Bucharest Forum is an annual high-level event organized by the Aspen Institute Romania and the German Marshall Fund of the US, Bucharest office. Since its inception in 2012, the mission of the Bucharest Forum is to create a regional platform for forward thinking on economic and security policies, and for promoting political dialogue between governments and civil society.

In 1989 the trans-Atlantic space seemed to have come to a stable and tranquil state that would forever ensure peace and prosperity not only on the two sides of the Atlantic, but to those parts of the world willing to embrace and abide by the same values. Thirty years later the world is marred by geopolitical disruptions, economic volatility and social anguish, with questioning the very values they cheered three decades ago. Trans-Atlantic cooperation is weakened by a return of great power politics, the US is reframing its attitude towards the world and within itself, while Europe seems captive to its own angst and low self-esteem.

Technological advances are both embraced and feared by businesses, politicians and citizenry, and the wide opportunities they open lead to scenarios ranging from heavenly to apocalyptic. Trans-Atlantic space seems more unsettling and the future more unpredictable than ever in the last decades. Against this background, China continues to rise economically, and Russia seems to intimidate the European neighborhood, opposing their streamlined decision making and tight control of society to the seemingly less efficient democratic system and respect for human rights, only to further threaten democratic self-esteem and deepen polarization within societies. Nowadays East meets West not only geographically, and not only in the East of Europe.

Thus, there are three silver linings this edition of Bucharest Forum aims to explore:

  • Citizens in Europe continue to cherish the European Union and believe in the values it was founded on, as revealed by opinion polls throughout the continent;
  • On both sides of the Atlantic, but especially in Europe, businesses integrate and use technology to the benefit of both economy and citizenry, without major disruptions to the workforce. Governments follow suit, albeit at a slower pace.
  • Europeans started taking their security seriously, in all its dimensions (cyber, informational, economic and military).

Bucharest Forum 2019 will offer a platform for reflection on the challenges of the present, and on possible paths for the future, as seen from the Eastern border of the Western world.

The Forum will focus on three main topics:

Technology – A Positive Drive

  • Business and Technology – the Driving Force to Normality
  • Governments, Citizens and Technology – A Virtuous Triangle
  • Energy – Smart or Outsmarted?
  • Next generation of PPP in the New Economy

A Renewed Europe

  • A New Europe – Cohesion or Social Rift?
  • Eastern Europe – Forget Geopolitics, Beware of Geo-Economy

A Bolder Europe

  • The Other Three Seas – Caspian, Black Sea, Mediterranean
  • Middle East – Is Anyone Still Looking for A Solution?
  • East Meets West – A Matter of Perspective