Zvizdić and Čović appeal to EU leaders to help the Western Balkans

Zvizdić and Čović appeal to EU leaders to help the Western Balkans

SARAJEVO, March 25 (FENA) – Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina Denis Zvizdić and Speaker of the House of Peoples of the BiH Parliament Dragan Čović together with the Speakers of the Parliaments of the Western Balkans, National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Albania, North Macedonia, the Parliament of Montenegro and the Assembly of Kosovo addressed the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen to help the Western Balkans region in combating the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

“Aware of the complexity of the current situation and the problems we all face as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), with this joint appeal we would like to point to the currently very unfavorable and challenging situation in the Western Balkans region, both in terms of the number of infected , as well as the inadequate provision of health systems in the region with adequate medical equipment and apparatus necessary for the successful prevention, treatment and stopping of further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). In this respect, we now need, more than ever, solidarity, a coordinated approach and joint action,” it is said in the appeal.

They say that they urge that the Western Balkans, which has always clearly and unequivocally emphasized that it belongs to the European family, should be exempted from the decision to restrict the export of medical equipment from the European Union in order to become, through the transfer of experience gained and the necessary equipment and medical supplies, part of a common European response to coping with the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

“In this context, as President and Speakers of the Western Balkans, we urge you, for the sake of our common future, equality and solidarity, to take the following measures: to consider including the Western Balkan region in the EU + export license scheme; to enable the Western Balkans region, if it deems it necessary, to accede to the Joint Procurement Agreement for medical countermeasures and thus to participate in the joint public procurement of medical and protective equipment to combat the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19); to consider allowing the Western Balkans region to divert unspent funds from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II) to combat the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), as well as to use all other funds available from the various EU funds available for this purpose, it is written in the appeal.

In addition to the proposed measures, on behalf of parliaments, they welcome any type of aid that the European Union is prepared to make available to the Western Balkan region.

We are convinced that this appeal will have a positive outcome, because we in the Western Balkans, i.e. Southeast Europe, sincerely believe in European solidarity and our common European future, the appeal concludes.