Dear friends and partners of the Belgrade Security Forum,
It is our great pleasure to inform you that the 10th edition of the BSF will be held, as planned, from 21 to 22 October 2020. We mark the first decade of our joint endeavor by saying “No Trust – No Peace”; one message we hope will resonate in times to come.
The pandemic of the COVID-19 disease has placed us, like everyone else, in front of a challenge of unseen scale. However, as the countries of Europe slowly begin to “open up”, we feel the need for hosting an event such as the BSF stronger than ever; and not only to provide, or contribute to, the hope of a return to normalcy.
In the pandemic, democracy was among the first to be hit. The objective need to implement social distancing autocrats in many countries saw as an open invitation to infringe on the rights and freedoms of citizens. As we stayed at home, worried or what is to come, populists and extremists of all affiliations raised their voices, offering conspiracy theories instead of science. The title under which 10th BSF will take place thus resembled a forecast. Never we asked for democratic leadership so much, and questioned the state of that leadership then during this pandemic.
In international relations, lack of trust and solidarity was manifested as a crisis of multilateralism, although it was clear that no state could fight the outbreak alone. While single most important task became “flattening the curve”, the geopolitical game continued in the background. Finally, we learned or are still learning just how resilient our societies are.
Life, however, did not stop. Open issues with which we entered 2020 are still there: the European perspective of the Western Balkans; Belgrade-Pristina dialogue; growing tensions and, unfortunately, noticeable lack of cooperation in the region to combat the effects of the pandemic. COVID-19 has made visible some new ones, which we have foreseen in the past years – the relationship between technology and privacy; anti-EU narrative; solidarity, that is, caring for migrants and those who on the margins of our society yet were “forgotten” amidst the response.
We invite you therefore to defend democracy with us, by participating in the discussions that will be held; support the freedom of opinion; show that we care about this region of ours; express solidarity and faith in the European future of the Western Balkans.
Organizers of the Belgrade Security Forum: Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, Belgrade Centre for Security Studies and the European Movement in Serbia