EU Delegation to BiH/EUSR, EU Member States Ambassadors and Diplomats visit facilities in Bijeljina rehabilitated within the EU Floods Recovery Programme

The Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Melvin Asin, together with Ambassador of Sweden Fredrik Schiller, Ambassador of Spain Maria Aurora Mejia Errasquin, Ambassador of Romania Filip Teodorescu, Ambassador of Croatia Ivan del Vechio, Head of the Diplomatic Bureau of Belgium Jean-Pierre Biebuyck, Deputy Head of Mission of Hungary Anikó Gyenge, Deputy/Charge d’affaires of Czech Republic Klara von Kriegsheim Kadlecova and Development Officer at the Czech Embassy Olga Zdralkova, visited Bijeljina on 5th November.

In addition to meeting the Bijeljina City authorities, the representatives of the EU Delegation to BiH, Ambassadors and diplomats visited locations in Bijeljina which suffered damage during the catastrophic floods in May this year, and are now being rehabilitated under the EU Floods Recovery Programme.

On this occasion, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation, Melvin Asin, officially opened the Primary School “Meša Selimović” and the Vocational Secondary School “Janja” in Janja, both rehabilitated with the help of EU funds. The cost of rehabilitation works on these two schools was 177,528.75 EUR (347,216.06 KM), and works included changing electrical installations, boiler room reconstruction and installation of biomass boilers, heating system rehabilitation, sanitary system, joinery replacement, floors and refurbishing of walls, while an additional 18,917.80 EUR (37,000 KM) is planned for furniture, didactic materials, and sports equipment. Mr Asin and Ambassadors and diplomats also visited ongoing rehabilitation works at the Primary School “Sveti Sava” and Kindergarten „Čika Jova Zmaj“ whose rehabilitation has been completed, as well as the Primary School „Dvorovi“ where rehabilitation of the sport’s hall has been realized under the EU Floods Recovery Programme.

„I am very glad to see the results of the EU’s post-flood rehabilitation work here in Bijeljina first-hand, and to be accompanied on this visit by the representatives of the EU Member States. Our financial support for repairing the flood damage in the city of Bijeljina has clearly had a positive impact on the communities, and enabled the city institutions to restore services to the public as well as allowed people whose houses were flooded to return home,“ said Melvin Asin.

Mayor of Bijeljina Mico Micic said: “I would like to express our gratitude to the European Union, and EU Member States’ ambassadors for the assistance that they are providing to the city of Bijeljina, one of the areas that was most affected by the floods. Thanks to the EU funds, many more schools have been rehabilitated than those that we visited. I hope we will also be able to rehabilitate as many houses destroyed in the floods as possible.” Mr Asin also presented grant awards to five small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) from Bijeljina: Produkt d.o.o. in the amount of 25,565 EUR (50,000 KM); Kiko d.o.o. in the amount of 38,347 EUR (75,000 KM), Energoterm d.o.o. in the amount of 15,339 EUR (30,000 KM); Raševići d.o.o. in the amount of 51,129 EUR (100,000 KM); and Ortodado d.o.o. in the amount of 10,226 EUR (20,000 KM). These firms are among 56 SMEs which have been selected for enterprise recovery assistance in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the EU Floods Recovery Programme.

The ambassador of Spain to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Maria Aurora Mejia Errasquin, said: “It is very important for the European Union to provide this kind of support to SMEs in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the floods to boost employment. SMEs are the backbone of the economy in this country as they are in Spain, and it is crucial for us to support the retention and creation of jobs.” The representative of the company Rašević d.o.o., Bijeljina Milos Rašević, said: “The damage that our company suffered during the May floods came to more than a million KM. At this point in time, each and every donation is more than welcome by me, as well as by the other recipients of these grants. Our company has received funds in the amount of 60,000 KM, which will be directed to the purchase of raw materials, which is currently the priority in order to restore production. Despite the damage we suffered, we managed to retain all workers and we even hired five new ones and restored production capacity to 95 percent.” The total planned budget for Bijeljina within the EU Floods Recovery Programme is 3,012,760.00 EUR (5,892,447.00 KM), and includes rehabilitation of 13 public facilities (11 schools, 1 kindergarten, social welfare centre, 552 housing units and one bridge).

The EU Floods Recovery Programme was launched to restore normal living conditions in local communities and ensure that the aid reaches the most vulnerable in the aftermath of floods in May. Funds will be used to restore public services and infrastructure, reconstruct housing units for the most vulnerable people, and for social and economic recovery of local communities. The value of the overall programme was 43.52 million, of which 42.24 million was provided by the European Union.

This assistance is a part of the funds that the European Union pledged at the donor conference in Brussels in July. Activities are to focus on reconstruction of 4,000 housing units for approximately 14,000 residents, rehabilitation of key public services and infrastructure (including schools, medical facilities, water supply and sewer, and smaller roads and bridges) at 50 sites, as well as providing assistance to retain and generate around 2,000 jobs in flood-affected areas.

Beneficiary selection will be based on the Recovery Needs Assessment and a public call is soon to be announced, with special emphasis on the most vulnerable population categories, such as the elderly, families with children and persons with special needs.

The programme is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

For more information, visit the:
EU Floods Recovery Programme feature page