2011 Bled Strategic Forum Focuses on Power of the Future

Eye on Slovenia

No. 46, 23. November 2011 Free Edition ISSN: 1854-4924

Publisher: Slovenska tiskovna agencija, Ltd., Ljubljana, Tivolska cesta 50, in cooperation with the Slovenian Foreign Ministry, E-mail: desk@sta.si Editor-in-Chief: Barbara Štrukelj, Editor: Maja Lazar Jančič On the web: Eye on Slovenia * Slovenija v žarišču © STA 2006-2011 Display Issue 2011 BLED STRATEGIC FORUM FOCUSES ON POWER OF THE FUTURE The lake-side resort of Bled was again the place of deliberations about key global issues as part of the 6th Bled Strategic Forum, which took place on 9 and 10 September 2011. Running under the title "The Power of the Future", over 400 participants debated the transition of power in the international community and other topical issues. The forum was also an opportunity for highranking guests to hold bilateral meetings. The host of the forum, Slovenian Foreign Minister Samuel Žbogar, praised the debates held at Bled. Žbogar lauded the topics chosen as extremely topical and praised the novelties of this year's event, including a youth forum and cooperation with China and Brazil in preparing individual panels.
No. 46 (23.11.2011)

Viorel Isticioaia Budura, managing director for Asia and Pacific at the fledging European External Action Service, pointed to the fact that the EU's swelling ranks since it established relations with China was a bonus, since many countries had had traditionally good relations with China before joining the bloc. On a different note, Francis Gurry, director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, recalled how China was investing a lot in R&D and would within two years overtake Germany in the number of patent filings.

Panel entitled "The EU and China: Strategic Partners and Competitors". Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

FU: BLED MEETING EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FOR CHINESE COMPANIES China's deputy foreign minister Fu Ying told the STA on the sidelines of the Bled Strategic Forum that conferences such as the one in the Slovenian lake-side resort were an opportunity for Chinese business to learn about the ways of investment in the West and for domestic business officials to get acquainted with Chinese investors. Fu stressed that China was looking to upgrade ties with Slovenia through business cooperation. She said that China had extensive experience in the development of transport and energy. Moreover, she assessed that Slovenia could act as a landing stage for Chinese investments in the Western Balkans as well as for joint ventures. "Slovenia has extensive regional outreach and is competitive in auto parts manufacturing, chemical and pharmaceutical industries."

Foreign Minister Samuel Žbogar addresses the press at the BSF. Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA

Žbogar said that from Slovenia's perspective, the basic goal of the forum was to consolidate the country's brand and its image of a place "where topical issues are discussed, where problems are reflected on to find solutions". Slovenia should be seen as a modern, active country, participating in the international community, while the forum should also help Slovenian entrepreneurs build business ties abroad. Taking place in the run-up to the event was the Young BSF, a forum for 20-somethings from around the world. As part of the event, round tables were held on the Western Balkans in 2020 and the central topic of this year's forum.

Young BSF round table on the Western Balkans in 2020. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

PM PAHOR AND PRESIDENT TÜRK CALL FOR CHANGES PROVIDING STABLE FUTURE PM Borut Pahor and President Danilo Türk called for a thorough reflection on the future as they addressed the opening ceremony of the Bled Strategic Forum. Türk urged solutions coming from within, while Pahor said a solution would be the forming of a United States of Europe. Pahor argued at the outset of the international conference that the idea of the EU would not survive without a new contract, one that would above all lead to a common fiscal policy and eventually a United States of Europe. Türk urged action, saying that "the world has found itself in a situation in which no solutions are yet discernible...And the search continues. Solutions are not offered, they are not even articulated." He also argued that Europe would have to come up with solutions on its future on its own. "The most important aspect of change which Europe needs today will have to come from within," he said, adding that "changes always come from within. We saw this in the Arab world". He highlighted the soft power of civil society, the soft power of political idea and above all a sense of responsibility within individual countries and societies. The forum was officially opened by Foreign Minister Sameul Žbogar, who presented the agenda of the forum. The participants were also addressed by Mayor of Bled Janez Fajfar and BSF Secretary General Miriam Možgan.

