The conference was opened by the Serbian President Boris Tadić who stressed his country’s full commitment to support multilateral and regional approaches in order to respond to the 21st century security challenges. In particular he mentioned organised crime as one of the problems that the Western Balkans region needed to tackle urgently. President Tadić expressed confidence that Serbia and other countries of the region would become members of the European Union, describing the process of European integration as ”irreversible”.
Delegates discussed a variety of regional and global security policies, including developments in the Middle East, energy security, relations with Russia and the role of the media in the Western Balkans. The Foreign Ministers of the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Hungary exchanged views on the benefits of regional cooperation.
NATO was represented by Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges Ambassador Gabor Ikody and Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Dr. Stefanie Babst, who participated in a panel with the Slovenian Defence Minister Ljubica Jelušič on Women Leaders in the Security Sector. The panel discussed the progress being made by the Balkans countries in implementing national action plans on UNSCR 1325 “Women, Peace and Security”. Dr. Babst applauded the Serbian national Action Plan, saying that it was a role model for other countries. Minister Jelušič stressed that, while some progress had been made, it was important to implement the Action Plans into practice.
The Belgrade Security Forum was organised by three prominent Serbian NGOs: the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, the European Movement in Serbia and the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy. The conference is intended to become an annual international event hosted by Serbia.