Since July this year and thanks to the EU support, the health care staff in Serbia has been reinforced by the employment of an additional 200 medical doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and administrative personnel. The newly employed staff has been helping patients in public health institutes, hospitals, health centres and laboratories in Belgrade, Kragujevac, Uzice, Valjevo, Cacak, Sabac, Kraljevo and Novi Pazar.
Most recently, the European Union has also financed the purchase of 800,000 protective masks, 100 triage containers, 100 oxygen concentrators, 75 devices for anaesthesia and ventilation, 300 infrared contactless thermometers, 100 oxygen concentrators, new uniforms (delivered this week), emergency items and support for most vulnerable population such as elderly people, single mothers, and roma community.
This support is provided in close cooperation with Serbian authorities and in coordination with relevant United Nations agencies, such as the UNDP, UNOPS and the WHO which are involved in the implementation.
This emergency support came after decades of EU donations and investments in Serbia to upgrade the health system in the country, notably through building or modernisation of several hospitals and health care facilities; building or equipment of laboratories which are able to perform tests; donations of over 250 ambulances and more.
Support to Serbia and the Western Balkans
The EU has supported Serbia facing COVID-19 pandemic since its outbreak. The EU has allocated €93 million since March, of which €15 million for emergency care and €78 million for economic recovery. The EU is the main partner, biggest investor, trade partner and donor of Serbia. Serbia is an EU candidate country since 2012 and the EU has been constantly working to support modernisation of the country including its resilience in the health sector.
The EU and the Western Balkans share the same continent, the future of the region lies in the European Union and can succeed together in fighting the crisis and work on economic recovery. Since the onset of the COVID19 outbreak, the European Union has supported the Western Balkans partners demonstrating solidarity, mobilising a substantial recovery package and involving the region in the EU’s programmes.
On 6 October the EU adopted the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans to accelerate the long-term economic recovery of the region, support a green and digital transition, and foster the region’s integration and convergence with the EU. The Plan sets out a substantial investment package mobilising up to €9 billion of funding for the region. It will support sustainable connectivity, human capital, competitiveness and inclusive growth, and the twin green and digital transition. Green and digital transitions have a tangible impact for the people and are essential components for the partners’ alignment to EU policies. With this plan, the EU is helping the economic recovery of the Western Balkan, supports its economic convergence of the region with the EU and the reforms needed for joining the European Union.