Governor Monticelli Participates in Regional Housing Programme Ceremony with EC President von der Leyen

Governor Monticelli Participates in Regional Housing Programme Ceremony with EC President von der Leyen
Spomenik u Vogošći (Monument in Vogošća) by Adnan M.C. via Flickr


Sofía Medina Sánchez 

International Justice and Human Rights Researcher 

Global Human Rights Defence 

Governor Carlo Monticelli of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) participated alongside European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Chairwoman Borjana Krišto of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in a ceremony on November 1. The event took place in the municipality of Vogošća, near Sarajevo, and marked the handover of keys to a new apartment building through the Regional Housing Programme (RHP) to 27 of the most vulnerable families.

The presence of key figures at the event included Nerin Dizdar, the Federal Minister of Displaced Persons and Refugees, Migdad Hasanović, the Mayor of Vogošća, and Johann Sattler, the Ambassador of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with various representatives from the donor countries of the RHP. This event held special significance as it marked the conclusion of the program, which, after 11 years, will officially come to an end in December. It was also a moment of celebration, recognising the numerous accomplishments of this significant initiative.

In 2012, the Regional Housing Programme (RHP) was initiated as a collaborative effort involving Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia. This program aimed to offer safe housing solutions to the most vulnerable refugees and internally displaced individuals who had been affected by the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. Notably, the RHP marked a significant milestone as it represented the first joint post-conflict endeavour among these nations in the region.

Aligned with its primary mission of aiding refugees and displaced populations, and drawing on its substantial expertise in social housing, the CEB has supported the Partner Countries in executing housing initiatives. This support has entailed overseeing and enhancing their capacities, all while managing nearly €300 million in donor resources.

The funding for the RHP predominantly comes from the international community, with the European Union emerging as the most prominent contributor, providing over 80% of the program's financial resources. Other notable donors include the USA, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Türkiye, and Luxembourg. Collaborating with partner institutions like UNHCR and the OSCE, the RHP has maintained a rigorous beneficiary selection process.

As the RHP nears its conclusion, around 11,300 families, equivalent to nearly 36,000 individuals, have gained access to secure housing throughout the Western Balkans, marking a significant milestone in addressing almost three decades of displacement. In the context of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the initiative has successfully provided nearly 2,800 housing units to approximately 9,000 individuals who were among the most vulnerable.

Beyond the provision of safe and resilient housing, the RHP has ushered in a range of additional benefits for the region. These include enhanced project implementation capabilities, and the establishment of robust cooperation and partnerships among the Partner Countries. This, in turn, has contributed to the ongoing process of reconciliation across the Western Balkans. The forthcoming closure of the RHP will be commemorated at a conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, scheduled for November 29, 2023.

Sources and further Reading: 

Council of Europe, Newsroom, CEB Governor Monticelli joins President von der Leyen for Regional Housing Programme ceremony, 3 November 2023:

The Social Development Bank of Europe, News, Governor Monticelli joins EC President von der Leyen in Regional Housing Programme ceremony, 1 November 2023: