The Alliance of Anti-Fascist Fighters and Anti-Fascists of the Republic of Croatia (SABA RH) organized an online conference “Pandemic and Security in Europe” on May 5th 2021.
The presentations were prompted by events events related to the coronavirus pandemic, especially in connection with political polarization and geopolitical changes, which did not lose its strength even in times of great global health danger. One part of the panelists also referred to the regional cooperation on the so-called Western Balkans, where several positive examples of mutual assistance have been highlighted, starting with the donation of medical equipment and vaccines, to the facilitation of the travel regime in connection with the upcoming tourist season.
According to Franjo Hubulin, President of SABA RH, although the coronavirus pandemic is one of the greatest dangers facing humanity since the Second World War, even that was not enough to unite the forces of humanity in the fight against this plague. He stressed that the common danger must be addressed jointly.
However, according to his assessment, maintaining the primacy of the West over Russia and China has no price, and therefore a joint and coordinated fight against the pandemic was subordinated to this geopolitical calculation. “The renewed Cold War brought hundreds of thousands of lives to its altar,” Hubulin said, adding, “We are all facing a pandemic.”
Hubulin said that the production and distribution of vaccines is strongly subordinated to political interests. Namely, although fifty countries use the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, its use in a larger part of the European Union is still not approved. Moreover, the procurement of the Russian vaccine has led to a political crisis in some countries, the fall of the government in Slovakia and sharp differences in the Czech Republic and elsewhere.
He stated in the end that the events in India are an indicator of supreme cynicism and cruelty – help arrives slowly and the bonfires on which the bodies of the deceased are burning are a symbol of world disunity and unwillingness to act together.
Former Croatian President Stjepan Mesic pointed out that this conference is one of the attempts to send a message calling for unity. “If this is a global challenge, the answer must also be global,” Mesic underlined.
He pointed out, however, that there are those who want to profit politically in this crisis. He assessed that in the current circumstances, political divisions from the Cold War era should not be projected – “Why look for the enemy in Russia – even though there is no more Bolshevism like that? “Why look for the enemy in China instead of cooperating?” Mesic asked.
According to Vesna Teršelić, the latest wave of the pandemic hit India hard, which was the hardest hit by the epidemic of the Shtan fever of 1918-1919. years. She believes that all resources should now be primarily focused on this area, including vaccines from various manufacturers,
Vidosav Kovacevic of SUBNOR Serbia, Bakir Nakas and Sead Djulic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Andrej Mohar of Slovenia focused on regional, political and health conditions caused by the pandemic. Kovacevic pointed out that Subnor Srbija had to adapt to the new circumstances, and that a large number of activities were postponed. He pointed out that the solidarity shown by the countries in the “Western Balkans” – donations of vaccines to Northern Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro from Serbia, enabling citizens of neighboring countries to be vaccinated in Belgrade, as well as the adoption of minimum restrictions for tourists.
Bakir Nakas pointed out that in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Council of Ministers was primarily in charge of reacting to the pandemic, but that the state level of government had almost completely failed. The activities of the Council of Ministers were aimed at providing vaccines from the Kovaks program, although it was clear that the first doses from this program would not be available until the end of the first quarter. According to him, other countries coped better and placed orders directly from producers, which accelerated the entire procedure. Andrej Mohar criticized the policy of the European Union, which largely neglected the needs of smaller members.
Finally, the importance of the motto “World first” is underlined, which summarizes the call that the global challenge must be addressed by uniting the available forces at the global level.