Serbian government, European Union and United Nations officials signed an agreement on a 4.9 million Euro grant to help Serbia combat the coronavirus pandemic, the EU Delegation in Serbia said in a press release on Friday.
“A grant agreement, worth EUR 4.9 million, to help Serbia in the fight against COVID-19, was signed today in Belgrade between Ambassador Sem Fabrizi, (European Integration) Minister Jadranka Joksimovic and the Head of the UNOPS Office in Serbia, Michela Telatin. This grant will enable the purchase of respirators, tests and protective and laboratory equipment,” it said adding the UNOPS had been designated implementing partner.
Signed w/ @MINEISerb & @UNOPS_Serbia another 4.9mil eur donation for ?? for immediate medical supplies: ventilators, masks, containers for triage, test, PPE. This is part of the 93 millions ? announced by @OliverVarhelyi #Solidarityinaction. See more?https://t.co/vCCHU4ynwL pic.twitter.com/6PafFDsEEU
— European Union Ambassador to Serbia (@FabriziSem) April 3, 2020
The grant is part of the 93 million euros EU financial support to Serbia for immediate, short and medium term measures to counter the pandemic.
The press releaase said that the grant will be used immediately to buy masks, respirators, laboratory tests, intensive care monitors, contact-less thermometers and protective equipment, triage containers and other necessary equipment. “We are in intense and constant communication also regarding the future direction of money from the available EU funds for socio-economic development, where we will have significant EU support,” Joksimovic is quoted as saying.
The EU has helped the Serbian authorities evacuate stranded Serbian nationals from Wuhan and has paid for five flights of emergency medical equipment. It also invited Serbia to join the EU Joint procurement agreement for medical products.
”Europe is fighting a very difficult situation. Thousands of people are infected and thousands are dying every day. In difficult moments, we have to stick together and I am happy that EU solidarity swiftly responded to Serbia’s request for assistance. We have allocated 15 million euros for immediate needs. We have already fully funded the transport costs of the first five cargo planes that arrived to Serbia in the past week with medical equipment. With this 4.9 million euro grant agreement today we are helping Serbia purchase additional critical medical equipment. EU support will continue further, both in the immediate as well as short and medium term, with a total value of 93 million euros, in response to Serbia’s needs,” the press release quoted EU Delegation chief Fabrizi as saying.
The press release recalled that the EU has given grants or approved loans totaling 450 million Euro over the past 20 years to help modernize the Serbian health care system.