Borissov calls for common European medical shield

We need accord in order to be strong in handling the crisis, he said

Creating an EU medical shield – i.e. a common protocol for action featuring coulour codes of red, yellow and green denoting levels of severity – is what PM Boyko Borissov urged for in his speech at the Bled Strategic Forum in the Slovenian resort town of Bled, which brought together Central and Southeastern European leaders. The main topic of discussion was the future of the community post Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bulgarian premier made remarks twice during the forum.

Borissov believes in the need of a common medical protocol so that each EU country knows how to proceed under certain conditions and follow the same plan of action. Borissov reiterated that there is no better place than the EU and that the European Commission (EC) has done a great deal of work, but at the same time reminded of the upcoming flu season and the migration waves observed in spots.

“We need a common European protocol that will answer questions like whether we should be opening schools,” he noted, adding that the protocol would also provide clarity on whether kindergartens will take children, whether sports events will be allowed in the EU, etc. He reminded that each EU Member State has to secure a green corridor for heavy-duty trucks. Borissov stressed the need for a larger-scale approach when it comes to PPE, vaccines and therapeutics for the novel coronavirus.

“Beyond the thousands of human lives and jobs lost in addition to money, we also lost the most important fight – for the mental health of people,” Borissov said. He noted that the sense of security and mental health of people are of the utmost importance, adding that people wake up every day looking for assurance. “And what do we tell them every day – that the second wave will be worse than the first,” Borissov said. On that score, he highlighted the fact that there are protests all over Europe whilst people have no clue about the level of spread of the coronavirus. There is no vaccine yet either.

Borissov reminded the global response initiative launched by EC President Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen as relates to the coronavirus, which raised nearly €16bn from the first relief campaign in May 2020 until early August. “This is a strong signal for the need of global solidarity,” he said, commending the efforts.

“We all want to be better prepared and more effective in our crisis response. The EU needs solidarity and accord between Member States, so it can be strong in tackling the crisis,” the premier insisted, commenting that the challenges we face now require us to be more united than ever.

He reminded his fellow leaders that the pandemic has put enormous strain on the healthcare and economic systems and continues to be a source of instability and uncertainty. “We were shown to be unprepared for a pandemic. In March, Member States were in a race to see who will close their borders first. Bulgaria showed solidarity, we started making protective suits, face shields, facemasks and sending PPE to every European country that needed it,” Borissov said in his speech, noting that Bulgaria has done a good job of handling the pandemic.

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