Fu Ying, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

PANEL AFFIRMS POWER OF SMALLER STATES IN GLOBAL AFFAIRS The panelists of the debate entitled the Power of Smaller States in Global Affairs agreed that setting the right priority fields where they can excel was a key strategy for small countries to make their way in the international arena. Interested in the common good, small countries can also be a bridge between the diverging views of others. Chilean Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno Charme argued that the growing role of multinational diplomacy had given small countries more clout than at bilateral level, while he also pointed to the relativity "behind the idea of small country", giving the examples of Luxembourg, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Palestine. He stressed the dual nature of support from multinational organisations, saying that while it was an important help, to be relevant, small countries cannot rely on them or for that matter on international law. They have to make serious decisions and have their house in order, he noted. This view was echoed by Liechtenstein Foreign Affairs Minister Aurelia Frick, who said the strategy of Lichtenstein was to present itself as a reliable and active partner. She highlighted the advantage that a limited number of vested political interests gives small countries in terms of the capacity to build a credible bridge among different views of other countries. Cape Verde Deputy Minister for Foreign Relations Jose Luis Rocha meanwhile outlined three key objectives of his country's external relations policy: "The affirmation of the global nation in the world, the promotion of peace and global and regional security, and the achieving of economic goals for the transformation of the country."

Panel on the role of small states in international affairs. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA Foreign Minister Samuel Žbogar, PM Borut Pahor, President Danilo Türk in CoE Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

STILL HOPE FOR AFGHANISTAN, DESPITE MISTAKES, PANEL FINDS When Western powers launched a campaign to bring down the Taliban regime in Afghanistan ten years ago, it rekindled hope for a country which had lived with war for 20 years. The hope is almost extinguished, but

20 years. The hope is almost extinguished, but participants of the "Restoring Afghanistan" panel nevertheless remained optimists. Afghan women's rights advocate Mahbouba Seray noted how life in Afghanistan was not much better than it had been ten years ago. Afghanistan had been destroyed "but we still had hope; today there is total uncertainty about the future," she said. The cause of the uncertainty is the decision of the international community to pull out of Afghanistan after 2014. "Nobody knows what will happen after that," Seraj noted. But Slovenian Defence Minister Ljubica Jelušič was quick to point out that only combat troops would pull out of Afghanistan after 2014 whereas development aid and other kinds of assistance would be beefed up. The minister further argued that a "wrong tool" may had been used in the attempts to stabilise Afghanistan. The British and the Soviets had tried military force before, but Afghans always found "anti-tools"; the same thing happened now and the West is lost for answers, she said. Francesc Vendrell, former UN and EU special representative for Afghanistan, said many mistakes had been made in Afghanistan. But he said that all was not lost yet. It is necessary to enhance the role of the UN and within it the role of third-world countries, he said. Sarfraz Khan, director of the Area Study Centre at the University of Peshawar in Pakistan, said that the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan was the consequence of wrong decisions made by the West, which in the 1970s turned against the progressive democratic forces and instead chose to support a dictatorship and "those that are today called terrorists".

President Danilo Türk addresses the opening of the BSF. Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA

Prime Minister Borut Pahor addresses the opening of the BSF. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Foreign Minister Samuel Žbogar addresses the opening of the BSF. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Panel debating the rebuilding of Afghanistan. Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA

SERAY: MORE THAN ONE SOLUTION FOR AFGHANISTAN Afghan women's rights activist and director of Afghan consultancy Soraya Mashal Mahbouba Seray told the STA on the margins of the Bled Strategic Forum that the international community was currently dealing with Afghanistan as if it was a hot potato. Asked about the prospects for a solution for Afghanistan, she stressed that there was more than one solution possible. "One dimension is the region, cooperation in the region. The philosophy should be 'live and let live'. Why do you think the world is dealing with Afghanistan as if it were a hot potato? Because of the money shortage. The countries cannot afford to stay in Afghanistan any longer. Finance and the economy are key factors in the world. If we can get independence, we will be fine, otherwise we

BSF Secretary General Miriam Možgan addresses the opening of the BSF. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

we can get independence, we will be fine, otherwise we will be in even greater trouble. We need to take our future into our own hands. Corruption is killing us, it is feeding all the negative elements of our country. While corruption exists everywhere, Afghanis are seeing it in extreme proportions. We need to educate our people. We face the danger of being completely used by the powers around us. We sit on a wealth beneath our feet. We should use it properly, for the good of Afghanistan and the whole world. But there is still a long way to go to achieve this. We must first take steps on our own and then turn to others for help," said Seray.

