The Slovenia Times

Bled Strategic Forum to be strongly marked by coronavirus


Slovenia's annual top foreign policy event will run under the slogan Challenges and Opportunities in the Post-Covid-19 World; Neighbours - Regions - Global World: Partners or Rivals?. Instead of two days, it will last only one day.

The epidemiological situation prompted the organisers to invite to Bled mainly guests from neighbouring and Central and East European EU countries, Geršak told the STA, something that she said was due to the favourable epidemiological situation in those countries.

The focus of BSF debates will be cooperation in the region which the guests come from.

"The main topic will be how the coronavirus has reshaped the world and what challenges we are now faced with in business and society," she said.

"We've noticed a shift towards enhanced cooperation, regional ties and we'll focus on these regional initiatives which unite us in energy, mobility, digitalisation, artificial intelligence and at the same time on strengthening trans-Atlantic cooperation.

"Of course we'll also have to say a word or two about the contentious efficiency of multilateralism and how to proceed. And also about the EU's response to these challenges," said Geršak, whose CEP co-organises the event with the Foreign Ministry.

The debates will be informed by the Three Seas Initiative, she said, adding the BSF will be one of a few forums this year where these topics will be discussed at such a high-level.

The BSF will get under way with a business breakfast hosted by AmCham Slovenia, followed by the formal opening in the Alpine lake resort of Bled featuring the leaders' panel and the foreign ministers' panel.

Fewer participants than in the previous years are expected to attend, and they will be divided in three groups.

One group will feature guests who will actually arrive at Bled, another will follow the event on a special digital platform which will enable them to take part in debates, while all the others will follow the debates by live stream.

"In this way we're in a way expanding the forum not only in Slovenia but also abroad. We'd like such participation to be as broad as possible."

Geršak said that providing a safe environment will be an absolute priority, so protective masks, hand sanitiser and social distance will be the order of the day.

In case of force majeure, Slovenian authorities would decided whether to go ahead with it or now, she said. "We would not want to expose people to unnecessary risks."


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