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Understanding the needs of vulnerable social groups and creating social protection services is one of the milestones towards strengthening the position of not only vulnerable groups, but the entire society, as was jointly concluded at the ceremony of signing the Memorandum of Understanding with 15 local self-governments.

The meeting was held on 22 May, 2019 and hosted by the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs and the German-Serbian Development Cooperation Project “Social Services for Vulnerable Groups”, implemented by GIZ. During the three years of the Project’s implementation, the German development cooperation will provide technical support to 15 towns and municipalities, in close cooperation with social service providers from both governmental and non-governmental sectors. Cooperation will take place simultaneously at the national level, with the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs as the main partner, but also with Agencies for Social Protection, The Social Protection Chamber, Commissioner for Protection of Equality and many other partners. Within this, the implementation of the upcoming legislative and strategic amendments in the area of social protection will be supported.

The Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, Mr. Zoran Djordjevic, emphasized that the line ministry has been pursuing a responsible social policy reflected onto our citizens, and that a special attention is paid to socially vulnerable groups in order to improve their living conditions.

“The amendments to the Law on Social Protection and development of the Law on Social Charts will mean an additional step forward when regards the care for vulnerable groups, but as long as these are not in place, the support of the German development cooperation, implemented by GIZ and present in many projects, not only this one, is of high importance for all citizens”, said the Minister, adding that the so-far cooperation with this organization has always been positive.

The Leader of the Project “Social Services for Vulnerable Groups”, Ms. Alexandra Hilbig, flagged the importance of cooperation among municipalities and towns, exchange of experience and good practice examples, emphasizing that support to every municipality will be specific needs-oriented and the empowerment of vulnerable groups will be in the focus.

Deputy Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Ms. Dorothea Gieselmann, stated that Germany is committed to supporting Serbia in its efforts towards the European Union accession, adding that development of good governance – of efficient and transparent public services – constitutes significant reform on Serbia’s European pathway.

The Project aims at improving social protection services that address the needs of vulnerable groups (persons with disabilities, children, elderly, women, victims of violence, Roma, migrants and others). Upon signing the Memorandum of Understanding, the municipalities will be provided with support through measures adjusted to their needs and devised in close cooperation with the municipal teams.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by representatives of Loznica, Plandiste, Uzice, Sremska Mitrovica, Pecinci, Krupanj, Sjenica, Kosjeric, Arilje, Mionica, Sid, Prijepolje, Lajkovac and Priboj. The ceremony was attended by representatives of Valjevo, Pancevo, Sabac and Vrsac, as good practice examples in the field of social protection.

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