“It is always a challenge to keep an event going on for more than just a few years and it is rewarding to see the event grow in size and importance. Year after year, the Bled Strategic Forum proves its value and potential, so I simply must take this opportunity to thank all the individuals, institutions and partners who have made 15 editions of the Forum possible,” said Slovenian FM Anže Logar at the opening ceremony of Bled Strategic Forum.
A year ago, he added, this Forum focused on challenges to global stability, sustainable development and economic progress. The possibility of a pandemic stopping the world in its tracks was contained to dystopian novels and blockbuster movies.
“New normality” is a phrase with which, according to Logar, “we try to describe the enormous changes that keep happening – from international politics to completely personal decisions like should I elbow-shake my old friend or I rather stay distant”.
“Economic and trade relations became strained, more competitive, protectionist and unpredictable. The notions of self-sufficiency and economic independence are getting stronger. There is a danger of a purely transactional approach to international relations. In many circles, globalism became a curse word,” Logar said.
According to him, the threats also became hybrid, slowly penetrating our democratic processes. “They moved to the cyber sphere – hacking is not just a hobby for adventurous teenagers, it is a new form of international warfare. And so-called ‘deepfake’ produced by an activist has a potential to stir up even an international conflict”.
The EU should improve its crisis management mechanisms to better respond to crises and challenges, arising from pandemic, cyber threats, or demographic dynamics. EU should increase the resilience towards migration pressures, stemmed by conflicts and climate change.
“We should focus on protecting our democracies, values and freedoms, while also paying respect to our different historical experiences. At the same time, Slovenia firmly believes that the continuation of the EU enlargement process towards the countries of Western Balkans should be a part of the vision of a Union that radiates its attractive power,” he stressed.
We are truly encouraged by the strong agreement on the next Multiannual Financial Framework and, even more importantly, on the Recovery Fund. It proves that political will, common interest and the leading principle of benefit for all are as strong as ever and that the EU can deliver when it is under pressure. But we should be able to be effective also when not subject to such pressure.
“To sum it up: today’s post-COVID world may look different. But the changes are not a surprise – the virus has just helped us see them in a clearer, albeit very painful light. I want to pay my respects to more than 800,000 victims of the virus worldwide. They are the wake-up call that we simply must hear. We must see it as an incentive to adapt, to be inventive, and to find mutual interest with our closest and most reliable partners,” Logar said, among other things./ibna