The Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Ambassador Oana Kristina Popa and Chief Negotiator Zorka Kordić signed today the Agreement on EU Financial Support to the Health Sector in the Fight against COVID-19. The Union’s € 9.5 million grant is aimed at supporting the health sector after the end of the current health crisis and strengthening its resilience to similar threats in the future. It includes investment in the infrastructure, equipment and human capacity of the Montenegrin health system to control diseases and address health safety issues.
Ambassador Popa emphasized that the agreed EU support today will bring long-term benefits to the Montenegrin health system and the quality of health services offered to citizens.
“This health crisis – no matter how challenging – will pass, but clinics and laboratories will remain. Looking to the future, we want to continue to improve the Montenegrin health system, bringing it closer to European standards. That is what Montenegro deserves and what the essence of the integration process is: improving the quality of life of citizens,” said the EU ambassador.
Chief negotiator Zorka Kordić said Montenegro’s European perspective was strengthened by a structured, targeted and valuable support to the country’s health system, emphasizing that the EU was among the first to recognize the need to help in this part, but also in the long-term economic and social consequences of the pandemic.
“Together with the EU, we are building a sustainable health system: out of a total of 15.5 million euros covered by the Financial Agreement for the IPA 2018 program, seven activities will be financed the implementation of which will raise the quality of services to the European level and ensure the satisfaction of our citizens with health services,” Kordić said.
She pointed out that the process of joining the EU has a transformative character and serves to reform society and improve institutions, knowledge and skills, while the process of implementing such projects seems beneficial to citizens in the long run.
Minister of Health Jelena Borovinić-Bojović emphasized that the pandemic is once again warning humanity that no one is safe if we are not all safe.
“The hand of support and assistance that we are once again receiving from the European Union further highlights how important unity and togetherness are in solving this global problem. The pandemic is here, but one day it will pass and everything that was assigned to us on this occasion through one great effort of solidarity and support of the European Union will remain”, stated Borovinić-Bojović.
This financing agreement provides for the procurement of PCR equipment capable of analyzing a large number of respiratory samples for COVID-19 detection, which will increase the state’s capacity for testing and tracking coronavirus.
Numerous facilities will be built to accommodate medical structures important for the prevention and control of infectious diseases and for the treatment of patients. For the construction of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and Dermato-Venereology, the European Union has allocated a total of 8.5 million euros, including four million euros from this package and 4.5 million euros from previously allocated funds. EU funds will also be used for the construction of a Center for the Control and Prevention of Infectious Diseases with an Emergency Operations Center and the first Level 3 Biosafety Laboratory, while several microbiological laboratories will be renovated and equipped.
The 9.5m-euro support package is part of a larger 53m euro-worth EU grant program to Montenegro. A significant part of the support program, specifically 40.5 million euros, is allocated as direct budget support to mitigate the economic consequences of the pandemic and support the social and economic response of state authorities. /ibna