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Within the framework of the videoconference of 19 March 2020, held between Directors General of the Police and Border Services of the Republic of Austria, Hungary, the Italian Republic, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Slovenia, representatives presented national police responses in regard to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) across Europe.

All participants highlighted the need for a strong response to the new challenge and exchange of practices of national border and health control measures.

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Of most importance is also to ensure smooth movement of important goods in the region and the supply of essential goods to our citizens. Coordination and joint activities of the responsible services to ensure fast transit of essential goods across our borders is the key issue.

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During the discussion the high representatives:

  • agreed on the need to regularly communicate and exchange information between chiefs of police, and continue holding such videoconferences every few days to ensure timely coordination of measures;
  • agreed that another channel to be used for rapid exchange of information are police attaches deployed in the region as well as 24/7 operational centres, if such are established in the police;
  • underlined the importance of ensuring swift passage of goods transport in the region and the supply of essential goods to our citizens, either through the organization of cargo convoys or the designation of specific routes through countries to ensure the continuous flow of goods traffic;
  • agreed that special attention should be given to transport of medical equipment and goods to ensure their priority passage across borders and, if necessary, by ensuring police escort;
  • expressed the need to regularly exchange information on experience with police measures;
  • agreed that individuals who take advantage of the current situation for their own material gain should be processed as a matter of priority; when such crimes arise, mutual assistance at the top level should be ensured, as well as the adequate exchange of information;
  • emphasised that the current spread of the novel coronavirus has not stopped the migration flows across the Western Balkan route and activities in this regard should continue as before.

The next videoconference will be held on Monday, 23 March 2020.