Over the past seven years, the Bled Strategic Forum has grown into a successful platform for high-level strategic dialogue among leaders from the private and public sectors on key issues facing Europe and the world in the 21st century. Welcoming prominent guests from Europe and beyond, the Bled Strategic Forum has established itself as an important annual gathering aimed at making commitments for the implementation of new strategies designed to confront the most pressing issues of today’s Europe and the world. Organized jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia and the Centre for European Perspective, the Bled Strategic Forum is one of the leading international conferences in the region.
You can find the Conference Handbook with Provisional Agenda and Logistical Information here
The official opening of the main conference under the title “A Changing Europe in a Changing World” will take place in the afternoon of 2 September. The main panel will address the future of Europe in the light of European Year of Citizens, followed by a special panel addressing the water challenge in the Middle East and North Africa.
On 3 September 2013 the discussions will tackle the following topics: prospects for the EU Economic and Monetary Union, the role of international criminal justice, EU-Turkey relations and EU enlargement policy towards the countries of the Western Balkans region after Croatia’s accession.
Download the 2013 Bled Strategic Forum Brackgrounder
FRANCO FRATTINI’S PANELThe EU and Turkey – Where do we go from here?
Today, Turkey is the world’s 16th biggest economy, with a large, booming market and a young, dynamic and well-trained workforce. It embarked on a path towards the EU some 50 years ago, which, even in historical terms, is a very long period of time. While many other countries successfully concluded negotiations and joined the Union, Turkey’s bid for membership has seen limited progress. The status quo has brought about different ideas among Member States regarding the long-term relationship between the EU and Turkey. Phrases such as “special relationship” and “strategic partnership” have been coined to somehow illustrate the fear that Turkey might be too large and too different to become a full-fledged member of the Union.
Over the past 50 years, both the EU’s sui generis structure and Turkey have transformed profoundly. While the EU is (again) trying to reshape and remodel itself in the midst of the economic and financial crisis, Turkey is experiencing economic growth and is joining the new regional and global leaders. Do partners still know each other? Does one still know what other looks like? Are abovementioned changing circumstances influence on their relationship (should they)?
At the end of Irish presidency so long expected step forward had been made with Chapter 22. But as EU members agreed on “technical” opening of a new negotiating chapter, they could not neglect political circumstances marked by a demonstrations. The Accession Conference and official opening of the Chapter will thus follow only after this year’s progress report of the Commission. The controversy of EU-Turkey relations and especially of Turkish accession negotiation process continues.
Key questions:Where can we place EU-Turkey relations ten, twenty or thirty years from now?
What kind of relationship would be beneficial for EU and Turkey? Does the debate on the EU’s future influence Turkey’s road towards the EU and how can Turkey influence this debate?
Regardless of the answers, one thing remains certain – any future outlook of Europe will have to take into account the growing political influence and power that Turkey is projecting in its neighbourhood and the wider regional context – so how to make things work for the highest benefit of all?