Presidents and prime ministers of Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo sent a joint appeal to President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, on Wednesday, to help the Western Balkan region in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Aware of the complexity of the situation and the problem everyone faces, they said the joint appeal aims to point to the the very unfavourable situation of the Western Balkans region, both in terms of the number of infected and the inadequately equipped health systems for the successful treatment and prevention of further spread of COVID-19.
“In that sense, now more than ever, we need solidarity, coordinated approach and joint action. Therefore we appeal to make an exception for the Western Balkans, that has always been clearly and unequivocally part of the European family, to be part of the joint European response to the coronavirus pandemic which we all face, via transfer of experience and purchase of necessary equipment and medical supplies,” the joint appeal states.
The presidents and prime ministers also asked that EU officials consider including the Western Balkan region into the EU+ export scheme, allowing it access to the Agreement on Joint Procurement of Medical Countermeasures in case of need, thus taking part in joint public procurement of medical supplies.
They also asked that EU officials to consider allowing the Western Balkan region to divert unspent funds from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II) to combat the pandemic, as well as to use all other funds available from various EU funds available for this purpose.