“European solidarity does not exist…The only country that can help us is China. For the rest of them, thanks for nothing.”
The upset was clear to see as Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić on Sunday blasted the European Union for refusing to export medical equipment to Serbia in the midst of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
Serbia is currently applying to become an E.U. member.
“European solidarity does not exist. That was a fairytale on paper,” Vučić said after proclaiming a state of emergency in his country. “As of today, as you know, we cannot even import goods, according to the European Union’s decisions. [European Commission president] Ursula von der Leyen said this a while ago, we cannot import medical equipment from EU countries.”
Vučić said that because Serbia was unable to bring in E.U. medical equipment, the country could only seek the help of China. The president asked China to send “everything…even to send us doctors, [because] our doctors are already tired.”
“We will be begging [Chinese citizens] to come and help us with everything,” Vučić said.
The E.U. has placed a ban on exports of certain medical equipment to non-E.U. states in an attempt to guard medical supplies.
“Such medical goods [protective equipment] can only be exported to non-EU countries with the explicit authorization of the EU governments,” von der Leyden said on Twitter. “This is the right thing to do because we need that equipment for our health care systems.”
Serbia has confirmed 55 cases of coronavirus with no deaths as of Monday, according to the New York Times. However, the country announced a state of emergency on Sunday and mandated a 14-day quarantine for all Serbian nationals and foreign residents returning from abroad, banning the entry of anyone not authorised to live and work in the country.
European Union countries including Italy, France, and Spain have imposed lockdowns in order to contain the spread of the outbreak.
Many Serbians who live and work in the European Union flocked home over the weekend, although Vucic had requested they avoid traveling to Serbia.
Hundreds of cars created gridlock at the border with Hungary on Sunday where they remained stranded for hours, awaiting entry permits from Serbia’s health authorities.