Thursday, 26 March 2020
Appeal to assistance to the Western Balkans region in combating the COVID-19 pandemic
Dear Madam Von der Leyen,
Dear Mister Sassoli,
Aware of the complexity of the current situation and the problems we all face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this joint appeal is intended to highlight the currently very unfavorable and challenging situation of the Western Balkans region, both in terms of numbers infected, as well as the insufficient health equipment in the region necessary for the successful prevention, treatment and stopping of further spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In this respect, we now, more than ever, need solidarity, a coordinated approach and joint action.
Therefore, we urge that the Western Balkans, which has always clearly and unequivocally emphasized that it belongs to the European family, 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 and the supply of necessary equipment and medical devices, part of a Common European Response in terms of combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this regard, in position of Speakers from the Western Balkans, we appeal you to take the following measures, having in mind our common future, equality and solidarity:
- to consider inclusion of the Western Balkans region in the EU+ export authorization scheme;
- to enable the Western Balkans region, if it deems necessary, to accede to the Joint Procurement Agreement for Medical Countermeasures and thus to participate in the joint procurement of medical and protective equipment to combat the COVID-19 pandemic;
- to consider allowance of Western Balkans region to divert existing funds from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II) to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as using of all other funds available from the various EU funds available for this purpose.
In addition to the proposed measures, on behalf of our parliaments, we welcome any type of assistance that the European Union is ready to make available to the Western Balkans region.
Distinguished President of the European Commission, respected President of the European Parliament, we are convinced that this appeal will have a positive outcome, because we in the Western Balkans, i.e. Southeastern Europe, truly believe in European solidarity and our common European future.
- Gramoz Ruçi, Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Albania
- Denis Zvizdić, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Dragan Čović, Speaker of the House of Peoples, Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Vjosa Osmani, President of the Assembly of Kosovo1
- Ivan Brajović, President of the Parliament of Montenegro
- Talat Xhaferi, President of the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia
- Maja Gojković, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia
1 *This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.