Remarks by Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi in Sarajevo in the framework of his mission to the Western Balkans

Chairman Tegeltija, (Austrian Foreign) Minister Schallenberg,

I am very happy to be here. This is a big day. It shows that we care. We care about this region, we care about Bosnia and Herzegovina, standing by the country since the very beginning of this pandemic.

This is the next leg of our common journey, hopefully out of the pandemic. It’s a very important moment as we will start to help with the vaccination campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Our help is going to help you to provide vaccines for health care workers, who are in the frontline in fighting the pandemic.

These doses that we are delivering today will help the medical workers in Bosnia and Herzegovina get their first vaccination. This is a security for them, this is a security for the population in its entirety.

They will receive the second doses the next month. And we are here to deliver all together 651.000 doses to the entire region of the Western Balkans. Bosnia and Herzegovina will receive over 200.000 vaccines only through this scheme. Together with the COVAX initiative, where the European Union is the biggest donor still, we are delivering almost one million doses of vaccines for the entire region.

And this is only the beginning. This is the beginning because we need to have vaccinated everyone and we are ready to continue help Bosnia and Herzegovina in that fight.

I have to say that it wasn’t an easy task to accomplish, but we have managed and I am very grateful to Minister Schallenberg and also to Chancellor Kurz who have been on our side all the way in this struggle. They have been instrumental to make it happen. This is why we are very happy we are delivering these vaccines together, to bring a very strong message: Europe cares!

Thank you!