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Norwegian donation to the Ministry of Interior

September 11 2020 | Belgrade

Norwegian donation to the Ministry of Interior

Today, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has officially received two transport vehicles (Fiat Doblo Cargo Maxi) worth EUR 45,000, which are intended to help the Ministry continue providing efficient, timely and high-quality services to the citizens of Serbia in the fight against COVID-19.

The vehicles are part of the EUR 84,000 donation provided by the Government of the Kingdom of Norway to the Government of the Republic of Serbia within a project initiated in May this year, which has been realised by the Ministry of European Integration (MEI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the aim of mitigating the effects caused by COVID-19.

As the lack of protective equipment has been one of the greatest threats to public health since the beginning of the pandemic, within the aforementioned project, in June and July, MoI also received products for the health protection of employees, including hand sanitizers, 30 portable disinfectant sprayers, five floor cleaning machines, and 98 food containers.

“This pandemic is a reminder that we must be united in times of crisis. Norway is very satisfied with its cooperation with UNDP, which contributes to the work of the Ministry of Interior that plays a crucial role in this difficult period. This equipment and supplies will be used for the direct benefit of the most vulnerable social groups and will ensure that they can safely receive the necessary services. Norway has been continuously supporting Serbia since the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, including through the procurement of essential medical and protective equipment, which has been highly successful, and I am grateful to the Government of Serbia for making our cooperation extremely fruitful. The close relations between Norway and Serbia are growing stronger and are based on long-term friendship and solidarity between our two peoples,” stressed Stefan Almehagen Sandstad, the Secretary of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade.

The Assistant Minister of Interior and Head of the Sector for International Cooperation, EU Affairs and Planning, Zoran Lazarov, has stated that the Kingdom of Norway’s donation is complementary to the efforts and activities of Minister of Interior Nebojša Stefanović that are aimed at protecting MoI employees as well as the citizens of Serbia from the coronavirus.

“The Ministry of Interior strongly supports international cooperation with all countries. The cooperation with the Kingdom of Norway – our long-standing partner and associate in various areas of the reform process – and with UNDP is at a high level,” said Lazarov.

He has thanked Norway for the donation, recalling that Norway has provided a significant contribution to strengthening the capacities of the Ministry of Interior in the area of forensics, anti-corruption, human resources management, public procurement, as well as in the reconstruction and refurbishment of the Basic Police Training Centre.

“Today’s event has once again demonstrated the closeness of our relations with the Kingdom of Norway, and I would like to use this opportunity to thank Norway for its continuous support that contributes to the socio-economic development and the implementation of important reforms in Serbia’s European integration process. We would particularly like to emphasise this, given that Norway has been demonstrating solidarity with our citizens in the direst situations we have faced over the past years, from devastating floods in 2014 to the outbreak of the health crisis caused by the coronavirus. We have received significant assistance for the purchase of ventilators, intensive care monitors and masks. Owing to Norway’s assistance, we have also purchased food and hygienic packages that have been distributed to the most vulnerable social groups across Serbia,” stated Mihajilo Dašić, Acting Assistant Minister of European Integration and Head of the Department for Cross-Border and Transnational Cooperation Programmes.

“In addition to this procurement of equipment and vehicles in partnership with MEI, within the Norwegian donation, UNDP has achieved excellent cooperation with MoI in establishing the ‘Budi volonter’ online platform in the first months of the crisis. With their support, together with the Office for Information Technologies and e-Government, we have created a safe and secure network with over 7,000 volunteers that provided assistance to persons older than 65 in 27 municipalities across Serbia,” emphasised Anas Fayyad Qarman, the Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Serbia.