A groundbreaking idea for countermeasures for future pandemics

Open letter to:

 

H.E. Ursula von der Leyen

President of the European Commission

cc:

H.E. Jens Stoltenberg

Secretary General of NATO

cc: 

H.E. Josep Borrell Fontelles 

HRVP

cc: 

Deputy Secretary General of NATO Mircea Geoana

Commissioner Stella Kyriakides

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel

Mr. Benjamin Hartmann, I.D.E.A.

 

Dear President von der Leyen:

Dear HRVP:

Dear Commissioners:

 

RE: request of EC for opinion on COVID-19 / (Mr. Hartmann, March 16 letter)

Thank you for asking for our opinion.

There is an army of respectful actors today, including in our Governments, contributing to cope with the COVID-19 crisis. To their competent voices we have little to add right now, post factum.

Based on the 30-year experience of www.Atlantic-Club.org in triggering pan-European security policies and implement innovative solutions (including in cooperation with the EC) we take this call of duty to suggest to EC some preventive measures to reduce the future risks of repeating this pandemic with another virus or likewise pathogen.

As at the time the world  emerged out of the ashes of WWII, we need to exit this current crisis with lessons learned and measures taken. The time to act is now!

We need to urgently adopt new common EU sanitary and human health protecting policy reducing — as much as nature permits — the risk from future repeating of new epidemics. For convenience, we call this future EU policy Health Shield Europe, HeShEu and we suggest that it is implemented in close synergy with NATO. This policy is meant to evolve in the long run as a global one.

Among the various sources of origin of epidemics, we herein address a major one:  animal—to—human transmitted viruses and pathogens due to poor dietary, animal farming, hunting and butchering practices around the globe. All of Ebola, Swine flu, Bird flu, HIV/AIDS, SARS and the COVID-19 are caused by such viruses and they originate from continents outside Europe, mainly from zones characterized by poor water and sanitation conditions, including those featuring “wet markets”. These practices are frequently related to illegal wildlife trafficking and flagrant violation of bio diversity.

HeShEu will reinforce EU’s help to improving where possible these conditions — in line with UNHRC Resolution “The Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation” — while in the same time adopts policy to regulate circulation and exchange of people, goods and businesses with risky zones until the risk is reduced.

After reviewing the global mapping of this sanitary problem, EU should identify few sanitary zones and — depending on the risk they imply — offer assistance and encouragement proportional to the needs of the country and the capacity of EU, such as know—how, education, good practices, problem solving oriented Development Aid.

This will be win-win-win for the entire world with a cost much lower than the cost of today’s war with COVID-19, not even mentioning the totality of saved human lives.

Second, further to this,

 

Dear President von der Leyen:

In parallel with the zone—oriented assistance, HeShEu should provide a real shield to EU.  We need to regulate — zone by zone — the physical exchanges and  kinetic  traffic between EU and countries in this zone.  The higher the risk of becoming emergence spot of epidemic the more precise regulation will be needed.

HeShEu could include a variety of temporary regulatory measures, among which, for:

  • commuting of people (in both directions) providing sort ofmedical visas— as e.g. we need yellow fever vaccines to  prevent importing it to some countries, or HIV test was required in the past as risk reducing factor for international trips;
  • outsourcing of businesses and opening new factories and production lines, in or from of risky zones;
  • cross-border exchange of food and other sensitive substances.

Such measure should expire as soon as the respective governments guarantee improving the risky sanitary standards.

HeShEu should suggest adequate protocols for kinetic exchange of investments, food and risky goods.

In particular, the EU could:

  • strengthen further EU trade policy regulations related to health, sanitary and phytosanitary requirements on imports from third countriesand renegotiate EU trade agreements in individual third countries;
  • extend technical and other assistance to developing countries through its development policy to upgrade their capacity to meet the increased high level of health, sanitary and phytosanitary requirements of the EU;

Regarding foreign investment, it is recommendable to critically review the acquisition of national assets in Member States by foreign actors, which could potentially jeopardize their ability to provide sufficient protection for human health, flora and fauna.  Global supply chains and foreign direct investment policies should operate to the mutual advantage of all peoples and nations.

And vice versa, we need to review EU policies for EU investments in third countries vis-a-vis human health risks such investments bear.

In addition to that, a review of Member States’ industrial policies is required in order to ensure a sufficient level of production of vital medicines, devices and equipment. The current pandemic has revealed large deficits and a disturbing reliance on imports.  Here synergy with NATO is highly recommended.

Further, urgent attention should be given to the possibility of creating an EU Buffer Stock of critical equipment and supplies for EU front line services.  We must learn the message from the current crisis and never let supply capacity endanger the lives, welfare and well being of Europe’s citizens and in particular of front line staff who put their health and their lives on the line in times of crisis.

An added value of such set of regulations will be worldwide saving the lives of many domestic and wild animals, including endangered, rare or endemic  species.  Moreover, this will boost business exchange via opening space for food companies with higher hygienic standards to share their know-how, in affordable way, on new markets and help people’s health and life at various spots on the globe.

Another European concern. We, the EU, need adequate protocols addressing uniformly the civil emergency situations, both natural and man-made.

The free movement of people in the EU and the Schengen Zone make it a must that we adopt uniform quarantine regulations, coordinated by the European Commission, sort of Medical Schengen Agreement.

It should include, i.a., common EU regulations vis-a-vis vaccinations and common EU policies preventing the societies from anti-vaccers’ fake news and dangerous practices (the minimum that could be done is to ask them paying the adequate price of their medicare, exactly as speeding drivers pay higher insurances.)

We urge EC to suggest such uniform protocols for the EU itself while drafting HeShEu.

Once we agree on HeShEu on a EU level, we should offer it to engage sanitary likeminded countries from all over the globe as a basis for agreement on joint global action plan with them.

