“A poll conducted in December last year showed that many Serbs believe that Russia or China were the largest donors to their country in the past two decades, while in fact the EU has given about a hundred times more than anyone else, wrote by The Guardian.
The British publication failed to clarify what is included in this “hundred times”, but noted that for China, cooperation with Serbia and other countries in the fight against coronavirus is a way to remove the label “countries — causes of the epidemic” from itself, replacing it with “ the country that won the epidemic. ” The Russian side, writes The Guardian, “only” sent a team of military disinfection specialists and related equipment that they met in Belgrade “with fanfares”.
“The European Union was slow and awkward, it often happens to him, it cannot be as fast and interventionist as China or Russia,” The Guardian laments. Now let’s try to summarize “slowness and clumsiness”, on the one hand, “speed and interventionism,” on the other, but without the help of the British.
“From morning till night, you worked side by side with your friends from Serbia,” President Alexander Vučić thanked the military from the Russian contingent of the Russian Chemical-Chemical Base. — Serbia will never forget this. In cooperation with the Serbian units of radioactive biological and chemical defense, you were able to take control of the epidemiological situation in cities such as Belgrade, Kikinda, Valevo, Chupria, Nis and others. I admire your work, the residents of Serbian cities and villages where the Russian team worked felt more confident. ”
“Our Crisis Center works 24 hours a day, we are constantly in touch with colleagues from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Defense,” commented on the actions of Russian epidemiologists in Serbia, Colonel of the Russian Medical Service Rustam Aminiev. — We monitor the situation throughout Serbia, monitor the number of patients, the number of hospital workers, determine what kind of help is needed, and meet with colleagues from Serbia to determine which city to go to. We visited 20 cities, general hospitals, motels, gerontological centers. ”
In total, Moscow sent 11 (eleven) Il-76 aircraft to the Balkans with equipment and special equipment and 87 specialists.
“Serbia leads in the number of tests … if you look at the countries of the Western Balkans, as well as Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, today we are one of the best in this area. And with the new capabilities we will become one of the first, ” said Serbian Prime Minister Anna Brnabich, speaking at the opening of the Fiery Eye bacteriological laboratory, created to fight against coronavirus.
The laboratory was opened at the Clinical Center of Serbia in Belgrade, the technology and equipment for it was provided by the Chinese State Research Institute BGI Group from Beijing, and the construction of the facility was funded by one of the largest investors in the Serbian economy — Zi Jin Chinese Corporation. From the moment Chinese equipment was delivered to Serbian soil, only 12 days passed before the presentation of the laboratory …
“We plan to start research on the detection of antibodies,” says Brnabić. “Serbia will receive the largest and most advanced bacteriological laboratory in Europe.”
Now the Serbian leadership is fighting the epidemic according to the Chinese method, which has shown its effectiveness in Wuhan: mass tests, strict quarantine, instant hospitalization at the first sign of the disease. “So the Chinese defeated the virus in only one city, but in terms of population it is comparable to Serbia,” says Vučić.
And what did the European Union do for Serbia when it «slowly and awkwardly» recovered from the first shock of the epidemic?
“Serbia will receive assistance from the European Union, in particular a financial package of 93 million euros for the purchase and transportation of equipment and materials for emergency medical care, as well as for economic recovery,” said Sam Fabrizi, head of the EU Delegation to Serbia. “Solidarity is an instrument, not a competition.” So a generous European official hinted to Belgrade that there was no need to change friends, even if they did not initially respond to requests for help. However, other conclusions were made in Serbia.
“The European Union sent exactly as much help to Serbia as it could, and at that moment when it could, and we are grateful,” said Ivica Dacic, Serbian Foreign Minister. “But truth be told, we expected more and faster.”
However, “bigger and faster” did not work. President Vučić refused to take the “anti-crisis” EU loan offered by Serbia through the IMF. “Why should we take another 600 or 700 million euros if we have already taken 100 million plus 200 million euros from the World Bank and the Central European Bank at 0.5 percent, that is, on the most favorable conditions in the medium and long term. Why take short-term loans to quickly destroy our economy? ” — said the Serbian president.
Belgrade knows well that they would ask for IMF money in Brussels. In March, Tanya Fayon, head of the European Parliament’s delegation on relations with Serbia, unceremoniously invited Belgrade to open quarantined borders and criticized the decision of the Serbian leadership to postpone the April local and parliamentary elections. Her suggestions were ignored. And in China at that time, Yugoslav films were broadcast on TV channels and showed reports on the struggle of Serbia with the coronavirus; Chinese organizations collected assistance for the Serbs, experts predicted that after the epidemic, the invasion of Chinese tourists awaits the Serbian land — Serbia is so popular in the PRC today. Vučić said that they talked with Xi Jinping about the fight against the virus until late at night.
Of course, Serbia, which is located in the geographic environment of NATO member states, is unlikely to reorient itself to the East and abandon its course towards the European Union. However, she certainly will not look only at the West.