The Slovenia Times

Despite pandemic, BSF boasts high-profile guests, weighty debates


Prime Minister Janez Janša will host Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov, Croatia's Andrej Plenković, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić for the leaders panel.

The main debate of the one-day event will also feature a video address by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, while Italian Prime Minister Giusepe Conte and Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund will participate remotely.

Janša will hold bilateral talk with all prime ministers who will attend the forum in person, as well as with Serbian President Vučić and Miroslav Lajčak, the EU's special representative for the Belgrade-Prishtina dialogue, and Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief.

Foreign Minister Anže Logar will chair a foreign minister's session with Croatia's Gordan Grlić Radman, Czechia's Tomaš Petriček, Hungary's Peter Szijjarto, Poland's new foreign minister Zbigniew Rau, and Slovakia's Ivan Korčok.

They will be joined by Borrell and, via videolink, Michelle Müntefering, minister of state at the German Federal Foreign Office.

The debates will focus on the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the future of the EU, this being the first meeting of that many EU leaders after the EU summit in July set the course for Europe's post-coronavirus recovery.

The event has been shortened from two days to one and instead of over twenty panels, there will be only five on-site events and two digital-only debates.

The youth and business sections of the forum were cancelled, but some business topics will nevertheless be on the agenda.

An AmCham event will look into collaboration between businesses, state, civil society and academia in response to the new normal, while digitalisation as a driver of economic development will be the topic of another panel. One of the two digital events is dedicated to circular economy.

The main panels, with prime ministers and foreign ministers, will be by invitation only, the remaining on-site debates will be limited to roughly 160 people on a first come, first served basis.

All panels will be livestreamed, and at the two digital-only events visitors will have the chance either to just view the debates or register and ask questions.


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