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Baku Forum features session on future of Europe

A panel session on the theme “The Future of Europe” was held as part of the 5th Global Baku Forum on March 17.

 

The 5th Global Baku Forum, titled “The Future of International Relations: Power and Interests” kicked off in Baku March 16.

 

Moderated by former Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zlatko Lagumdzija, the discussion was joined by Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovin Mladen Ivanić, former President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski, former Prime Minister of Belgium Yves Leterme, former President of Slovenia Danilo Turk, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Wim Kok, former President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers, former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Jan Fischer, and former Foreign Minister of Italy Franco Frattini.

 

Mladen Ivanić noted that security is the foremost issue for the European Union.

 

“One of the major problems in the EU has to do with decision-making. I represent a Balkan country. I cannot imagine our region without the EU which is like an umbrella over our head. I don’t think the EU will cease to exist in the wake of the migration problems. Two years ago, the Union had faced far greater problems. In the end, a solution was found,” he added.  

 

Kwasniewski said Europe seems lively after the elections held in the Netherlands.

 

“Demographics and migrations are two major problems faced by the EU. For the EU, migration is a matter of the future. I think that a huge vacancy has opened for Balkan countries after Great Britain left the EU,” he noted.

 

Leterme noted that in Europe the difference between leftists and rightists has begun to disappear. “Our citizens really want to use the euro and move freely within the EU. I should note that populism has no chance to win at present”, he said.

 

D.Turk also believes that Brexit created a chance for Balkan countries. “Last year, Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for an EU membership and some progress has already been achieved. Other Balkan countries will take steps in this regard. I'm hopeful about the future expansion of the European Union,” he added.

 

Wim Kok noted that the euro will be the subject of discussion in the second half of this year. “US President Donald Trump said that Europe is a German project. This statement is wrong. President Trump encourages other EU member states to leave the organization. I think the UK's decision to leave the EU was not right,” he said.

 

Valdis Zatlers said that Latvia is committed to European values.

 

Jan Fischer and Franco Frattini expressed their opinions on security issues in Europe. 

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