The EU is mobilising a package of over 410 million EUR in reallocated bilateral financial assistance to support the Western Balkans during the coronavirus emergency.
38 million EUR of immediate funding will be used to address the most pressing medical equipment and protection needs, while 374 million EUR will go towards short to medium term assistance to support the social and economic recovery of the region.
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“As part of the global response to the coronavirus outbreak we are preparing to help our partners, EU is mobilising EUR38 million in immediate support to the Western Balkans and redirecting 374 million to help their socio-economic recovery,” the European Commission’s Spokeswoman, Ana Pisonero wrote on her Twitter account.
A Commission press release quoted Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi as saying that: “Europe is facing an unprecedented public health crisis, but even in these difficult times we will always be there for our Western Balkan partners, who belong in the EU. We will help our partners to cover their immediate needs for their health systems, as well as promote longer-term measures to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus crisis and support small and medium-sized enterprises in the region.”
The press release added that the Commission is responding to immediate needs at the request of those partners, by supporting the supply of medical devices and personal equipment, such as ventilators, laboratory kits, masks, goggles, gowns, and safety suits.
“The EU will assist Albania and North Macedonia to cover the immediate needs of their public health systems with up to EUR 4 million each, Bosnia and Herzegovina with EUR 7 million, meanwhile Montenegro will receive up to EUR 3 million, Kosovo up to EUR 5 million and up to EUR 15 million will go to Serbia, the most affected country until now,” it added.
The press release specified that the Commission will mobilise up to EUR 46.7 million to support the social and economic recovery of Albania, EUR 73.5 million for Bosnia and Herzegovina, EUR 50 million for Montenegro, whilst North Macedonia will benefit from EUR 62 million, Serbia from EUR 78.4 million and Kosovo will receive up to EUR 63 million.
The Commission has included EU-Western Balkans border-crossings along the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) in its Communication on “Green Lanes” and supports the expanding of the green lanes in the region.
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