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BSF 2022: 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 Russian aggression on Ukraine, the remaining postulates of international and humanitarian law collapsed, bringing an era of uncertainty and instability.

Once again, we are witnessing the 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, like 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 fuel and food prices. The rare earth war and trade wars indicate the possibility of a new global trade system emerging.

All of the above is hampering global 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 time in the future.

With its global patterns of behaviour, the international community cannot react quickly enough to address these challenges adequately. The traditional paradigms on the East-West and the North-South axes are undergoing a reconfiguration. The international rules-based order, established largely as a global response to the atrocities of both world wars in the first half of the 20th 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 worldwide phenomena.

In this unstable environment, what place should the European Union occupy?

Join us as we address these topics at the Bled Strategic Forum 2022.

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