Overall, the European is by far the biggest investor, biggest trade partner and biggest donor to Serbia:
1) In the last 10 years EU cumulative Foreign Direct Investments in Serbia stood at EUR 15.4 billion or 67% of total FDIs inflow in that period.
2) EU-Serbia trade, accounts for 62% of Serbia’s total trade
3) The EU is by far the biggest donor in the country with more than EUR 3 billion in non-refundable assistance in Serbia through various projects since 2001, and the trend is progressing: the EU donates currently approximatively EUR 300 million euros yearly to Serbia – money that Serbia will never have to give back. While the European Union is generally the biggest provider of assistance in the world, Serbia itself is actually in the top 3 countries which receive most financial assistance from the EU.
This budget is implemented in full transparency and can all be monitored on the European Union websites.
EU financial assistance is programmes and implemented jointly with Serbia. Along well-defined priorities, they decide where and how to put them, so as to make Serbia a more prosperous, sustainable, fair secure and democratic, and prepared to join the Union. Key sectors of financial support are Education, Agriculture, local development, Research and Innovation, Environment, Transport, Energy, Public Administration, Justice and Rule of Law, but also Health.
Only in the health sector, what the EU has done with Serbia in the last 20 years over the last few years is fundamental. The EU donated above 200 Million euros and loaned 250 million others to make the health system in Serbia stronger. This is the basis which is going to help Serbia overcome the COVID-19 virus.
The EU has equipped hospitals, laboratories, institutes of public health and blood transfusion centres and provided 252 emergency medical vehicles for health centres around Serbia, of which 122 have been delivered with ventilators, which is crucial to fight COVID-19. Only for that project, the EU donated 8.7 million euros.
More globally, the EU supported Serbia’s whole healthcare network: through the European Investment Bank – the EU Bank – funds in the amount of 250 million euros were used for the reconstruction and construction of 20 large hospitals across Serbia, including the Torlak Institute, which is crucial in the fight against the virus Corona.
Only last year, the construction of a new building and the renovation and expansion of Clinical Center Niš has been completed. That includes work on existing facilities, new blocks, courtyards and parking spaces. A total of 45,000m2 were reconstructed, and this significant regional health centre received 600 hospital beds, of which 38 were for intensive care and 42 for semi-intensive care.
Today, 2.5 million Serbian citizens can receive the highest quality medical service in this facility, which also involves complex surgical procedures because it has 17 state-of-the-art operating rooms. The EIB financed the construction of 34 million euros, while the budget of the Republic of Serbia allocated 16 million euros for the procurement of equipment.
Thanks to the assistance of the EU, millions of Serbian citizens have better and more modern medical care, in other cities, too. The EU made possible the use of new modern surgical operating rooms, emergency centres, a large number of hospital beds, new ambulances and hospital kitchen and hygiene equipment purchased for centres in Kikinda, Pancevo, Sombor, Smederevo, Sremska Mitrovica, Zajecar, Cacak, Krusevac, Pirot and Belgrade.
Smaller communities also benefitted from EU assistance to develop their health systems, for example:
The EU has helped to establish a National Cancer Screening Programme in the Republic of Serbia, with the donation of over 6.6 million euros so far.
Purchasing supplies of essential medicines and other medical supplies to public pharmacies and health institutions in Serbia should not be forgotten, considering EU donation over 43 million Euros.
The EU has provided much needed support to Serbian laboratories, with modern equipment and supplies in total value of 4.9 million Euros donation.
2. Emergency assistance from the EU to Serbia to fight COVID-19
In March 2020, the European Commission offered Serbia a 93m-euro package to fight COVID-19, and an additional 290m euros was offered to the Western Balkans.
Distribution of 93 million euros:
Emergency measures: 15 million euros
Transport of emergency medical equipment and materials that Serbia procures abroad:
(15 cargo flights have been financed so far, which delivered more than 700 tons of goods, both EU donations and equipment purchased by the Government of Serbia)
Total value of all flights: 7.12 million euros
Procurement of additional emergency medical equipment and materials (such as respirators, masks, gloves, etc.) intended for health personnel and the general population; as well as other urgent needs agreed with the Serbian Government for health and social care.
So far, the following supplies have arrived:
Expected to arrive in the coming days:
2. Short and medium term measures: 78 mil euro