EU Generously Helping Western Balkans Regarding Pandemic

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, April 3, 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic is a global issue hence it is especially important to help the Western Balkans as a European region, Croatia’s Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said after a video conference of EU foreign ministers, stressing that the EU has been generous in that regard.

The meeting, which was presided by the EU’s High Representative Josep Borrell, discussed aid for third countries in curbing the pandemic which has killed 53,693 people in the world while 1,035,380 are infected with the virus in 188 countries.

“The pandemic is a global issue and we need to help third countries and the Western Balkans urgently need EU assistance. The Union has been generous because that area is a European area and it deserves our attention,” Grlić Radman said after the meeting.

According to Grlić Radman the meeting discussed the situation in northern Africa, Latin America and Asia.

“They all need the EU’s help and the European Commission is preparing a comprehensive aid package which will be discussed at the next Foreign Affairs Council” he said.

Italy, which is the most affected country in Europe with the coronavirus pandemic and a death toll of 13,915 and 115,242 COVID-19 cases, three weeks ago accused the European Union of “lacking solidarity,” and particularly after Germany and France banned the sale of protective equipment.

Italy’s Ambassador to the EU Maurizio Massari said early March that he expected Brussels to stop “consulting” and to launch “emergency measures that are immediate, concrete and effective.”

The head of the European People’s Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber also criticised Germany saying that it was crazy that China had shown solidarity with Italy and not Germany.

On Thursday the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen apologised to Italy for lack of solidarity from Europe in tackling the coronavirus crisis.

As far as the Western Balkans region is concerned, a package of aid worth €38 million is being prepared for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia, to address the pandemic. The aid will be made available immediately so these countries can procure medical equipment and other requirements for their health systems.

An additional €373 million is being prepared for short and medium term aid for the period after the health crisis to help those six countries to deal with the social-economic consequences.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.


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