Minister for European Integration and National IPA Coordinator Jadranka Joksimović has signed a trust agreement on behalf of the Republic of Serbia, by which the European Union grants our country 11,968,276 euros from the EU Solidarity Fund to finance emergency activities in the fight against Covid-19, and to implement other measures in the recovery of the Serbian health system.
H.E. Emanuele Giaufret, EU Ambassador to Serbia, had previously handed to Minister Joksimović the Agreement that European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform Elisa Ferreira had signed on behalf of the EU. It covered part of the costs incurred during the public health crisis, arising as a result of the pandemic.
Minister Joksimović said that the EU assistance provided by the agreement is another concrete proof of long-term support for Serbia in times of crisis.
“The opportunity to use this fund under the same conditions as full members of the Union shows once again the solidarity of the EU with the people of our country, and the concrete benefits of the process of joining the Union”, said minister Joksimović.
Thanking the European Union for the extent of the aid, she pointed out that the amount allocated to Serbia is higher than that received by some member states from the same Fund.
She also observed that this is the second time Serbia has received funds from the EU Solidarity Fund.
“After the catastrophic floods in 2014, as national IPA coordinator I led the process of applying for help to repair the damage, which resulted in a donation to Serbia of just over 60 million”, said Joksimović. She emphasized that according to that model, already at the beginning of the pandemic, a new working group was established in 2020 to list all public expenditures in the first four months of the pandemic, immediately, in a transparent and comprehensive manner and with the participation of all relevant institutions. As she mentioned, we have thus shown the seriousness of our approach in relation to our European partners, and a readiness to work as hard as possible in the interest of the people of Serbia.
The Minister especially emphasized that in a time of current and very complex geopolitical and geo-economic conditions on the European continent, it is important once more to show the solidarity of the European Union with our country, with concrete support that our people receive and Serbia’s commitment to European order and values.
“We have shown that we have the capacity to use the opportunities provided to us by EU funds, spending those funds for recovery from the crisis, but not neglecting the reforms in the negotiation process, regardless of the complexity of the circumstances”, said Joksimović.
Ambassador Giaufret said that this non-refundable aid from the EU worth almost 12 million euros is another expression of the commitment to support Serbia in the fight against the pandemic.
“In the fight against Covid-19, the EU has stood by Serbia from the beginning. We financed cargo flights for the transport of medical materials, we financed health workers and significantly helped Serbia in the purchase of vaccines. Serbia received medical supplies and protective masks. Besides this, the EU has invested more than 516m euros in Serbia’s health sector over 20 years. Numerous hospitals across the country have been funded by the EU”, said Giaufret.
Based on a 2021 decision of the European Commission, 530 million euros were provided from the European Union Solidarity Fund for the fight against Covid-19, for 17 member states and three countries with membership candidate status.
More specifically, Serbia was given funds to buy disinfectants, personal protective equipment and medical tools and apparatus in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic.