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2020 Bled Strategic Forum

BSF

Challenges and Opportunities in the Post-COVID–19 World

Neighbours – Regions – Global World: Partners or Rivals?

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected societies and economies around the globe and has permanently reshaped the world as we know it. If we wish to create a resilient and sustainable global community capable of responding to the challenges of the 21st century, the reinvention of our societies is inevitable. The Covid-19 outbreak has exposed many of the vulnerabilities of the current global system, and its consequences will disrupt just about every area of our lives.

We are entering an unprecedented era of crisis management. In these challenging times, with global response inefficient and inadequate, we are seeing a renewed shift in the international community towards enhanced neighbourly and regional cooperation and a need for new initiatives. The pandemic has clearly revealed the issues and problems that effective multilateralism is facing, and brought to the forefront different concepts of international cooperation. Good neighbourly relations and robust regional initiatives will play a significant role in redefining and reinventing the way the global community faces new and asymmetrical threats in the future.

Emerging regional groupings, such as the Three Seas Initiative, open up new opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe to bridge infrastructural gaps in the fields of energy, mobility, and digitalisation, undertake strategic investment projects, and strengthen transatlantic cooperation. In this context, artificial intelligence and digitalisation, in particular, have untapped potential to become a game changer in helping us reinvent society in a sustainable manner.

The European Union finds itself in the midst of these changes, and our ability to understand, adapt to and mitigate them will determine our future political, security, and economic outreach. In this new reality, the EU needs to lead by example and promote as well as safeguard these values, which have enabled us to prosper and develop as a groundbreaking project, redefining relations between states, regions, and societies.