Bled Mayor Janez Fajfar addresses the opening of the BSF. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

MAIN PANEL EXAMINES CHALLENGES OF THE FUTURE The growing influence of non-state actors and online social networks, fear of necessary changes, and enduring stereotypes were highlighted as some of the key global challenges at the main panel of the Bled Strategic Forum running under the tile of the "Power of the Future". Fu Ying, Chinese vice minister of foreign affairs, highlighted the enduring stereotypes in relations between East and West, which Chinese investors frequently face when they want to invest in the West. Cold War thinking must be overcome, she said. "China has stepped up a gear, while we still have the impression that the EU is pulling the hand brake." Slovenian Foreign Minister Samuel Žbogar opined that stereotypes could be overcome by talking and getting to know each other better. "This is one reason why the EU is forging strategic partnerships with countries such as China," he said. Richard Boucher, deputy secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), agreed that the whole world was facing major challenges. In his view, Western countries need to take some major decisions, but it is unclear whether they are capable of doing that. "There's no magic bullet, hard political decisions will have to be taken," he said. Žbogar turned to the EU and the question of why European countries do not establish a United States of Europe. He expressed the view that European leaders were listening to the voters, who were, however, increasingly sceptical in the face of the ongoing economic crisis. Igor Olegovich Shchegolev, Russian minister of telecommunications and mass communications, meanwhile highlighted the growing importance of online social networks and new media. He argued that since they brought benefits as well as dangers, some rules should be put in place. The panel also featured Mahmoud Salem, an Egyptian blogger, who presented the situation earlier this year when social networks triggered protests that ended up toppling long-time President Hosni Mubarak. He said social networks were the tool for change in Egypt. The Slovenian foreign minister agreed that non-state actors were increasingly important and exerted

Afghan women's rights activist and director of Afghan consultancy Soraya Mashal Mahbouba Seray. Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA

EU FUTURE KEY FOR WESTERN BALKANS, PANEL AGREES Providing the Western Balkans a future in the EU is an essential part of promoting progress in the countries of the region, a panel held on the second day of the Bled Strategic Forum heard. Holding a debate under the title "What Is Next for the Balkans? Responsibility, Power to Progress, Perspectives", the panellists stressed that implementing reforms in the region was much easier when done with the help of European partners, but warned that the EU must keep an interest in moving the progress of EU accession along. Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić highlighted that the Western Balkans had for long been subject to triangular geopolitics - pressure from the east, west and south-east - a trend which the current generation had a chance of breaking out of through European integration. "It would be a tremendous failure if this generation failed to make use of this historic opportunity," he said, adding that this failure would be the responsibility of the region and the EU. Both Jeremić and his Montenegrin counterpart Milan Roćen said that their countries were working hard on meeting criteria to gain a date to start accession negotiations with the EU and were deserving of this step.

actors were increasingly important and exerted increasing influence on the general agenda, highlighting a massive 2010 clean-up campaign in Slovenia as an example.

negotiations with the EU and were deserving of this step. The Serbian minister warned that a stoppage in the enlargement process after Croatia joins the EU could be a cause of regression. "A stoppage is an illusion," he said, adding that history in the Balkans shows that things are either progressing or regressing. Meanwhile, Roćen was confident that Montenegro would have an easier time in the accession negotiations than Croatia and Slovenia before it, because it will be able to rely on these countries' experiences in the process. "Slovenia and Croatia did not have such close friends to rely on as they went through this process as we have in them," he said. High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Valentin Inzko pointed out that despite problems, the countries of the region had never been closer to the EU than now. "It is not a question of whether these countries will be in the EU, but when," he said. But he stressed that there must be a domestic responsibility and a domestic vision to push along the process. "In Serbia and Montenegro, there is a strong sense of purpose and urgency. We wish this would appear in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well." Vice President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Jan Fischer raised cooperation in the area of transport and infrastructure as an important potential for bringing the region closer.

Main panel entitled "The Power of the Future". Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

PANEL DEBATES POST-REVOLUTION MEDITERRANEAN The implications of the recent developments in the Mediterranean were in the focus a Bled Strategic Forum debate entitled a "New World Order in the Mediterranean". The Arab Spring was compared to the changes in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The participants stressed that like in the early 1990s, Europe would have a key role to play in the democratization of the Arab world. Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland highlighted that like in the former Eastern Bloc, the democratic changes in the Arab world were brought about from within. He argued that the communist regimes had undermined themselves by failing to provide innovation and a future, which was also the case in the Arab world, which was lagging three decades behind the rest of the world and was rife with inequality and corruption. This view was echoed by Tunisian Foreign Affairs Ministry State Secretary Khemaies Jhinaoui, who said that the revolution in Tunisa was not so much a consequence of poverty or recession, but a desire of the people to bring about democracy and to deal with increases in inequality and the growing gap between the rich and the poor. The first Vice-President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic Přemysl Sobotka also contributed his view, warning among other things against the pursuit of meaningless uniformity at the expense of the loss of democratic citizens' freedom. Jagland meanwhile offered CoE's assistance to the countries in building democratic institutions and writing new laws. Jagland also turned to Israel, expressing hope it was aware of the significance of the changestaking place. He said that whether these new democracies would treat it kindly also depended on its ability to make peace with the Palestinians. Director of the International Center for Consultations in Israel, Wadie Abunassar, responded by

