The conference brought together experts, officials, representatives of the academic and business environment, as well as the media in a series of debates that addressed the most pressing security issues in the Black Sea and the Balkans regions. This emblematic annual event was organized by the New Strategy Center, in partnership with the University of Agronomic Sciences in Bucharest, and in an institutional partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense of Romania and and benefitted from the support of the Public Diplomacy Division of NATO, as in all previous editions.
Now more than ever, the Black Sea region has become the focus of the entire world. As Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă put it in his speech during the opening panel of the event,„the Black Sea region is now becoming a bigger stake than ever before, not only in the classic military and security sense, but especially from a broader geopolitical perspective." He followed up by noting that„this has implications on multiple levels: security, energy, supply chain security, infrastructure, interconnectivity, cyber security". All of these issues were delved into in depth during the 21 panels of the two-day forum. The topics of debate ranged from the unprovoked and unjustified aggression of the Russian Federation against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, to the consequences of the war in all parts of the world, the prospects of the global economy in the short and medium term, opportunities for development and regional cooperation, diversification and green transition in the energy sector, supply chains, food security and climate change, strategic infrastructure and military mobility as well as the impact of new technologies military.
TheBlack Sea and Balkans Security Forum has evolved over the years, becoming a landmark event and one of the most important discussion platforms in the region, where free exchanges of views on the most pressing issues in national security, defense, and foreign policy take place. This year's edition featured 106 speakers from 21 countries - EU and NATO member states as well as partner countries.
Participants included Romanian Prime Minister Niwcolae Ciucă, as well as Romanian Ministers of Minister of Foreign Affairs, National Defense, Energy, and Education, and the one on Research and Digitalization, namely namely Bogdan Aurescu, Vasile Dîncu, Virgil Popescu, and Sorin Cîmpeanu, Sebastian Burduja as well as important figures from the defence domain such as the Romanian Chief of Defence Staff, Daniel Petrescu, as well as Chiefs of Land, Air, and Naval Forces, MG Iulian Berdilă, LTG Viorel Pană, and Rear Admiral Mihai Panait.
The event also hosted a varied list of more that 100 speakers from various fields and countries, including Sir Stuart Paeach, Prime Minister's Special Envoy to the Western Balkans, UK, LTG (Ret.) Ben Hodges, former commander United States Army Europe, USA, MG John Mead, Deputy Chief of Staff – Plans, JFC Naples, NATO, Ambassador (Ret.) Victor Jackovich, first US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, MG Pierre-Joseph Givre, Director of the Command Doctrine and Education Centre, Land Forces, France, Justin Crump, analyst, CEO Sibylline Ltd, President of the Association of International Risk Intelligence Professionals (AIRIP), UK, Mr. Fabien Zamora, journalist, Agence France-Presse, France, Mr. Adam Eberhardt, Director of the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), Poland. Ambassador (ret) Tacan Ildem, Chairman, The Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, Turkey, as well as an important group of participants from Ukraine, such as Mr. Mykhailo Samus, Director, New Geopolitics Research Network, and Ms. Oleksandra Tsekhanovska, Head of Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group, Ukraine Crisis Media Center - some being present in Bucharest, while others participating via video messages, such as the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksiy Reznikov, or participating online.
One of the panels that enjoyed a large audience was the one entitled Lessons Learned from the War in Ukraine in terms of Strategic Communication.**\ Weaponized Narratives and the Effects of Disinformation** . The panel was moderated by Radu Tudor, Romamian military analyst and journalist at Antena 3 Romania. He was joined by Dan Cărbunaru, Spokesperson, Government of Romania, Fabien Zamora, Agence France-Press, Andrei Țărnea, General Director, Communication and Public Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romania, Jacek Dankowski, International Cooperation Coordinator, Defence24 Poland, Brigadier General Constantin Spînu, Chief of the Public Relation Department, Ministry of National Defence, Romania and Krševan Antun Dujmović, Senior Associate, the Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO), Croatia.
During the panel, the experts analyzed the lessons learned from the first months of the war in Ukraine in terms of strategic communication, focusing on the narratives circulated online and the effects of disinformation. The speakers presented certain practical aspects regarding countering disinformation, identifying its different forms and main sources, from the perspective of public institutions, as well as the mass media. The phenomenon of fake news appears in the context of fundamental ideological fractures in society that produce a competition between different narratives that are antithetical, incongruent. The Russian Federation is the cause of these fractures, by taking advantage of them through its actions of disinformation. Moscow thus enhances its soft power capacity in the relationship with the West, focusing especially on narratives related to the economy, energy, but also certain cultural aspects. A Western response should be based on the inclusion of the private sector and the media and civil society in anti-disinformation campaigns.
All of the debates have been open to the public and the media, and are available to watch at the following links: DAY 1 – DAY 2 . For a short overview of each panel, you can access New Strategy Center's official website: DAY 1 – DAY 2 . More information about the event and the speakers can be found on the website of the event at: (https://2bsecurityforum.ro/)
In the margins of the security forum, New Strategy Center also organized the book launch of the Romanian edition of the volumeFuture War and the Defence of Europe, written by renowned American security and international relations experts Gen. (ret.) John R. Allen and Lt. Gen. (ret.) Ben Hodges, in collaboration with British professor Julian Lindley-French.
A timely analysis of the new strategic reality, the book integrates elements of history, strategy, politics and technology, presenting a series of possible scenarios designed to incite moments of reflection for the way in which Europe's defense is structured, as well as the transatlantic relationship, with its ever-changing dynamic. At the book launch, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Ben Hodges stated that "what we are seeing today in Ukraine is an example of what happens when deterrence policies fail."
"Future War and the Defence of Europe" appeared in English and German, and is now published in Romanian by the Military Publishing House, at the initiative of the New Strategy Center, as part of our efforts to contribute to the growth of security culture at the national level and to a better understanding of the security context in which we find ourselves.
As the authors argue, understanding the different ways in which the security context could develop is a key element in being able to formulate an appropriate and focused defense policy in the long term.
New Strategy Center is a Romanian think tank founded in 2015, which operates in the field of international relations, security and defense. It organizes various events and publishes specialized studies, especially to promote the strategic importance of the Black Sea region and the Balkans area. Details on NSC activity can be found by accessing: https://www.newstrategycenter.ro/home/