17th Bled Strategic Forum, entitled “The rule of power or the power of rules?”, opened today with the welcome addresses by the host of the Bled Strategic Forum, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, Tanja Fajon, President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
In her welcome address, Minister Fajon stressed that unity and a more effective multilateral system are crucial for addressing challenges such as poverty, inequality, polarisation and climate change. President Pahor highlighted the role of the European Union on issues related to the war in Ukraine and the situation in the Western Balkans, while the President of the European Commission Von der Leyen noted that the title of this year’s BSF sums up the most relevant question of our times: “Will the rule of power replace the power of rule? It all depends on the power of democracy and our capacity to uphold fundamental principles and protect our friends”. Von der Leyen is the first President of the European Commission to address the Bled Strategic Forum.
Following the opening addresses, the audience was addressed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who spoke at the BSF Leaders panel and warned that Russia was a threat to the whole of Europe.
Zelensky called for a full embargo on Russia and called for the continuation of aid to Ukraine, noting that while fatigue might become an issue in the West, a country fighting for its survival cannot have fatigue. Prime Minister Golob acknowledged that fatigue was coming, but the Leaders’ panel with Croatian Primer Minister Plenković, Albanian Prime Minister Rama, and Moldovan President Sandu alongside Golob reiterated the support for Ukraine.
The discussions of the first day will address the challenging times for Europe and the world and the status of the multilateral system, while the panels of the second day will address the post-war recovery of Ukraine, the emergence of new geopolitics, EU strategic autonomy, strategic communication, the architecture of European security, relations with European strategic partners, issues of water and food security and more.