The Balkan Trust for Democracy was a strategic partner of the fourth edition of the Belgrade Security Forum, “Europe 2014: Closure and/or New Beginning,” held September 30-October 2 2014.
The Forum brought together prominent officials from national, foreign and international institutions, independent experts and academics, civil society representatives and journalists to discuss topics related to security and foreign policy, including the Transatlantic and Eurasian agenda, EU neighborhood policy, gender in conflict and in peacekeeping, migration, the impact of the Ukraine crisis in and beyond Europe, and regional cooperation in emergency response. A total of 500 people attended the Forum.
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić delivered the conference’s opening remarks, commenting, “We do not need leaders in Western Balkans, but cooperation and collaboration between countries, more infrastructural projects and connections between people.” Mr. Vučić pledged to continue Serbia’s reform efforts despite the recent announcement from EU officials that there would be no further enlargement in the next five years.
Karen Donfried, President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, participated in the conference’s first plenary session on “Opening the New Strategic Debate between Transatlantic and Eurasian Agendas.” Ms. Donfried observed that the Ukraine crisis is not analogous to a new Cold War, but rather indicates that the assumptions of a unified Europe are no longer valid. Further, Ms. Donfried commented, Europe should embrace and join the United States’ pivot toward Asia, recognizing the change in the distribution of power in the world.
GMF was also represented by Ivan Vejvoda, Senior Vice-President, who chaired the closing plenary session on the prospects for a new Balkans Commission, and by Constanze Stelzenmüller, Senior Transatlantic Fellow, who participated in a plenary panel on UNSCR 1325 and presented the Transatlantic Trends 2014 survey results.
Other speakers included Elmar Brok, President of the Foreign Relations Committee of the European Parliament; Gérard Stoudmann, Special Representative of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship to the Western Balkans; François Heisbourg‚ Foundation pour la Recherché Strategique; Adam Rotfeld‚ Chairman of the International Consultative Committee and former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs; Vladimir Baranovsky, Member of the Board of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations; Shada Islam‚ Director of Policy, Friends of Europe; Amb. Piotr Świtalski, Director of Policy Planning, Council of Europe; Samuel Žbogar, EU Special Representative/Head of EU Office in Kosovo; Amb. Ernst Reichel, German Special Envoy for South-Eastern Europe, Turkey and the EFTA States; Tanja Miščević, Head of the Negotiating Team for Accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union; Michael Davenport, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia; Michael Kirby, Ambassador of the United States of America to Serbia; Giuliano Amato‚ Judge, Constitutional Court of Italy and former Italian Prime Minister; Goran Svilanović‚ Secretary General, Regional Cooperation Council; and Franco Frattini‚ Italian Supreme Administrative Court Justice and Chamber President and former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Ivan Krastev, Chair of the Board, Centre for Liberal Strategies.
The Belgrade Security Forum is a joint initiative of the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, the European Movement in Serbia, and the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, and is designed as a regional hub for policy dialogue contributing to the development of the security community in the Western Balkans and to ongoing European and global security and foreign policy debates. For more information, check out the website: www.belgradeforum.org.