Serbia and Montenegro to apply for EU Solidarity Fund resources to fight COVID-19

European Commission; Photo: Pixabay

BELGRADE / PODGORICA – Serbia and Montenegro will apply for the resources of EU Solidarity Fund, which are available to EU Member States and countries negotiating EU accession, to fight COVID-19.

The Cabinet of the Minister for European Integration of Serbia confirmed for our portal that a direct link with the Directorate General for Regional Policy of the EU, which is responsible for the Fund’s management, has been established.

European Union adopted the amended text of the Regulation on EU Solidarity Fund last week, which extends the scope of its resources, earlier available only for natural disasters, to include public health emergencies.

“The activities on the preparation of the application have begun. It will be submitted in accordance with the procedures and deadlines prescribed by the amended text of the Regulation”, the Cabinet of the Serbian Minister of European Integration confirmed for EWB.

They also reminded that the Minister Jadranka Joksimović submitted an application for support after the disastrous floods of 2014 and the Serbia received 60,2 million Euros for reconstruction from the EU Solidarity Fund in 2015.

Montenegro’s Chief Negotiator with the EU Aleksandar Drljević also confirmed that this country will apply for support in a statement to Pobjeda.

“All support for relieving the consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic is welcome. Montenegro will, through the communication with Directorate General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement and Directorate General for Regional Policy of the European Commission, apply for the resources of EU Solidarity Fund, so that we can overcome the consequences of the epidemic as effective as possible”, Drljević told Pobjeda.

Our portal reported last month that the European Commission submitted a proposal to amend the existing legislation on EU Solidarity Fond to the Council and the European Parliament on 13 March. The amended version came to force on 30 March.

EU Solidarity Fund was established in 2002, but has so far only used in situations of big natural disasters such as floods, storms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, forest fires and droughts.

So far, Serbia has registered 1908 COVID-19 cases and 51 deaths; Montenegro has 223 cases and 2 deaths. The countries have been negotiating their accession to the EU since 2014 and 2012, respectively.