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Mihajlovic to Roma men and women: Don't let them convince you that you don't have the same rights

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, prof. Zorana Mihajlovic, PhD, visited today the Roma settlement in this city with the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, Sem Fabrizi, and the Mayor of Valjevo, Lazar Gojkovic, and on that occasion pointed out that the most important job of all is to take care of all citizens of Serbia especially when it comes to Roma men and women, a particularly vulnerable group.

"We are doing a lot together in this area with our European partners, and I am glad that the EU is our friend on this issue as well." It is not just a question of money, but a joint work to fight the barriers, but also the terrible stereotypes we all live with. If we are together in that business - the state, local self-government, with the support of the EU and the NGO sector, then we will solve problems faster. And my call to Roma men and women is not to hesitate, to ask to work, to address the mayor and not to allow them to be convinced that they are different and that they have no rights. And we will do our best to make living conditions better - for children to go to school peacefully, for parents to have a job,"said Deputy Prime Minister.

Mihajlovic, who chairs the Coordination Body for Monitoring the Implementation of the National Strategy for Social Inclusion of Roma Men and Women, also announced that through the program we are implementing with the EU, apartments will be built for this Roma settlement where 30 children live.

Sem Fabrizi reminded that the Roma community is the largest minority community in Europe, but unfortunately the most vulnerable and most discriminated, and that progress can be made in cooperation with the state and local self-government.

"With my team, I look at how to make your life better. Social inclusion means a number of barriers to education, employment and housing. If we manage to bring them down - to give children access to education, parents' jobs and families' homes, then we have succeeded. We have donated 30 million euros to Serbia for these activities and progress has been made - there are more Roma children in schools, more Roma men and women have a roof over their heads and documents have been provided, " Fabrizi said, adding that packages were provided to the Roma community in Valjevo in April for easier life in an epidemic.

Lazar Gojkovic, the new mayor of Valjevo, thanked Deputy Prime Minister and Ambassador Fabrizi for their help so far, saying that Valjevo will take part in all activities aimed at social inclusion, especially education and employment.

Dragan Gracanin, director of the Association of Coordinators for Roma Affairs in Valjevo, said that without national support, local authorities and EU partners as the largest donors, things could not be better.

"We learned a lot from the corona virus epidemic. We have started to map health risks and address them where they are addressed. We have 60 coordinators throughout Serbia. Many of our initiatives have been answered - the settlements are supplied with water, many are connected to electricity. We have support at the national level, from Deputy Prime Minister Mihajlovic and European partners, but we have to start from ourselves and our yard ", said Gracanin