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bf logo sectionsCentre for European Perspective and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia are organizing the fourth annual conference Bled Strategic Forum entitled "THE POLITICS OF ECONOMIC CRISIS: Redefining Economic and Geopolitical Landscapes in Europe and Eurasia" in Bled, Slovenia, on 30 and 31 August 2009.

The numerous challenges the world is facing today are themselves greatly affected by the global economic crisis, which has raised profound questions about our current economic and financial systems, subjecting the existing geopolitical arrangements to new consideration. Currently in its fourth year, the Bled Strategic Forum will be addressing many of these interdependent economic and geostrategic issues. The underlying theme permeating this year's event will be relations between the Euro-Atlantic community and Russia.

The two-day event will consist of a Leader's Panel and five topical panels, including a number of additional events and opportunities for more informal talks.

The traditional Leaders' Panel will be focused on global governance and the need for its reform with a view to accommodating the increasingly interdependent nature of economic, security, societal and environmental challenges. In this regard, it will touch upon issues such as the role of regional cooperation, UN institutional reform and the role of emerging market economies.

The special theme of this year's Bled Forum is Europe's security structure. The panelists will be discussing the merits and drawbacks of the Russian proposal for a new European Security Architecture and reflecting on the need to install a new security arrangement and on its potential impact on cooperation between the Euro-Atlantic community and Russia.

The potential effects of the current economic crisis on security both within and among societies will be dealt with in the panel on the security implications of the economic crisis. Questions will be asked about the dangers of the accompanying trends of rising protectionism and "deglobalization", as well as about the expected shift in the geopolitical lineup.

A panel will be devoted to energy security and the impacts of the global economic crisis on it. The main focus of the discussion will be placed on the ways to deal with uncertainty regarding investments in energy projects concerned with ensuring the transit and storage of energy products as well as the development of new technologies and projects to enhance energy efficiency.

Challenges in the region between the Baltic and the wider Black Sea area on to the Caspian Sea will be discussed within the panel dedicated to the role of regional cooperation initiatives. Particular emphasis will be placed on the potential of these frameworks to bring together the Russian and EU approaches, help the countries improve their development prospects and strengthen their ability to address destabilizing factors.

Our traditional emphasis on the Western Balkan region will be enacted within the panel addressing the specific challenges of the region in dealing with the fallout from the global economic crisis. The panel will examine the growth and development prospects for the Western Balkan countries in this year and the next, as well as the potential effects of the crisis on the EU accession process in the region.

Like the previous three conferences, the Forum will host prominent political and business leaders, representatives of international organizations and fora, as well as academics, NGOs and the media.

Find more information about the Forum at www.bledstrategicforum.org.