Panel debating the future of the Balkans. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

FOOD SECURITY DEBATED AT PANEL Participants of a panel of the 2011 Bled Strategic Forum, entitled "Food Security - A Reflection of International Society" agreed that the issue of food security should be given top priority if the world was to avoid an extremely unstable future. WTO Deputy Director-General Valentine Rugwabiza stressed at the outset of the debate that the vulnerability of the food system in the world - which presently has more than 1 billion people suffering from hunger and more than 2 billion from malnutrition - was also exposed by the fact that the production of staple food in the world is very concentrated. State Secretary at the Ministry of External Relations of Angola Manuel Domingos Augusto urged less focus on the reasons for food instability and more on ways to tackle the problem. He stressed that while being seen as exclusively an African problem in the past, food security was becoming increasingly a global issue. He argued for new measures in the economic as well as political sphere, urging partnerships between the private sector and rural populations, loans without discrimination, the setting up of local, regional and

Consultations in Israel, Wadie Abunassar, responded by saying that Israel would do what it saw as beneficial for itself, but that this would not necessarily be beneficial for the Palestinians and Arabs.

discrimination, the setting up of local, regional and national markets, the abandoning of the policy of food donations, which steers countries away from their traditional crops to imported food, and an end to food subsidies in rich countries. Senior Advisor at the Policy Planning Unit at the Brazilian Foreign Ministry Jose Humberto de Brito Cruz said that while it was regrettable that food security was an issue, it was good that it had become a central point of debates. Looking at the Brazilian paradox of rich agricultural resources and the lack of food, he singled out the problem of an unfair distribution of prosperity. The issue was given priority status in the country under President Lula and measures - centred around fairer income distribution, increased productivity and support to family agriculture - are producing results. Executive Director of the Millennium Project from the US Jerome C. Glenn urged much more radical measures, explaining that food prices would keep on rising fast because of a variety of factors that are all moving in the wrong direction. The 16 factors listed include rising global population, rising affluence, soil erosion, loss of crop lands, increasing fertilizer costs, market speculation, low food reserves, falling water tables, and climate change.

Special panel entitled "Search for a New 'World Order' in the Mediterranean". Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

ROUND TABLE DEBATES KEY COE REPORT ON DIVERSITY Slovenian President Danilo Türk and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland hosted a round table discussing the Council of Europe report "Living Together: Combining Diversity and Freedom in 21st Century Europe" on the margins of the Bled Strategic Forum. The participants agreed that Europe was a continent of growing diversity. The report, written by a Group of Eminent Persons led by former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, concludes that discrimination and intolerance is widespread in Europe, especially in relation to Roma and migrants, who are often treated as foreigners. "Europe is often called the Old Continent - as such it has learned to deal with issues of diversity, languages, cultures and religions," said Türk. He highlighted, however, that new challenges were appearing related to migration. The question of how to deal with them is still open.

Panel debating food security. Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA

Describing why he asked the Group of Eminent Persons to come up with recommendations on how Europe should handle diversity, Jagland said that Europe's old problems such as racism and xenophobia, which led to World War II, were coming back as immigration is increasing. The report highlights that each individual has a right to their identity and that Europe needs to find a common threat that will keep it together. "The report is an opportunity for governments, NGOs and the civil society on how to proceed, how to create common ground in the face of increasing diversity," he said, adding that he was happy that most governments took the report seriously and were dealing with the issues at hand.

