The governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank says Serbia will not feel the severe consequences of the crisis

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Serbia will not be hit hard by the economic crisis due to the pandemic, but the crisis will affect it, the governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank, Rolf Wenzel, told Radio Free Europe.
He predicted an economic downturn in the first half of 2020 in many European countries, especially those that depend on tourism, and noted that it is uncertain how quickly European countries will get out of the crisis.
According to Wenzel, European institutions have clearly shown support for the Western Balkans, and the Council of Europe Development Bank, a financial institution with 41 member states, approved a 200 million euro loan to Serbia last week to support the health sector in the fight against coronavirus.
Wenzel pointed out for RFE that the costs of the Government of Serbia from that loan will include the purchase of protective suits, masks and necessary medical equipment.
“We will now negotiate the terms of the loan, and I hope that we will be able to make the transfer very quickly, in accordance with the rules we have in order to ensure that the money is spent exactly on purpose,” said Wenzel.
Pointing out that all countries will be affected by the crisis caused by the pandemic, he said that Serbia is in a better position, because it does not rely significantly on tourism in economic growth.
“It is clear that Serbia will also have lower economic growth, if not decline. When I look at the figures projected by the International Monetary Fund for 2020, I think we will see a decline in many countries, a decline in economic performance. However, in the second half of 2020 and during 2021, the state will come out of the crisis,” said Wenzel.
He added that Serbia “had strong economic performance, economic growth was good compared to other countries in the region over the past few years, which puts it in a better position in the fight against the crisis caused by the pandemic.”
“But again, I will emphasize, there is great uncertainty in how quickly countries can get out of the crisis, encourage consumption and how quickly economic growth can be successful,” Wenzel said.
He reminded that the Development Bank of the Council of Europe is very active in the health sector of Serbia.
“Last year, we approved a 200 million euro loan and provided expert support for the reconstruction of hospitals across the country. We work very closely with the government and its agencies, especially the finance ministry, to ensure money is spent properly and purposefully,” Wenzel said, N1 reports.

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