BSF 2022: The rule of power or the power of rules?


Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) / 29.-30.8.2022 / Bled, Slovenia /’The rule of power or the power of rules’, will be the discussions about the repercussions of Russian aggression against Ukraine and the crisis of multilateralism. / Young Bled Strategic Forum (Young BSF)

Between August 29 and 30, the participants of the Bled Strategic Forum will seek answers to questions about the future of multilateral order and its role within the European Union. Global crises (climate, economic, food, energy) and the emergence of new crisis hotspots, but above all, Russian aggression against Ukraine and changes in the international order, have shown that the international system that was formed around the UN after the end of the Second World War must change.

With the changes to the east-west and north-south axes, there was a question of reconfiguring the already established structure. The role of the EU, especially in the light of the Ukrainian crisis, is to strengthen its voice on the international stage and strengthen its own ability to deal with current and future challenges, such as the food and security crisis.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia and the host of this year’s Bled Strategic Forum, Ms Tanja Fajon, announcing the title and the theme of discussions of this year’s Forum, stated: “The good news is that the venue for tackling these difficult issues will – I am sure – inspire us and provide us with courage and motivation.”

BSF Secretary General Peter Grk emphasised: ” Europe, and with it, the world are at a crossroads today. The path we will take will mark us and all future generations. In this context, the BSF will offer a platform for a frank exchange of views and the search for
answers to the present and future questions.” The main topic of the first day of the Bled Strategic Forum will be a discussion with the leaders of European countries, high representatives of the European Union and foreign ministers of European countries about the challenges facing the European Union and the region.

On the second day of the Bled Strategic Forum, discussions will focus on the situation in the European neighbourhood, the aid and reconstruction of Ukraine, and the consequences of Russian aggression on food and energy security in Europe and the enlargement of the EU.

The talks will also touch upon the future of the global economy, cooperation in the fight against climate change, the challenges of the European security architecture, digitalisation and cyber security. The tourism panel of this year’s BSF will be devoted to discussions on the response to the obstacles in tourism and the economy, which are the result of the global crisis.

bled forum 2022

This year’s Young BSF will focus primarily on discussions about the future of democracy, also in light of Russian aggression against Ukraine, and young people will have the opportunity to present their ideas and conclusions at the Bled Strategic Forum. Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) is a leading conference in Central and South-Eastern Europe, which for the seventeenth year has been an inclusive platform where a diverse structure of people from the fields of diplomacy, politics, economy, private and public sector and academia come together to discuss key challenges in the 21st century.

The purpose of the BSF is to encourage participating actors to discuss and exchange opinions and to find innovative solutions to regional and global challenges.

The rule of power or the power of rules?

We are living in uncertain and unstable times. The world order built on universally accepted rules has virtually disappeared, and with the Russian aggression on Ukraine, the remaining postulates of international and humanitarian law collapsed, bringing an era of uncertainty and instability.

Once again, we are witnessingthe rise of strong geopolitical and sovereigntist trends, and the return
• of realism and the concept of (hard) power.

Countries the world over are increasing their defence spending and enhancing their capacities to counter new forms of warfare, such as hybrid wars or cyber-terrorism.

With the rise in conflicts, there is a growing need to respond to humanitarian crises and offer post­ conflict and development assistance. Migration flows, a challenge in and of itself, are surging again.

This volatile environment is facing countless shocks, both in the economic and financial sectors, from disturbances in supply chains, inflation growth, currency shocks and spikes in interest rates, to multiple rises in energy and food prices. The rare earth war and trade wars indicate the possibility of a new globa! trade system emerging.

Ali of the above is hampering globa! efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the fight against climate change. Due to the war in Ukraine, numerous countries have been forced to backtrack on their commitments or postpone their objectives to an indefinite tirne in the future.

The international community with its globa! patterns of behaviour is unable to react quickly enough to adequately address these challenges. The traditional paradigms on the East-West and the North­ South axes are undergoing a reconfiguration. The international rules-based order, estab lished largely as a globa! response to the atrocities of both world wars in the first half of the 2oth century, has started to crumble with laws being disrespected and ever louder claims for drafting novel rules that would better reflect the new relations between the developed and the developing countries.

The United Nations, created as a central forum for cooperation and tackling global issues, now often stands at a crossroads, together with many other multilateral organisations created to address specific world-wide phenomena.

In this unstable environment, what place should the European Union occupy? lf, according to the European Commission’s vision, the European Union is to wield geopolitical clout, it will have to increase its capacity to address the key globa! challenges.