The European Union has approved 7.5 million Euro of immediate aid to Serbia for coping with the COVID-19 virus infection, and organised and paid for the evacuation of five Serbia's nationals stacked in Wuhan, N1 reported on Friday.
The head of the EU mission in Serbia Sem Fabrizi and Serbia's Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic signed the grant agreement.
Earlier, Josep Borrell, the EU High Commissioner for Foreign and Security Policy, told Serbia’s Vucic on Friday that Belgrade could count on the EU aid in fighting the coronavirus epidemic. The two talked over the phone, according to Vucic’s office, and Borrell promised help in the removal of the economic consequences caused by the pandemic.
"Whenever Serbia calls us, we are here," Fabrizi said, adding that when the crisis started in China in January and February, the EU sent 60 tonnes of medical equipment.
"In the last 20 years, the EU 's help in the functioning of Serbia's health system was fundamentally significant. The bloc donated over 200 million Euro and approved 250 million loans to make Serbia's health system stronger."
"This virus, doesn't recognise borders and we all must show solidarity," he said.
At the same time, Serbia's Presidency reported that the Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote to his Serbia's counterpart Aleksandar Vucic that Beijing was sending protective material and medical equipment, as well as a team of medical experts to Belgrade.
Joksimovic said Serbia would, in addition, receive medical equipment for the EU Civil Protection Mechanisms' reserves worth some 50 million Euro.
"We've been in contact with the EU from day one. The first two million of this grant will be spent on the transport of the medical equipment from China and India," she added.
"In the last 20 years, the EU 's help in the functioning of Serbia's health system was fundamentally significant. The bloc donated over 200 million Euro and approved 250 million loans to make Serbia's health system stronger. That's the basis of Serbia's efforts to overcome the pandemic," Joksimovic said.
Besides, last month, the EU organised and paid for the evacuation of five Serbia's nationals from Wuhan and the most endangered parts of Asia.
The bloc also financed the equipping the hospitals, laboratories, public health care institutes, institutes for blood transfusion across Serbia, secured 252 ambulances, 122 of which were equipped with mobile respirators. For that project alone, the EU donated 8.7 million Euros.
The Union also coordinated and co-financed the delivery of the sanitary material to China through the Mechanism and sent 56 tonnes of personal protective gear, including masks, protective suits, disinfection material), provided by France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Estonia, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia.