Bucharest Forum 2018: Cores and Peripheries in Europe

Is There a Future for the European Project?

Bucharest Forum 2018 When East Meets West: Collision, Collusion or Cooperation?

Bucharest Forum is an annual high-level event organized by the Aspen Institute Romania and the Bucharest office of the German Marshall Fund of the US. Since its inception in 2012, the mission of the Bucharest Forum is to create a regional platform for forward thinking on economic and security policies and for promoting political dialogue between governments and the civil society. 

The seventh edition of the Bucharest Forum takes place between 8 – 10 October, 2018, at critical times for the region and Europe. 

The current international context is in flux, as on both shores of the Atlantic national politics is driven by new agendas and discourses, imprinting a consequent dynamics to international relations, and affecting economic trends at national, regional and international levels. Brought to the fore by grievances of a plurality of citizens who feel left out of mainstream politics and economy, the new political trend and its economic philosophy are generating antagonistic approaches and actions of various actors, leading to numerous clashes of interest, intention and outcomes. Indeed, the main feature of the current context is the numerous clashes being either in incubation phase or out in the open. 

By bringing together leading politicians, thinkers, journalists, and business representatives, Bucharest Forum offers a platform for the various actors to meet and discuss their interests, approaches and goals, analyze potential and existing clashes, their implications and results, and look for ways to maximize the potential benefits of diverging views and mitigate the consequent negative impact.

Mircea Geoana, President, Aspen Institute Romania opened the first day of Bucharest Forum 2018. Franco Frattini, President, Italian Society for International Organizations and Special Representative of the OSCE, Chairperson-in-Office for the Transdniestrian Settlement Process, intervened after the key note address of Viorica Dancila, Prime Minister, Government of Romania.

The panel was centered on Cores and Peripheries in Europe: Is There a Future for the European Project?. The European project faces internal and external pressures and is in need to be adapted to both unexpected and predicted changes, demands and developmental trends. One of the most visible, if not the most important, rift within the Union is between core and periphery, both geographically, strategically and economically. Will this rift, together with the other forces, put an end to the project? Or can it be channeled towards increased coherence and further development?

The panel discussion was moderated by Andrew Wrobel, Head of Editorial, Emerging Europe
High Level Speakers: Baroness Denise Kingsmill CBE, Member of the House of Lords, Chair, Aspen Initiative UK , Franco Frattini, President, Italian Society for International Organizations and Special Representative of the OSCE, Chairperson-in-Office for the Transdniestrian Settlement Process , Jean-François Copé, Former Minister of the Budget, Mayor of Meaux, Lawyer at the Paris Bar.

“It would be a mistake if the European Union were to “punish” the United Kingdom for its intention of leaving the community bloc”, Franco Frattini stated in the discussion about the future of the European project within the Bucharest Forum conference. At the same time, a “no deal” situation – the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union without an agreement following the negotiations with Brussels – would not be beneficial for the United Kingdom, Frattini pointed out, making an appeal in this context to “more leadership” on behalf of the EU. Frattini also made an appeal that Europe should take advantage of Brexit in order to become a real protagonist on the world stage, given that the presence of the United Kingdom proved to be an obstacle in certain fields, mentioning in this sense the security and common defence policy. An agreement is highly desirable through which the European Union can keep a close relationship with the United Kingdom and in equal measure it would be good for the latter not to sever its ties with the community block, Franco Frattini recommended.

More info on the Forum agenda

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