We are all approaching the festive period, when we would normally gather with our loved ones, eat delicious food, exchange presents and visit our family and friends.
I believe this time the celebrations will be very different. We are ending this year facing tragic events that affected Armenia and its people very harshly.
Lives, health, economic security were lost during the COVID pandemic that marked the beginning of this year. Lives, health and sense of stability were lost in the Nagorno Karabakh war. My heart is full of sorrow and compassion for those who have lost their loved ones. And it is difficult for me to say this, but we know that hardship is not over yet.
Today there are 90 000 displaced people in Armenia, who will not have a chance to spend the holidays in their homes. There are also 20 000 hosting families who opened their doors and welcomed those who were fleeing the war offering hospitality in difficult times. There are local and international organisations out there helping as they can. As well as there are thousands of health workers, teachers, police officers and others, who are risking their health and lives to save ours during still ongoing pandemic. Their strength and determination deserve more than just admiration.
Speaking for all of us at the European Union Delegation to Armenia, I can promise you that we are putting every possible effort to support Armenia in this difficult situation.
Since the very start of the pandemic, we have been working hard to mitigate its impact. We teamed up with local organisations to provide food and hygiene parcels to those who could not access basic items, and tablets to children so they could continue learning at home. Together with our Member States, we delivered medical equipment to hospitals; numerous medical professionals from EU Member States arrived to Armenia to assist their Armenian colleagues. We provided small businesses with grants and private sector will receive additional support in 2021. To this date, we provided 35.6 million EUR to the Government of Armenia to help the vulnerable families and businesses.
Together with our Member States, we delivered humanitarian aid to those affected by the Nagorno Karabakh war. The European Commission provided 3.9 million EUR support to the civilians affected by the conflict in the region. We continue our cooperation with local organisations to provide food and hygiene parcels as well as psychosocial support to displaced people from Nagorno Karabakh. At the same time, we know that a lot more needs to be done and we are working hard to support you.
Dear people of Armenia,
Under normal circumstances, I would wish us all a Happy New Year 2021. However, today, let me humbly wish you that the upcoming year be hopeful and peaceful, marked with health and the end of the pandemic.
I would also like to wish you a lot of strength for yourself, for your loved ones and for Armenia. May the better and brighter days come soon.