin cultural societies – which showcased folk dances from Montenegro and the other Western Balkan countries, in honour of all Partner Country guests – in addition to folk dances by the Macedonian cultural ensemble, Ljupčo Santov. Introducing the performances, the moderator, Žarko Božović, thanked each of the Partner Countries for joining the celebration, and remarked: “For the past ten years of the RHP, we have co-operated together. Today, we dance together.”
- 15 Mar, 2023
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