Belgrade, 11th September 2020 – The Ministry of the Interior (MoI) has been ceremonially presented today with two transport vehicles (Fiat Doblo Cargo Maxi) worth 45,000 euros, so that this Ministry could continue to provide efficient, timely and quality services to the population of Serbia in the fight against the Covid-19 virus.

The vehicles in question are a part of a broader donation of the Government of the Kingdom of Norway, the overall value of which amounts to 84,000 EUR approximately, intended for the Government of the Republic of Serbia, within the framework of a project initiated in May this year, realised by the Ministry of European Integration (MEI) and the United Nations Development  Programme (UNDP), with a view to mitigating the consequences of Covid-19 virus pandemic.

In view of the fact that the lack of protective equipment was recognised from the very beginning of the pandemic as one of the main threats to public health, within the framework of the same project, during the months of June and July, the MoI received donations for the purpose of protecting the health of its employees in the workplace, including hand disinfectants and 30 backpack sprayers for disinfecting rooms, five machines for cleaning floors and 98 containers for safe food transport.

“This pandemic serves as a reminder that in times of crisis we must be united. Norway is very satisfied with its cooperation with the UNDP, with a view to contributing to the important work of the Ministry of the Interior, whose role is crucial during this difficult period. This equipment and these supplies will be of direct use to some of the most vulnerable groups in society, making sure that they can receive critical services in a safe manner. Norway has been continuously supporting Serbia from the early phase of the breaking out of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the procurement of the most urgently needed medical and protective equipment, which was carried out very successfully, and I am grateful to the Government of Serbia for making our cooperation very fruitful indeed. Close relations between Norway and Serbia are intensifying and are based on the long-lasting friendship and solidarity of our peoples”, as pointed out by Stefan Almehagen Sandstad, the Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway in the Republic of Serbia.

The Assistant Minister of the Interior and the Head of the Sector for International Cooperation, European Affairs and Planning Zoran Lazarov pointed out that this donation on the part of the Kingdom of Norway was complementary with the efforts and activities of the Minister of the Interior Nebojša Stefanović, PhD, aimed at ensuring the protection of the MoI employees, as well as the citizens of the Republic of Serbia, from the Corona virus.

“The Ministry of the Interior strongly supports international cooperation with all countries. Our cooperation with the Kingdom of Norway, our partner and collaborator of many years in various spheres of the reform process, and also with the UNDP, is at a very high level indeed”, Mr Lazarov said.

He thanked Norway for this donation and reminded those present that this country had significantly supported the strengthening of the capacities of the Ministry of the Interior in the domain of forensics, anticorruption, human resources management, public procurement, as well as the reconstruction and equipping of the Centre for Basic Police Training.

In the words of Mihajlo Dašić, the acting Assistant Minister in the Sector for Programmes of Transborder and Transnational Cooperation within the MoI, “Today’s event once again shows the closeness of our relations with the Kingdom of Norway and presents us with an opportunity for thanking this country for its continual support that contributes to Serbia’s social-economic development and to carrying out important reforms in the process of Serbia’s European integration. It is this that we particularly wish to point out, in view of the fact that Norway has manifested solidarity with our citizens in the most difficult situations that this country has found itself in over the past few years, from the catastrophic floods of 2014 to the breaking out of the health crisis brought about by the outbreak of the Corona virus epidemic. We have received significant financial assistance for the procurement of ventilators, intensive care monitors and masks. Also, owing to the assistance received from Norway, we have procured food and hygiene packages that have been distributed to the most vulnerable social groups throughout Serbia.

Apart from this procurement of equipment and vehicles in partnership with the MoI, within the framework of the donation provided by Norway the UNDP has also had excellent cooperation with the MoI in the establishment of the online platform “Be a Volunteer” during the first months of the Covid crisis. With their support, together with the Office for IT and eGovernment, we have made a safe and secure network with over 7,000 volunteers who have provided help to persons over 65 years of age in 27 municipalities throughout Serbia”, emphasised Anas Fayyad Qarman, the UNDP Serbia Deputy Resident Representative. 

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