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J. Joksimović: We are working with all partners, assistance is coming from the EU, the People's Republic of China, and the Kingdom of Norway

March 21 2020 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: We are working with all partners, assistance is coming from the EU, the People's Republic of China, and the Kingdom of Norway

Minister of European Integration, National IPA Coordinator and Coordinator of Donor and Development Assistance Jadranka Joksimović and the Ministry of European Integration are continuously working with all partners – the European Union, the Kingdom of Norway, the People's Republic of China and other partners, in order to secure funding for the procurement of medical equipment and to procure the said medical equipment, as well as to ensure technical and expert assistance to support Serbia's healthcare system in combating the coronavirus pandemic and preventing its consequences for Serbian society and citizens.

Minister Joksimović has said that this is neither the time nor the way to weigh who has provided more or less assistance, because everyone is "in the same boat", and that all Serbia’s partners have offered assistance in accordance with the degree of vulnerability of their citizens and the possibilities that they have for combating the coronavirus pandemic.

Joksimović has stressed that yesterday she and Head of EU Delegation to Serbia Sem Fabrizi signed an agreement which provided EUR 7.5 million of EU support intended for capacity building and support to the activities of the Republic of Serbia in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Under this support programme, the amount of EUR 2 million will urgently be allocated for covering the costs of transporting medical equipment from China and India.

"In addition, around EUR 6 million has been secured from some of the ongoing EU-funded programmes, which I will sign with Ambassador Fabrizi early this week and which will become available immediately. With the Operative Team of the Crisis Economic Unit led by President Vučić, we have compiled an urgent list of medical equipment needs that we have submitted to our European partners.

Moreover, with the Kingdom of Norway, as an important long-term development partner, we have secured EUR 5 million of assistance that we will use to procure some much needed equipment and medical supplies, which we will strive to deliver promptly in cooperation with UNOPS.

Although people’s health is now in focus as the most important matter, we are also actively working on analysing the possibility of using the support from the EU Solidarity Fund for the economic impact of the pandemic, since the European Commission approved the adaptation regarding the use of this fund on 13 March 2020. The proposed changes are intended to assist countries and regions affected by communicable diseases in order to restore normal living conditions as soon as possible. I would like to recall that, following the floods of 2014, the Republic of Serbia already received EU assistance from the Solidarity Fund in the amount of around EUR 60 million for eliminating the economic impact and rebuilding critical infrastructure."

Minister Joksimović has stressed that today, as the coordinator of the overall development assistance and in accordance with the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation with the People's Republic of China, she has signed a note establishing the legal basis for the transport of medical equipment and the arrival of a team of medical experts from the People's Republic of China, who will, according to the defined needs of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, be engaged in the control and prevention of the epidemic.

"We are all on the same mission and we are all involved in combating this pandemic. Some of the largest EU countries are hit the hardest, while China, being the first country to be affected by coronavirus, managed to prevent further spread and is now providing assistance to both Serbia and the EU, just as the EU assisted China with over 60 tonnes of equipment back in January.

We now need to show solidarity with everyone, while the Government of the Republic of Serbia and all its line ministries are doing everything in their power to provide as much assistance as possible with all its partners," Joksimović has concluded.

Source: Tanjug