Press release, post Balkans & Black Sea Forum 2022 EN

Press Release

Athens-Greece, 19/12/2022

After an obligatory hiatus of two years due to the recent pandemic, the 4th edition of the Balkans & Black Sea Forum (BBSF) took place in the emblematic Acropolis Museum in Athens, on 13-14 December 2022 with the participation of numerous political leaders, secretaries general of International Organizations, ambassadors, policy makers, academics and other high-level experts.

Entitled “The Eurasian nexus post 2022: high-stakes arena for security, trade and investments”, this year’s edition paved the way for a sincere, coherent and constructive dialogue, needed today more than ever before, as the recent events in Eastern Europe led to a new and dangerously destabilizing situation, the dire consequences of which are still to be defined.

Official partners of the Balkans & Black Sea Forum 2022 were UN Women and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, leading sponsors the Piraeus Port Authority SA and Cosco Shipping; the event was also placed under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Energy & Environment and of Development & Investments.

Some of the key messages that could be drawn from the vibrant discussions during the Forum were:

  1. Regional cooperation should be enhanced and more focused on the needs of the citizens, whose voices should be better heard at the decision-making centers.
  2. Inspired and inspiring leadership is missing in many pivotal States and democratic values suffer considerable setbacks in many parts of our small globe. This must change.
  3. Greater efforts to observe the global UN SDGs should be undertaken by the public & private sectors, in order to meet the commitments assumed by all.
  4. Concrete measures must be adopted to bypass gender employment barriers; innovative legislation and more funds are needed to allow the participation of women in higher places of employment and encourage them to become entrepreneurs.
  5. The BRI of China constitutes a very useful tool to further facilitate trade and other exchanges if the principles of transparency, fair competition and feasibility analysis are maintained and respected.
  6. The transition to renewable sources of energy should be further accelerated and sustainable, innovative technology should find its way faster and more effectively in the everyday life of all.
  7. China’s COSCO has achieved a lot in elevating the port of Piraeus as the fastest-growing port in container traffic, also upgrading its capacity to undertake more ship-repairs activity.
  8. While the EU continues to remain the focal point of attraction for States in the Western Balkans and in the broader European neighborhood, it must undergo significant reforms, if it wishes to play an adequate role on the international scene and participate in the construction of the future global security architecture.
  9. Common sense is needed to address even minor impediments that decisively obstruct the swift and smooth road transport of goods and services across the borders of many States; digitalization of procedures and attracting (through better conditions) more young drivers can play a significant role in improving road transports.

The conference was divided into 6 main Chapters referring to significant issues for both the Balkan and the Black Sea regions:

  • Chapter 1: Energy Supply & Security, Environmental Commitments in a World of Sanctions & Disruptions
  • Chapter 2: Innovation, Technology, Financing, Investments at serving society
  • Chapter 3: Regional cooperation – integration based on the economic geography of the regions
  • Chapter 4: Connectivity – Infrastructure, the ever-growing need for new Investments
  • Chapter 5: Investing in gender innovation to build sustainable economies
  • Chapter 6: Global convulsions and their impact on the Balkans and the Black Sea region

The closing Session was among all moderators who informed on the main conclusions that could be drawn from the vibrant speeches and discussions that took place in each of them. The concrete results obtained, some of which have already attracted extensive media coverage and interest, will also be placed under the consideration of governments of the States in the region, in our sincere quest to better serve the interests of the citizens.

Among the 30 speakers honoring the BBSF2022 with their participation were the Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Ms. Željka Cvijanović, the Managing Director EUROPE of the European External Action Service Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, the Deputy Minister of Economy & Sustainable Development of Georgia Mr. Romeo Mikautadze, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China Mr. Xiao Junzheng, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Ambassador Lazar Comanescu, the Ambassador of Türkiye Mr. Burak Özügergin, the Regional Director of the UN Women Office for Europe & Central Asia Ms. Alia El-Yassir, the Secretary General of the International Road Transport Union Mr. Umberto de Pretto, the Secretary General of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions Ms. Eleni Marianou, the President of the European Public Law Organization Dr. Spyridon Flogaitis, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Piraeus Port Authority SA Mr. ΥU Zeng Gang, the President of Türkiye Woman Entrepreneurs Association Ms. Emine Perviz Erdem, the Corporate Affairs Manager of the Investment Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye Ms. Esra Dogan Tulgan, and many more.

The Balkans & Black Sea Forum constitutes an independent economic platform and a pivotal hub for leading business- & policymakers committed to enhancing stability, growth and cooperation across the Balkan and Black Sea regions. Distinguished speakers and prominent influencers from the public and private sectors engage and interact to review challenges, assess implications, identify opportunities and explore innovative ways for promoting security, sustainable development, and bi/multilateral cooperation. –