14:26 GMT29 May 2020
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The European Union allocates up to 1.25 billion euros ($1.38 billion) to support the countries of the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership and help them mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission said on Monday.

    "These are very difficult times not only for the EU, but for our partner countries as well. We are doing all we can to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on human lives and livelihoods. We are responding both to the immediate needs of the health systems, as well as longer-term needs to the most vulnerable groups in society", Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said.

    The aid to Western Balkan states includes up to 38 million euros for urgent needs of the healthcare sector, with another 374 million euros to be redistributed for the region's social and economic recovery from the epidemic in the longer perspective, the commission said.

    The recipients include Albania, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, partially-recognized Kosovo, and Serbia, the region's most affected country so far.

    The Eastern Partnership states — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine — will receive 140 million euros for the most urgent needs and up to 700 million euros to deal with the consequences of the coronavirus crisis, the commission said.

    aid, coronavirus, COVID-19, Balkans, European Union
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