Serbia

Call on international donors to help Serbia

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Belgrade, 22 May 2014 – Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic stated today that Serbia has fulfilled the condition for obtaining aid from the EU Solidarity Fund because the damage it suffered from the floods, according to current estimates, exceeds €174.5 million, or 0.64% of the GDP, which is a condition for receiving aid from this fund.

Speaking at the coordination meeting of international donors for raising aid for the clean-up of consequences of the floods in Serbia, Vucic said that the main objective of this meeting is to inform international development partners about the extent and consequences of this natural disaster, as well as about further activities.

He stated that Serbia has more than 140 collective centres that take care of the evacuated population, of which 47 are located in Belgrade while the remaining 93 are throughout Serbia.

A total of 31,879 people were moved out of their houses, 1,763 facilities were destroyed or damaged and 2,260 facilities inundated, excluding Obrenovac. The floods hit 39 municipalities and 1,643,832 inhabitants.

On all the motorways, regional and local roads, 30 bridges collapsed and 50 were damaged, while on the municipal and unclassified roads more than 200 bridges were destroyed or damaged.

The Prime Minister explained that due to landslides more than 20 classified roads and several hundred municipal and unclassified roads were damaged, and the greatest damage in financial terms was caused on Corridor 10 near Dimitrovgrad, where the damage is estimated at over €10 million.

Vucic announced that the reconstruction of the country will be legally prepared within the next ten days and told international donors that the damage assessment will be done in a transparent and accountable manner.

If we want to have economic recovery of the country in the years to come, we will have to ask countries and donors of the development aid to help us with their knowledge, funds and other forms of assistance, the Prime Minister said.

He reiterated that this assistance will not be abused and that all funds obtained from the donors will be displayed on the website of the Ministry of Finance in a few days.

Vucic thanked all those who have sent aid and stated that Serbia will know to respect that and repay it if necessary.

Minister without portfolio responsible for European integration Jadranka Joksimovic conveyed the plea of the Serbian government to the international community to activate all means of assistance available in view of the volume of the damage caused.

Joksimovic explained that the government´s intention is to retain and strengthen the existing mechanisms for coordination of international assistance.

The European Integration Office, as she pointed out, is making a preliminary intersection of international aid, and it already started preparations for applying for available funds.

She explained that the plan for the rehabilitation of flood consequences will be made according to priorities.

In addition, the plan is that the use of money be transparent, which involves regular notifications about spending as well as audit and financial control if necessary.

A responsible job is ahead of us that requires good organisation and strategic planning in a very short period of time, Joksimovic declared.

She recalled that she visited Brussels yesterday together with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic, where they were informed by European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn that Serbia has ten weeks to make the evaluation of the flood damage.

At the same time, the European Commission promised it will prepare its own mechanisms so that if Serbia applies for aid in July it can receive it in September, Joksimovic stated.

Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport declared that the EU committed itself to cooperation with other partners so as to support efforts of the Serbian government in the fight against consequences of the floods.

Addressing the participants in the meeting, he underlined that everyone was impressed by the swift and well-coordinated action of the Serbian government to the disastrous floods that hit Serbia, and by the massive response of citizens who rushed to help those affected.

Joksimovic explained that the government´s intention is to retain and strengthen the existing mechanisms for coordination of international assistance.

The European Integration Office, as she pointed out, is making a preliminary intersection of international aid, and it already started preparations for applying for available funds.

She explained that the plan for the rehabilitation of flood consequences will be made according to priorities.

In addition, the plan is that the use of money be transparent, which involves regular notifications about spending as well as audit and financial control if necessary.

A responsible job is ahead of us that requires good organisation and strategic planning in a very short period of time, Joksimovic declared.

She recalled that she visited Brussels yesterday together with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic, where they were informed by European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn that Serbia has ten weeks to make the evaluation of the flood damage.

At the same time, the European Commission promised it will prepare its own mechanisms so that if Serbia applies for aid in July it can receive it in September, Joksimovic stated.

Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport declared that the EU committed itself to cooperation with other partners so as to support efforts of the Serbian government in the fight against consequences of the floods.

Addressing the participants in the meeting, he underlined that everyone was impressed by the swift and well-coordinated action of the Serbian government to the disastrous floods that hit Serbia, and by the massive response of citizens who rushed to help those affected.

Davenport pointed out that Serbia will receive significant funds from the pre-accession assistance and the EU Solidarity Fund, whose exact amount will be known after the evaluation of the damage is made, while EU member states will help Serbia through bilateral aid too.

Serbia could also count on a short-term aid in the amount of €30 million from the EU pre-accession funds.

Although Serbia is not a member of the EU, it has access to the EU Solidarity Fund as a candidate country, he stated and recalled that the EU has been providing a comprehensive aid to Serbia from the very beginning of the emergency situation.

On 14 May, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina was activated, 19 countries offered aid, the EU provided assistance in the form of high-capacity water pumps and generators, and the focus was placed on the power system as the matter of vital importance, Davenport stated.

In addition, a team of 200 people has been made which will help the Serbian government in the aid control, he said and announced the visit of European Commissioner Hahn to Belgrade on 24 May.

Speaking about the assessment of humanitarian aid on the preliminary basis, Davenport said that there is an urgent need for food, drinking water, water purification means and toiletries.

After these needs are met, the focus will be preparation of the recovery of the state and the introduction of measures for flood prevention in the region.

Davenport voiced hope that Serbia will get considerable aid from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and European Investment Bank, in the form of additional loans for rehabilitation.

The gathering, which began with a moment of silence for those who lost their lives in the floods, is being attended by the donors of development aid who have been helping Serbia for many years, representatives of the embassies of 27 countries of Europe, North America and Asia accredited in Serbia and of the EU Delegation in Serbia, the Council of Europe, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, the World Bank, the Office of the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations and the German Development Bank.

The meeting, held at the Palace of Serbia, has been organised by the Office of the Minister without portfolio responsible for European integration and the European Integration Office, which is coordinator of the international development aid and is in charge of determining priorities for financing from IPA funds.