European Union/Council of Europe officially awarded grants of up to 10.000 Euros each to Brčko, Prnjavor, Prijedor, Sarajevo and Tuzla today in Brčko District. The grants will support local communities to remove barriers that prevent members of national minorities accessing their rights, but also to promote diversity and community cohesion in local communities in line with European standards.
Representatives from the local communities that received grants pledged their commitment to promote and protect national minorities in their respective societies in line with the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and its European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
Ambassador Drahoslav Štefánek, Head of Council of Europe Office in Sarajevo underlined: “In the following 7 months, we are eager to see achievements that will local communities with the support of their CSOs manage to implement, whereby national minorities but also wider community will benefit from addressing the issues of education, culture, media and use of minority languages.” He underlined the importance of joint cooperation among the EU/CoE, local communities and national minorities, in achieving progress in this field.
Gianluca Vannini, Acting Head of Operation Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross Border Cooperation of EU Delegation to BiH, underlined that the EU is fully committed to continue supporting the social and economic integration of minorities in BiH. “We believe the problems on national minorities in BiH and region need to be clearly spelled out and repeated as long as they are out there. Thus, proactive engagement to improve the situation should be daily business for all of us” said Vannini.
Predrag Jović, Deputy Minister of the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees of BiH underlined “I am happy that we are present today at the grant award ceremony with local communities, which had the best ideas regarding the promotion and protection of national minorities. We hope that these grants will contribute to further strengthening of the position of national minorities in these five local communities in BiH”.
These grants will be implemented within the project “Strengthening the protection of national minorities in BiH” that is funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe. This project is part of the joint programmatic framework “Horizontal Facility for Western Balkans and Turkey” and has a budget of 418 000 Euros.