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J. Joksimović: Italy highly appreciates our gesture of solidarity

April 25 2020 | Rome / Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Italy highly appreciates our gesture of solidarity

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has said today that Serbia has proven to be a real European nation through the gesture of sending assistance to Italy.

Today, Serbia has sent to Italy and its people assistance in the form of medical equipment, which was delivered to Rome by planes that Minister Joksimović saw off at the Nikola Tesla Airport.

“At the Belgrade airport today, together with President Vučić and the Italian Ambassador in Serbia, Mr. Lo Cascio, we have seen off this plane carrying assistance that we have allocated for Italy and the Italian people, primarily for those heavily fighting since the very beginning of this horrible pandemic in Italy – first of all, medical professionals. It is for this reason that the President has granted significant assistance of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, which includes four million protective masks, one million gloves and 100,000 protective suits”, said Joksimović for Tanjug.

According to her, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio has expressed his sincere gratitude for the gesture.

“This is something that is so important, and Minister Di Maio has conveyed his sincere gratitude to me here, and not only for the gesture, which is truly friendly; after all, we have made it with honest intentions, without any expectations that we will get something in return in the future or showing any kind of such approach. Given how much Italy helped Serbia in 2014 during the floods in our country, how many Italian companies operate in Serbia, how many people fluctuate between Italy and Serbia, how much we really see the Italian people as close and friendly – and I believe the Italians also see Serbian citizens as friendly people, we have decided to donate a part of our supplies, which we have bought and which we currently have enough. Therefore, no one assessed irresponsibly whether we can send a certain amount of equipment – this was really done in accordance with the real amount of supplies Serbia has, which is enough at the moment, and that is why we decided to send a portion of protective equipment to Italy which is in huge need of it”, stated the Minister.

She has emphasised that Serbia has not forgotten the assistance Italy provided during the May floods in 2014.

“We have not forgotten all the assistance we received during the floods and now in these difficult times for entire Europe. Serbia is showing its true face and I am sure, when you consider that we have six million people, it means that almost every citizen has donated a mask or a pair of gloves to those in Italy who need them the most. I am truly honoured to convey this message that President Vučić has sent to the Italian people and the Italian government. We continue to cooperate and we hope that, when this difficult period passes, we will all remember who acted and how. I think this is a lesson for future events and years to come, and Serbia belongs to the European family. As a future member of the European Union, Serbia will know how to show ability, capacity, solidarity, humanity and respect.”

Joksimović has emphasised how important the donation is for Italy, as well as for Serbia itself, which has shown that it belongs to the European family of nations.

“I would like to remind citizens that, even though there is certainly a possibility of purchasing medical equipment on the European market, the only component, the only article which is still unavailable are protective masks, because they are in high demand and because they are difficult to produce. Therefore, I think this truly bears great significance for Italy, but also great significance for our citizens. I believe that, with this gesture, we have proven to be a real European nation, and when I say real European, it means that in Europe, regardless of whether you are an EU member or a European candidate country – in this case, Serbia – you cannot talk about solidarity as an empty platitude that sounds nice but does not mean anything.”

“These are gestures that prove that we truly belong to the European family of nations, that we expect others to help as much as they can, because solidarity is proven when the sunny days go by, when there is no sun on the horizon, and it seems that this month or so we have not seen any sun on the European horizon; but even then you have to talk to someone, you have to cooperate, even then you have to show you have someone to count and rely on.”

The Minister has stressed that, after the initial state of perplexity, the European Union managed to organise itself and find a right way to help its members amid the fight against the coronavirus.

“I think that, after that initial state of perplexity, the EU has nonetheless managed to organise itself. Minister Di Maio has now confirmed to me that the EU has provided  a lot of help to Italy as its member, and that they have all reorganised themselves, got back on track; and now Serbia is closely following the path of these European policies of solidarity and community.”

Joksimović has stated that she is proud of the gesture made by the Serbian President and the Serbian Government, because Serbia has learned what difficult times are.

“I am really proud of the gesture made by President Vučić and our Government, because it shows that we are people who, unfortunately, throughout their history have learned what difficult times mean – difficult times mean heavy burden. It is never easy to be alone, and that is why I believe this puts additional significance to our gesture, and in this context, I have conveyed to Italy, and everyone else of course, that they can count on Serbia, and that Serbia stands by the Italian people. As written by President Vučić on this symbolic box containing material that will be delivered by eight planes – four today, and others in the days to come – together we shall win; Italians, be strong; Italy, hold on; Serbia is with you”, concluded Joksimović.

Source: Tanjug