On Tuesday, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi will visit North Macedonia on the occasion of the delivery of the first COVID-19 vaccines, shared and funded by the European Union.
Austrian EU Minister Karoline Edtstadler will accompany Commissioner Várhelyi to Skopje.
Commissioner Várhelyi will have a meeting with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at the Government and subsequently visit the vaccination centre at the Boris Trajkovski Arena together with PM Zaev and Minister Edtstadler, followed by media statements, the EU Delegation to Skopje said in a press release.
Deputy PM for European Affairs Nikola Dimitrov will also meet Minister Edtstadler, followed by a joint press conference.
As announced by the European Commission and Austria on 20 April, in total 651,000 BioNTech/Pfizer doses will be delivered to the region in weekly instalments from the beginning of May to August. Of these, 119,123 vaccines will be delivered to North Macedonia. These vaccines will help to accelerate vaccination campaigns against Covid 19, to ensure that all frontline medical workers and some of the most vulnerable groups are inoculated.
The vaccines are funded from the €70 million package adopted by the Commission in December 2020 to help cover the cost of vaccines, secured under the EU’s advance purchase agreements for the Western Balkan partners. Austria has facilitated the sharing of these EU funded vaccines through legal arrangements with the producer and each Western Balkan partner.
The EU has demonstrated solidarity and care with the countries from the Western Balkans region since the onset of the pandemic. For North Macedonia, the EU has made available some 230 million EUR for emergency healthcare supplies and in support of mitigating the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, reads the press release.