ANSWERS SOUGHT TO ENERGY SECURITY The world's growing energy needs can most quickly and cheaply be answered through energy efficiency, the closing panel of the Bled Strategic Forum heard. To be effective, this paradigm requires political and social will, the participants highlighted. "Energy efficiency is the most important new source of energy", in the face of demographic and economic trends, which suggest that global energy consumption at the current technology could double by 2050, Ambassador Richard H. Jones, Deputy Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, told the panel. Jones voiced doubt that there could be a major shift in the global energy mix in the short-term, as fossil fuels are the cheapest source of energy and energy needs continue to rise rapidly in developing countries such as India and China. That energy efficiency is therefore essential was also highlighted by Dr Doug Arent, Executive Director of the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis from the US. Avoiding energy use by building more energy-efficient buildings and cars is the cheapest answer to how to cater for growing energy needs. Meanwhile, Dr Plinio Nastari, President and Founder of DATAGRO from Brazil, pointed to the possibility of substituting gasoline with biogass from sugar cane. He

substituting gasoline with biogass from sugar cane. He stressed that Brazil had achieved 45% substitution. He also stressed that Brazil was a safe heaven in the ongoing financial crisis due to its extensive foreign currency reserves. "Three quarters of those reserves have been built up through the export of biogas."
President Danilo Türk takes part in a round table debating the Council of Europe report "Living Together: Combining Diversity and Freedom in 21st Century Europe". Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA

NIGHT OWL SESSION HIGHLIGHTS POWER OF INNOVATION If Europe is to catch up with fast growing countries and successfully overcome the crisis, it needs to be more innovative and in order to secure that, it needs to foster an entrepreneurial spirit and improve its education system. Europe needs to shift a gear higher, agreed the participants of a Bled Strategic Forum panel on the power of innovation. President of the European Enterprise Institute Peter Jungel stressed the key role that innovation has within capitalism. He said that entrepreneurs were the only ones pushing innovation further and that innovation was Europe's only way out of the crisis. Jungel argued that six million new entrepreneurs were the solution for Europe. New companies do not need to be protected from competition but from politics and red tape, at least in the first five years of their operations, he said. The chairman of Europe Microsoft Corporation Jan Mühlfeit added to innovation and technology the importance of education. Europe is still living under the illusion that China is manufacturing cheap products - in reality things are changing. Thus, Europe needs to shift up a gear, he said. Mühlfeit expressed a conviction that Europe was losing its capacity for setting up businesses, suggesting that Europe had manifested its winning mentality in the field of sport, while failing to do so in business. Deputy Secretary General of the OECD Richard A. Boucher moreover stressed the importance of a strong economic basis - this entails a competitive environment and access to finances. President of the BMW group for Central and Eastern Europe Andrea Castronovo asserted that for BMW innovation was not everything but the only thing. A lot of attention is also being given to environment-friendly technologies, he added.

The participants of the panel on energy security. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

FM HOLDS BILATERAL TALKS ON MARGINS OF BLED FORUM Slovenian Foreign Minister Samuel Žbogar was involved in a series of bilateral meetings on the margins of the Bled Strategic Forum, holding talks among others with his Montenegrin counterpart Milan Roćen, Lichtenstein Foreign Minister Aurelia Frick, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić, Chilean Foreign Minister Afred Moreno Charme, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization Francis Gurry, Kosovo counterpart Enver Hoxhaj, Russian Minister of Telecommunications and Mass Communications Igor Olegovich Shchegolev, and Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland and Qatari State Minister for International Cooperation Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Atiyah. Žbogar also met Fu Ying, Chinese vice minister of foreign affairs.

Night owl session examines the power of innovation. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

JAN MÜHLFEIT: FUTURE OF COMPETITION IN IDEAS Individuals, companies and countries will compete

Official bikes of the BSF - provided by BMW. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Individuals, companies and countries will compete foremost in terms of ideas in the future, which means that competitiveness will depend on the ability to create and sell new ideas, chairman of Europe Microsoft Corporation Jan Mühlfeit told the STA on the sidelines of the Bled Strategic Forum. This is why he said he believed that quality education was the key to European competitiveness. The education system must be alligned in a way to enable future generation to compete globally for jobs. Increasing globalisation of countries and markets leads to global competition for jobs, Mühlfeit said.

Official vehicles of the BSF - provided by BMW. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Chairman of Europe Microsoft Corporation Jan Mühlfeit takes part in the night owl session dedicated to the power of innovation. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

PANEL STRESSES NEED FOR GREATER TRUST IN EU-CHINA TIES Deep distrust in EU-China relations and the persistent fear of the "Chinese threat" in Europe dominated the debate "The EU and China: Strategic Partners and Competitors" held as part of the Bled Strategic Forum. Fu Ying, Chinese vice minister of foreign affairs, highlighted the importance of EU-China relations and noted how European companies were making huge profits in China, where they were expanding production as they were scaling back in Europe. Zhou Hong, the head of the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, added that EU-China relations were deepening but there was still a gap in mutual understanding. European media often portray China as a threat. "I'm afraid this will affect the otherwise good relations," she noted, calling for "dialogue with communication, not dialogue without communication".

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