The Slovenia Times

Bled Strategic Forum kicks off


Cerar noted that the world had changed dramatically over the last few years, as the economic order and strategic alliances that had been known for decades were suddenly called into question, and multilateralism being severely challenged.

"All this is giving boost to growing individualism and divisions in our society. If we really care for the prospects of our countries, for the well-being of our citizens, for the future of Europe and world, we need to bring change."

Cerar said that politicians sowing fear and divisions should be confronted by continuously stressing pure facts about the reality and promoting ethical and democratic values. "It is time to remind ourselves that peace and prosperity are not simply given."

Surviving requires us acting together and with sincere intention to provide for peace and sustainable development, so we need to continue with our efforts to bridge the divide and promote freedom and security, he added.

Europe has to deal with a range of important issues, including the one how to best deal with Brexit. Decisions about the future of Europe that would stress yet again the true strength of the Union, he added.

"I truly hope that our focus will be on how to make the European Union better, stronger and more united. Only in this way we as Europe can be a true player in the relentless global arena, bridging the divides of our time."

Erjavec announced that the BSF would take a closer look at some of the most pressing issues that divide the world, adding that trust, dialogue and compromise were the only way to bring people together.

He took a look back at its history, noting that in the last seven years, the forum had expanded even beyond every expectations, with the number of participants tripling since 2012.

The minister noted that the event discussed many topics dedicated to the European Union, economic and financial crisis, integration, migrations, solidarity, people's trust in institutions and Brexit.

The Western Balkans and its role and future in the EU have also been always high on the agenda, and the forum has also looked beyond the European borders, discussing the Mediterranean and Middle East, Erjavec added.

Politicians, executives and members of the academia and the civil society will meet for a total of 24 panels at the 13th BSF, seeking answers to the many questions that arise as a result of deepening political, technological and economic divides.

One of the most prominent guests will be the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc and UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin.

Senior Slovenian officials are also present. Since the new government will not be officially formed yet, the outgoing cabinet members represent the country. But the new prime minister, Marjan Šarec, will also hold a series of bilateral meetings.


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