EU-funded project for Roma employment unveiled

Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali and head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport on Monday unveiled an EU support project for Roma employment.

Source: Tanjug

Under it, 100 unemployed Roma who wish to start their own businesses will receive training.

The first step in the implementation of the program is training on the principles of business management, aimed at economic empowerment of Belgrade's Roma, Tanjug reported.

One hundred Roma are to undergo training, and the 50 who develop the best business plans will be given the equipment required for work.

The support project is funded by the European Union, and is being implemented in partnership with the City of Belgrade.

It is a pilot project designed to encourage self-employment in the Roma population, Mali said at the unveiling of the project at the Belgrade Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

"If they are successful in their part of the work, we will help them with grants amounting up to EUR 3,400," Mali explained.

He expressed confidence that the project will be implemented successfully as Belgrade has the required institutions and good cooperation with Roma associations.

Everybody has the right to work, the freedom to choose employment and the right to fair and satisfactory working conditions and protection from unemployment, the head of the EU Delegation Michael Davenport said.

However, the number of unemployed people in many European countries is too high, and there are over 700,000 of such people in Serbia alone, he said.

"We are aware that Roma are among the most endangered populations in terms of unemployment, and we know that nearly 22,000 Roma are registered with the National Employment Service," Davenport said.

As part of the project for economic empowerment of Roma, assistance funds have been secured for the first year of running a business, he said.

Employment is necessary for improving all living conditions for Roma, Davenport said, adding that the EU will continue to be the main partner in all quality initiatives for social inclusion of the Roma.

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