The 2021 edition of Bled Strategic Forum will take place between 1st and 2nd of September in Bled under the title “Future of Europe”. It will for the 16th time and in spite of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in one place gather distinguished foreign and Slovenian political leaders and leading experts from spheres of economy, research and development, science, technology and civil society.

Main event will be between 30th and 31st August preceded by Young Bled Strategic Forum where young leaders will try to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues through interactive discussions and workshops.

Europe and with it the EU have been faced, over a relatively short period of time, with a number of difficult situations, ranging from financial and migration crises, Brexit and COVID-19 pandemic that have challenged the organization’s values and standards, but also decreased the level of trust in international law and organizations. It would therefore be fair to say that those experiences affect the social, economic and political structure of the world, Europe, the EU, its member states and every single individual. Tackling demographic challenges, investing in youth, R&D, digital and green projects, infrastructure, energy, digital connectivity and artificial intelligence is therefore an essential part of EU’s post-crisis recovery alongside with putting more emphasis on increasing its political power on the global stage and building strong partnerships with its allies. Consequently, this year’s Bled Strategic Forum will through a plethora of panels and with the help of numerous experts try to shed light on our common way forward.

Central theme of this year’s Bled Strategic Forum is the future of Europe and a call for increasing its resilience. As the leading international conference in Central and South-Eastern as well as unique, open and inclusive platform on Europe’s key challenges of the 21st century it will host over 170 visible speakers and panellists. Among them are EU senior representatives, such as President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, President of the European Council Charles Michel, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi and European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Šuica. They will be accompanied by former ministers, current ministers and presidents of governments and countries, senior representatives of European and international institutions, civil society representatives such as Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, representatives of global companies such as Facebook, Google, ESA, NASA, Microsoft and Generali, and representatives of academic and research organizations.

 

Key topics for panel discussions

Bled Strategic Forum 2021 is also one of the main events taking place during the second Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council, under the slogan “Together. Resilient. Europe.” Future of Europe, sustainability, digitalisation and Transatlantic relations are common key topics on which Slovenia and with it Bled Strategic Forum build and encourage dialogue. That is why, on the first day, European Heads of State and senior representatives will discuss the main challenges for the future of the EU, including enlargement. Among the topics to be discussed on Day 1 will also be post-epidemic recovery, green and digital transformation, and the future of European integration.

Key topics of the Day 2 will be the importance of transatlantic cooperation and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, regional challenges in the Eastern Partnership countries, stability in the Mediterranean and joint governance of the Adriatic Sea, climate change and responses to it, digitalisation, cyber security, and economic recovery and tourism.

 

Young Bled Strategic Forum

The Young Bled Strategic Forum, this year under the title Future of Europe – Youth at the Centre, has been held as part of the main event since 2011 and enables the younger generations to actively participate in society. 2021 edition will focus on the possibilities and opportunities for the active participation of young people in European affairs while also addressing problems they face and the tools they lack to guarantee that youth really is the future of Europe. Two-day event will enable young participants to actively work towards constructing a draft declaration or rather a blueprint of the European future through capacity building, consultations, interactive workshops, round table discussions and other structured activities.

 

Partnerships and cooperations

Since 2006 Bled Strategic Forum has hosted more than 100,000 participants from 100 countries, more than 30 Heads of State and Government, more than 300 ministers, more than 100 representatives of international organizations and followed more than 400 hours of discussions.

This year’s and all previous years’ realisations of the Forum would not be possible without the support of the partners and sponsors. Among them this year are numerous institutional partners with whom we co-create expert side events and talks.

 

* Event will be live streamed online and therefore open to anyone. Look for the link on the Bled Strategic Forum website and Facebook page.

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