The Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, the European Movement in Serbia and the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy are organizing the Fifth Belgrade Security Forum that will take place from September 30 – October 2, 2015 under the working title “Can Europe redefine itself?”
As 2014 draws to a close, many of us would agree with a quote from a British journalist wishing that “the world were not a place of uncontrollable catastrophe”. From the plains of the Eastern Ukraine to the bustling streets of Peshawar, lives are being lost in scores, civilian far more often than combatant. Wars are being fought by other means as well: the price of oil, pipeline politics, the stability of a currency, or an interest rate all prove to be equally effective weapons. The same global interconnectedness that once had us observe globalization with awe is now being used to perpetuate conflicts. In less than a year, we have witnessed the end of the post-Cold War order, without any real substitute in sight.
Most, if not all of the dilemmas that had been posed prior to the global financial crisis remain unanswered. In the Eurasian sphere, a return to pre-2008 growth rates remains elusive if not impossible, as even China’s economy seems to be slowing down. The EU has yet to “punch its weight” in global affairs. With the US – rather reluctantly – considering their re-engagement, months passed before the EU came up with a unified response to the conflict in Ukraine, at great cost for some of its members. The confrontation with Russia is being escalated through a pending energy crisis, forcing the EU to look for other sources and supply routes to secure its energy needs. Believers in consolidated democracies face the challenge of those that are illiberal, and have chosen stability over democratization. One of the focal points of these debates in Europe is the position of Germany with regards to the increasing challenges that we face.
The conference will also endorse some of the confidence building mechanisms, platforms and initiatives standing at our disposal. BSF 2015 coincides with an important milestone – 40 years since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act, as well as an important event for the region – Serbia holding the OSCE Chairmanship. Paying due attention to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, BSF 2015 will foray into the future – one of social inclusion and gender equality. Finally, we will reaffirm enlargement as the EU’s single most successful policy, by critically reassessing it from several angles. Many issues that create anxiety such as the bleak economic prospects for the post-Cold War generations and the rise of ISIS will also be discussed.
BSF 2015 provides us with an ideal and timely opportunity for their deliberation. We cordially invite you to join the debate and explore some of these issues with us in Belgrade.