European Union (EU) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) representatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina signed a package ensuring a two million Euro financial assistance to Bosnia to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences.
The funds come as the first set of EU's financial assistance, while the other five million Euros will be provided in due course. The funds will be used for medical equipment primarily respirators, coronavirus tests and protective gear.
EU ambassador Johann Sattler said the Union was always ready to help Bosnia at the times of crisis.
“EU and I as the ambassador are ready to help Bosnia and Herzegovina now, just like we did over the past two decades and a few years ago during the 2014 floods. Our primary concern is the health of citizens, but we are also closely monitoring the economic consequences,” said Sattler.
Saving the lives of citizens and their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic is the most important now, the ambassador stressed.
“The purchase of 80 respirators and coronavirus tests but also of protective gear is underway. What follows is a five million Euro set of assistance for the same purpose. More than 70 million Euro is intended for the job rescue and the assistance for jeopardised companies that lost jobs overnight. The full set of assistance is 80 million Euro worth. Deeds and not words are crucial now. European Union will stand with you,” said the ambassador and urged the citizens to stay at their homes during the pandemic.
Potpisan prvi finansijski paket od EU - €2 miliona za najhitnije medicinske potrebe u#BiHu borbi protiv koronavirusa, što se posebno odnosi na respiratore❗️ Nakon ovoga slijedi dodatnih €5 miliona, najavio je amb.@josattler.@eu_near✍️@UNDPBiH:https://t.co/XINMRQzGMTpic.twitter.com/oKlaukBd9p— EU in Bosnia and Herzegovina (@eubih)March 26, 2020
Steliana Nedera, the UNDP Resident Representative, said the organisation she represents has been providing support to partners in Bosnia since the moment the pandemic was declared.
“By signing the agreement today, we confirm our strong partnership with the European Union and local authorities in the response to the crisis caused by the coronavirus. We can do a lot together as we did during the 2014 floods. At this moment we are focusing on the purchase of the necessary medical equipment in order to secure the testing and treatment of patients infected with coronavirus, as well as the conditions for uninterrupted work of health workers,” said Nedera.
The UNDP, she added, is ready to start the evaluation of economic and social effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic and will define its future goals in terms of economy.