Stronger Together: The EU is helping save lives and jobs across Bosnia and Herzegovina

The European Union continues to support Bosnia and Herzegovina’s healthcare institutions and businesses, amid a situation of increasing numbers of new COVID-19 cases in the country.

Ambassador Johann Sattler, Head of the European Union Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH, visited Banja Luka on 3 November and handed over 400,000 protective medical masks and 18,000 disposable protective suits to the Republika Srpska Public Health Institute in Banja Luka. This medical equipment, worth over €144,000, is part of the European Union’s comprehensive assistance for urgent medical needs in the country being provided since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We hope that this equipment will help medical workers to successfully overcome the great challenges that lie ahead. Today’s equipment is part of an aid package for medical institutions throughout the Republika Srpska, with a total value of over €1.4 million. Our help is an expression of solidarity and good neighbourly relations. We deliver equipment on a daily basis and will continue to do so,” said Ambassador Sattler during the handover, where he was joined by EUFOR Commander Major General Reinhard Trischak.

Guided by the priorities of ​​saving lives and protecting citizens, the European Union has allocated €7 million to procure high-quality protective medical equipment and medical equipment to improve the health care of BiH citizens and help medical staff cope with the challenges of the pandemic as successfully as possible.

The EU’s support to Bosnia and Herzegovina in response to COVID-19 also includes €73.5 million in grants to help the economy and preserve jobs, and an additional €250 million in macro-financial assistance. Through a number of support programmes, SMEs, organisations, farms and companies have received necessary funds to improve production and create new jobs.

The same day, Ambassador Sattler visited the milk processing company Poljorad in Travnik, which received a European Union grant worth €147,000 as part of the EU project EU4Business. The company Poljorad has invested its own funds in the purchase of equipment, improving the quality and safety of production and modernisation of the production plant.

Asim Skrobo, Director of Poljorad, noted that thanks to the support of the European Union, they managed to procure new machines for the production and packaging of finished products, which is very important for the expansion of production capacities and sales. “The specificity of our products is in the origin of the milk that we collect every morning from local farmers from the mountain Vlašić. This means that the raw product must be treated quickly and efficiently and the finished products packed without delay. The results of the investment were felt immediately, as exports increased during the pandemic. With the support of the EU, we have completed a very expensive and important project of building a facility for wastewater treatment and procurement of purifiers, so that the water we discharge after production will be actually drinkable, ” said Skrobo.

The European Union grant will also enable the creation of three new jobs and help the company to preserve the traditional dairy production for which the Travnik area is known. Poljorad is one of a total of 83 projects in the field of tourism, entrepreneurship, agriculture, exports – imports and businesses that have been supported under the EU4Business project since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We are aware of the significant struggle to preserve the economy and the need for a rapid and strong recovery as the pandemic subsides. We have provided large funds for the most vulnerable sectors and we will not stop there. Together, we will find ways to overcome these challenges,” Ambassador Sattler concluded.