On 7 April 2020, The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria launched a new initiative called Health Shield Europe (#HeShEu). The initiative proposes the creation of a new EU common strategy, incorporating preventive measures aimed at reducing the risk of recurrence of pandemics such as the current one with other pathogens and viruses.
To this end, #HeShEu proposes in-depth EU coordination of national health and sanitation policies, especially in the context of quarantine, as well as the creation of a European Advisory Council on Unimaginable Threats to advise EU’s leadership.
The idea was developed following a brainstorming request from a think thank to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Layen, in response to which The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, along with a number of Bulgarian and European politicians, public figures and scientists, wrote an open letter to Ursula von Del Layen, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and other senior NATO and EU officials.
The policy described in the letter is designed to be implemented in close cooperation with NATO and global organizations within the UN system and provides support for countries-potential points of epidemic emergence. This would be achieved through global mapping, on the basis of which the EU would identify individual sanitary areas and, depending on the risks they pose, offer assistance and incentives according to the needs of the countries concerned and EU capacity, including good practices, know-how , education and development assistance focused on solving this problem.
According to the authors of the letter, this will be beneficial for the whole world and will cost much less than the price the world is paying today in the battle against Covid-19, without even mentioning the number of lives saved.
In addition to the assistance targeted at the respective sanitary areas, #HeShEu proposes to build a real shield around the EU, through which to regulate, zone by zone, physical exchanges and kinetic traffic between the EU and the countries in the sanitary areas, with more precise regulations imposed where the risk of outbreaks is greater.
The authors also propose an idea for an agreement called “Medical Schengen”, which guarantees uniform quarantine regulations, coordinated by the European Commission, for the free movement of persons within the EU. This agreement should include the necessary vaccinations and common policies to protect societies from the fake news and dangerous practices of anti-vaxxers. According to the letter, the minimum that can be done in this direction is to ask them to pay the cost of their treatment, just as dangerous drivers pay more expensive insurance.
Among the signatories of the letter from the Bulgarian side are the President of the Atlantic Club Dr. Solomon Passy, the former Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, the former interim Prime Minister Ognian Gerdjikov, the Director of the Pirogov Hospital Prof. Dr. Assen Baltov, the Head of the Molecular Genetics Lab Prof. Georgi Miloshev, the Chairman of the Bulgarian Society of Neurosurgery Prof. Dr. Nikolai Gabrovski.
Among the foreign politicians and public figures who are signatories are former European Commission Vice-President and former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, the Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), the Dutchman Hans van Baalen, former Vice-President of the Romanian Parliament Mircea Pascu, former French Minister of European Affairs Noel Lenoir, former Irish Minister for European Affairs Dick Roche and a number of others.
To see the full text of the letter, follow the link.