This year, the Bled Strategic Forum was focused on geo-strategic resource management in a sustainable way. Delo’s Jure Kosec and Borut Tavčar reported on the forum in the daily’s edition on 2 September.
»For whom does the bell toll? It tolls for all of us. ” With these words, Slovenian Foreign Minister Miro Cerar opened the 14th Bled Strategic Forum, where many discussions were held on a range of issues related to the management of geostrategic resources in an increasingly complex and volatile international environment.
According to Cerar, a key goal for Slovenia, and virtually all international actors, is to achieve sustainable development. But there is still a lot of work to be done to realise this. “Words need to be put into practice. We have so many agreements, we still need the will to make them happen. This year we will present clear plans for how to make this sustainable development a reality.” He pointed out that over the past 500 years there have been more than 600 conflicts over water, and they are likely to happen in the future but they will not be about protecting forests or water, but us.
Prime Minister Marjan Šarec also stressed the importance of finding solutions that will provide a stable and secure future for new generations. “It is leaders and politicians who are most responsible. Only positive decisions will count.”
We're running out of time for partial actions
Thee prime minister said that countries are running out of time for partial actions. We need coordinated action in the areas of climate warming, food security, terrorism, he said. At the same time, it is clear that waiting for global responses will not in itself bring about the necessary change. “Sustainable development must be ensured at the individual, national and European levels,” Šarec said. Stability and security have never been as connected with sustainability as thye are today. We must always remain aware that our decisions affect the future, Šarec said, adding it is imperative that we take action immediately if we want to provide water, food and health. He also mentioned this will be the main topic of Slovenia’s presidency the EU Council in the second half of 2021.
The challenges of multilateralism were also raised by the keynote speaker, chair of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces. Multilateralism, she said, is crucial for the survival of the international system, because it alone can answer the challenges we face. She stressed that the United Nations still represents the embodiment of multilateralism.
Turkish Foreign Minister surprised by Pahor's statement
During his speech, Borut Pahor reaffirmed Slovenia’s efforts to support further enlargement of the EU, especially in the Western Balkans. The President explained to the audience that the countries of the Western Balkans should not be viewed in a partial way but as a package. Pahor believes it would make sense to keep this process of accession on the European agenda and support all the countries in the region in reforming and seeking reconciliation.
In expressing support for EU enlargement, Pahor also drew the dividing line between the Western Balkan countries and Turkey and Ukraine, indicating that he did not support their full membership of the Union, but a special status for both countries.
His statement visibly surprised Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who appeared on the panel that focused on multilateralism. “Until last year, Pahor was a strong supporter of Turkey’s EU membership. I don’t know why he changed his mind. Maybe Macron and others convinced him of that,” the Turkish guest said.
Responding to a question from Delo, the Office of the President of the Republic denied that Pahor’s opinion deviated from his previous positions. “For several years now, Slovenian and international public have been briefed on President Pahor’s position on the so-called special status of Turkey and Ukraine following the successful conclusion of negotiations with the EU. [Turkish] President Erdogan is also aware of this position.”