CEI Secretary General Roberto Antonione participated in the 11th edition of the Belgrade Security Forum on 28 October 2021 under the title of Testing Humanity. He was a speaker during the session organised by the CEI in partnership with BFPE which tackled region-to-region cooperation with focus on opportunities for Central and Southeastern Europe.
The panel started from the premise that the global pandemic has the potential to reshape the world. As interconnectedness and interdependence are still present, they are evolving over time. At the same time, a number of challenges remain the same, e.g. the use of sustainable resources, a human-centred development and resilient institutions and democracies; in particular, it sought to understand what the role of national governments was in establishing regional cooperation and what the plans for the post-COVID recovery in respective countries were; and looked at the ever-changing role of regional organisations, from knowledge brokers, facilitators and advocates.
In this context, Antonione underlined that regional cooperation was an innovation in diplomacy and that regional organisations were closely linked to globalisation; that it had often been a response to global challenges and that policy dialogue was the key driver for enhancing this process. He highlighted that the COVID-19 crisis constituted fertile ground in this regard as well as for fruitful experience-exchange among all the CEI Member States, such as the CEI-WHO/EUROPE Task Force cooperation, aimed at stepping up coordination at regional level and at mitigating the impact of the pandemic.
State Secretary at the MFA in Serbia, Nemanja Starovic, highlighted that Serbia was strongly committed to the CEI as it was able to meet the basic needs of the country.
The discussion was moderated by Maja Piscevic, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and witnessed the participation of Nemanja Starovic, State Secretary in Serbia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Péter Sztáray, Minister of State for Security Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, Gordana Đurović, professor at the University of Montenegro and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European Integration of Montenegro.
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Since its foundation, the Belgrade Security Forum has established itself as the leading conference on foreign policy and security in the Western Balkans.