"The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented and the consequences are all-encompassing. That is why we need to find the most effective and good ways to help our citizens and economies to overcome the crisis and restore their normal lives as much as possible. "


This is what Prime Minister Boyko Borissov stated in his speech during the Summit of the heads of government of the countries of the Central European Initiative (CEI), which was held via video conference.


The discussions focused on the health, economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as possible joint recovery actions of the CEI countries.


Prime Minister Borissov told his counterparts that national measures were the first response to the infection, but regional and global cooperation is essential to successfully tackling the short-term and long-term effects of the coronavirus.


"The Central European Initiative as a platform for regional cooperation with a long tradition and operational capacity can make a valuable contribution to our joint efforts in the battle with COVID-19," the Bulgarian Prime Minister said. He emphasized the importance of common action, cooperation and solidarity, which are of key importance today. "The current situation shows how connected and interdependent we are, not only in the EU, but also with partners outside of it, especially from neighboring regions," said Prime Minister Boyko Borissov during the video conference.


The Prime Minister was certain that with the advent of the virus, the primary priority for all was to preserve human life and health, but at the same time to actively work to maintain the flow of people and goods within what was deemed necessary and possible. "The establishment of 'green corridors' guaranteeing the transit of basic goods and equipment within the EU and neighboring countries was crucial," said Prime Minister Borissov. He added that in the spirit of solidarity, Bulgaria has assisted its partners in ensuring the return of their citizens. In several humanitarian operations, our state has supported the transit and repatriation of both EU citizens and citizens of Serbia, the Republic of North Macedonia and Montenegro.


"Due to the timely and strict restrictive measures, Bulgaria has managed to limit the spread of the infection. Now that we are all starting to discuss strategies and plans to ease the measures, we must remain vigilant and monitor the situation," Borissov told other CEI leaders.


The following 17 countries are the members of CEI: nine from the EU (Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia), five from the Western Balkans (Montenegro, Serbia, the Republic of North Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina) and three from Eastern Europe, subject to the EU Eastern Partnership (Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus).