European Western Balkans

Belgrade Security Conference officially opened with a call for a change of Serbian foreign policy

Photo: Flickr/BSC

BELGRADE – The second Belgrade Security Conference (BCS) officially opened on Wednesday under the theme “Reconstructing the global (dis)order.” Over the course of the three-day conference, participants will discuss topics such as the war in Ukraine, regional security, EU enlargement 20 years after the Thessaloniki Summit, and the concept of the captured state.

The conference was officially opened by Igor Bandović, the Director of the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP). He stated that this year’s conference is taking place during the second year of the war in Ukraine and a new conflict in the Middle East, along with numerous challenges in the Western Balkans region.

“The world is increasingly in a state of disorder, hence the title ‘Reconstruction of the global (dis)order,'” Bandović observed, adding that the conference provides an opportunity to find some answers to global and regional challenges.

Bandović assessed that the absence of a system and the illusion of order in the Balkans this year had terrifying consequences.

“It is incredible to even say this after so many years of negotiation attempts, talks, and dialogues, but armed attacks in Kosovo last month are a horrific reminder of how fragile peace is and how close war, death, and destruction are. How is it possible that in one reality, we negotiate solutions, normalization of relations, and the European future of Balkan countries, while simultaneously preparing for armed conflict and gathering weapons for war? The question arises: what is reality and what is illusion?”, Bandović said.

He explained that this year, the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina is not among the conference topics, following last year’s attempt to bring representatives from Kosovo, who were denied entry into Serbia at the last moment.

He also mentioned that this year, representatives of the Serbian government will not participate in the forum, as they canceled their participation several days before the conference.

“Our desire was for ministers from the Serbian government to join the discussions. Unfortunately, a few days before the conference, as if on command, they began canceling their participation in the Belgrade Security Conference. The lack of dialogue reflects a lack of ideas,” Bandović assessed.

Photo: Flickr/BSC

During the opening, a film about Milovan Milovanović, a Serbian statesman from the early 20th century, was screened.

Srđan Cvijić, President of the International Advisory Committee of BCSP, noted that Milovanović may be the most significant Serbian politician of that time, but unfairly forgotten. As he assessed, Milovanović’s idea that Serbia should align itself with Western states as its closest partners is one that should be followed today.

“This year’s conference is dedicated to Milovan Milovanović, a diplomat and statesman. Milovanović liked naval metaphors, believing that Serbia should tie itself to a larger ship to find a safe harbor. Russia is not that ship at this moment,” Cvijić concluded.

This year’s conference will address topics such as the future of Ukraine after the war, UN reforms, the European political community, the phenomenon of the captured state, and many others. During the three-day conference, there will be 20 panels and related events, featuring over 80 speakers and more than 500 registered participants. A new feature of this year’s conference is the BSC program for young leaders. “Our ongoing mission is to select and provide an opportunity for a new generation of democratic experts and leaders in the region who will continue the vision and values that the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCBP) promotes in its work and activities.

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