As a third parallel avenue.  Appreciating the current tendency of NATO’s engagement with the COVID—19 crisis, EU and its Member States should request NATO to include epidemic threat higher on its security agenda and in this concrete moment invoke Article 5.  As we remember, after 9/11 President Bush was receptive to European voices  which convinced him for invoking Article 5.

EU and NATO should develop synchronized protocols for prevention and reaction to epidemics and other civil emergency scenarios.  Today, the 2015 Bill Gates TED Talk warning for dangers of epidemics https://bit.ly/2UXPxYs is as valid as 5 years ago.  May we turn his wisdom into action plan and do it now!

HeShEu should be developed in cooperation with OECD, WHO, FAO, the Joint FAO/WHO Program on Food Standards, Codex Alimentarius Commission and related stakeholders under the leadership of the Commission and its relevant bodies, in synergy with the European Green Deal as both, golden standard and long term action plan to implement it globally.

EU should suggest to UN to adapt the initiative as a global one — HeShWorld — and to include it among its Sustainable Development Goals and prioritize the dream of achieving it.

In parallel, we suggest that EU urge G-7, G-20, FAO,  WHO, OSCE and other relevant organizations to strengthen  multilateral regulations to echo this process accordingly.

To conclude: on the tragic day of 9/11 NATO and the EU were negotiating their “Big Bang” and 5th Enlargements, and some of our countries were on the UN Security Council.

The lesson we learned from 9/11: we need to expect the threats which we do not imagine today. The newest proof of this rule is demonstrated right now by COVID-19 which also shows the devastating and paralyzing effect of the bio weapons. The use of the latter — we must be sure! — have just become the dream of our known and unknown enemies. They observe now that in order to conquer us, they do not need a kinetic attack against us: they could just paralyze us with the next bio weapon.    Therefore, before their dreams become true,

 

Dear President von der Leyen:

As a more general conclusion of the current and similar situations in the past, we suggest that you create a high level Advisory Council on Unimaginable Threats and Emergencies, ACUTE, in the spirit of multiple suggestions and solutions offered by variety of world NGOs, including of Marc Goodman’s www.futurecrimesbook.com or of the www.Atlantic-Club.org in the past three decades.  ACUTE should have the imagination of Jules Verne to advise EU on unimaginable but still very real future.

Our team of signatories of this letter is at your disposal for further brainstorming of any of the ideas above and their future implementation.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Solomon Passy

Founding President (1990–) www.Atlantic-Club.org

Foreign Minister (2001–2005)

Chairman of UN Security Council (2002, 2003)

OSCE Chairman-in-Office (2004)

Bulgaria’s Nominee for NATO Secretary General (2009)

 

Ambassador Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo

Acting Secretary General of NATO (2003–2004)

Deputy Secretary General of NATO (2001–2007)

Italy

 

Cyril Svoboda

Deputy Prime Minister (2002–2004)

Minister of Foreign Affairs (2002–2006)

Minister of Regional Development (2009)

Minister without Portfolio (2007–2009)

Minister of Interior (1998)

Czech Republic

 

Dick Roche

Minister for European Affairs (2002–2004, 2007–2011)

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (2004–2007)

Ireland

 

Franco Frattini

Vice President EU Commission (2004–2008)

Foreign Minister (2002–2004, 2008–2011)

Italy’s Nominee for NATO Secretary General (2014)

 

Gergana Passy

Bulgarian EU Minister (2007–2009)

Founding President Digital National Alliance

 

Hans van Baalen

ALDE Party President

Member EU Parliament (2009–2019)

The Netherlands

 

Prof. Dr. Ioan Mircea Pascu

Defence Minister (2000–2004)

Vice President EU Parliament (2014–2019)

Member of EU Parliament (2007–2019)

Romania

 

Noëlle Lenoir

Minister for Europe (2002–2004)

Judge on the French Constitutional Court (1992–2001)

France

 

Prof. Dr. Ognyan Gerdzhikov

Prime Minister (2017)

Speaker of the Bulgarian Parliament (2001–2005)

 

Prof. Dr. Plamen Panayotov

Deputy Prime Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration (2003–2005), Bulgaria

 

Rosen Plevneliev

President of the Republic of Bulgaria (2012–2017)

 

AND THE BIOMEDICAL TEAM OF:

 

Prof. Assen Baltov, MD, PhD

CEO / University Hospital Pirogov

President / Bulgarian Orthopaedic and Traumatology Association

 

Prof. Nikolay Gabrovsky, MD, DMedSc

President / Bulgarian Society of Neurosurgery

VP Bulgarian Medical Association

 

Prof. George Miloshev, PhD

Head / Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, LMG

Institute of Molecular Biology, IMB

Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BAS

 

Assoc. Prof. Milena Georgieva, PhD, PI

LMG, IMB, BAS

Academic advisor at ENAGO Academy, USA

 

Prof. Diana Adlienė PhD

NATO SPS Expert

Head of Physics Department

Kaunas University of Technology

Lithuania

 

Dr. Peter Markov, MD, DPhil

Expert in Viral Epidemiology and Emerging Infections

Founding Member www.Atlantic-Club.org

Sweden

 

WITH THE ASSOCIATED SUPPORT OF:

 

Ambassador Elena Poptodorova

Vice-President Atlantic Treaty Association,

Brussels

 

Ekaterina Dimitrova

Secretary General Youth ATABG

 

Ambassador Biserka Benisheva

www.PanEuropa.bg

 

Zdravka Evtimova

President PEN Club Bulgaria

 

AND PUBLIC OUTREACH REINFORCED BY:

Maxim Behar

President of World Communications Forum Association, Davos, Switzerland

President (2015–2017) of ICCO, the World’s PR Organisation, official partner of the Council of Europe, London, UK