Common visions and seeking common solutions against the backdrop of growing uncertainty in the global arena were two main points highlighted by speakers at the opening of the 11th Bled Strategic Forum, running under the banner Safeguarding the Future.
“To create and then safeguard our future is not an easy task,” stressed Mr Peter Grk, Secretary-General of the Bled Strategic Forum (BSF), who believes the key question we must ask ourselves is “what kind of a world do we wish to live in in the next 10-20 years” – whether it is a world dominated by wars, instability, poverty, or a world of stability, peace and prosperity.
”I think the choice is quite simple, and we can agree that the second option looks much more inviting to us, and especially to those coming behind us,” he concluded.
Touching on the title of this year’s BSF, H. E. Dr Miro Cerar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, stressed in his keynote speech that unless “we efficiently solve the problems of security and migration, we will not be able to focus our efforts on development issues like economy and most importantly on our youth” and “we will not be able to focus on our future as such”.
“Contemporary challenges are growing. They are more complex and more frequent … Our response in dealing with them must be better managed. And above all, it must be global,” Cerar stressed.
Turning to the EU, the Slovenian Prime Minister noted that the EU had been facing growing populism, scepticism and even isolationism, which requires serious reflection and regaining trust to continue building “an even stronger and more efficient European Union”.
Despite all the problems in almost six decades of its existence, the bloc has become a synonym for peace, security, democracy, welfare and development. Touching on the refugee crisis, Cerar pointed out that “Europe must uphold the norms of humanity, solidarity and responsibility, while keeping in mind its integration capabilities”.
“The title of this year’s Bled Strategic Forum is a good reminder for us all. It indicates a link between today and tomorrow; and reminds us that our current behaviour and actions affect our future … We must be willing and ready to act now in order to create a bright and secure perspective for generations to come. We need to ‘safeguard the future’,” he concluded.
This was also highlighted in the welcome address by H. E. Mr Karl Erjavec, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, who stressed that we need a common vision, solidarity. He expressed hope that the BSF would help achieve this. All the different topics the forum will address this year, be it migrations, the future of the EU, energy geopolitics or water risks in global perspective, “these elements are closely connected if the international community fails in tackling one, all will be affected”.
Over 800 participants from over 80 countries were also welcomed to the BSF by Mr Janez Fajfar, Mayor of Bled.