GLOBSEC 2021 Bratislava Forum: Day 1 Recap

The first day of the GLOBSEC 2021 Bratislava Forum has come to the end and we are bringing you a brief recap of the most important moments and discussions that took place today.  



The 16th edition of the GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum has officially kicked off as of today at 12 pm with the first opening keynote remarks, spoken by the president of the Slovak republic, H.E.Zuzana Čaputová who emphasized the need for talks about deep changes and strategic conversations. She stressed three crucial lessons. Firstly, to successfully deal with the crisis, we need to accept its existence.  Secondly, there is an importance for rules and the need to respect them. Respecting the rules can save many lives. Thirdly, we need to be thinking ahead. Preventive steps will make us more resilient. The following message was delivered all the way from Vatican city. His Holiness Pope Francis touched upon many points made by H.E. Čaputová. He welcomed the important debates on rebuilding the world better and stressed the urgency of dealing with economic, ecological and political issues. His message was mainly to reflect on the significance of the crisis, which has opened up new possibilities, challenging us, to consider our present situation, to turn a time of trial into a moment of decision. He reminded us to remain resistant and humble because every crisis forces us to choose, for better or worse. “ We come out of it either better or worse, but never the same”. His final words wished for the best to come out of this conference and finding ways to rebuild the world. 

The president of the Republic of Poland, H.E. Andrzej Duda appreciated the unique opportunity to speak after His Holiness Pope and reflected on the events of the previous year. He is hopeful that the pandemic will come to an end and that future generations will be able to prevent such a crisis from happening in the future. His final remarks were dedicated to the future economic growth of Poland and its member states. The official welcome and the last keynote remarks were presented by the president of the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Zoran Milanovic. He spoke about the event of 9/11 as he happened to be in Washington D.C. the very moment and witnessed the attack. He said he never felt so scared before. He also compared the feeling from 20 years ago to the current pandemic fear that goes around. He continued to talk about Croatia and its relationship with neighbouring countries, as well as the importance of Croatia being accepted into Schengen.





13:00-13:50 - Global Trade - Optimism Restored?

Cecilia Malmström, Assar Gabrielsson Professor, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg (virtually) 

Huiyao (Henry) Wang, Founder and President, Center for China and Globalization, Beijing (virtually) 

Susan Danger, Chief Executive Officer, American Chamber of Commerce to the EU, Brussels (virtually) 

Wilhelm Molterer, Chairman of the Board of Directors, GLOBSEC, Vienna  

Led by: Sasha Vakulina, Business Editor, Euronews, Lyon

After the opening ceremony, the first discussion was about the global economic recovery. Trade is the key to economic recovery globally. The three major players of global trade - the European Union, the United States and China - need to build trust and work together on overcoming some of the persistent issues around tariffs and protectionism. At the same time, there is an urgency to think and act globally which requires including all players of the global trade - most importantly, emerging economies.



13:55-14:40 - Raising the Bar: Towards a New EU-US Digital Agenda 

Frances G. Burwell, Senior Director, McLarty Associates Washington, D.C. 

Marta Poslad, Head of CEE & Transatlantic Public Policy, Google Warsaw 

Anna Fielder, President, European Digital Rights, Brussels (virtually) 

Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou, Vice-Chair, International Trade Committee, European Parliament (virtually) 

Led by: Tyson Barker, Head, Technology and Global Affairs, German Council on Foreign Relations, Berlin 

The debate centred around various themes connected to digital infrastructure, machine learning, tech regulation, digital policy and artificial intelligence. An all-female panel of experts discussed the transatlantic relationship between the US and EU and focused on the strategic interdependence between both actors. The panellists stressed a long-term solution in terms of the need for effective privacy legislation and the modification of laws. Questions such as “Who makes the rules in a digital age?” or “Who is setting the rules?” were focused on during the debate. There is also a need for the monitoring of monopolistic powers of certain big tech companies and also the need for the partners to be equal. 



14:45-15:30 - Global Perspectives on Fighting COVID-19 

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Sweden, WHO Special Envoy for the ACT-Accelerator  

Sir Suma Chakrabarti, former President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, London (virtually) 

Marko Čadež, President, Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Serbia  

Led by: Sarah Wheaton, Chief Policy Correspondent, POLITICO Europe, Brussels

Are we entering a new age of pandemics? We are fighting against an enemy, which is moving, which is changing and adapting, which is unpredictable, so the fight against the COVID-19 virus has to take place on several levels. Increased production, sharing and delivering vaccines among the countries and their citizens are only one part of the story. It is also necessary to think about what we are going to do next. How are we going to secure the rebuilding of the economy? How are we going to prevent the next crisis? For that, international rules need to be established and applied across the whole world. International institutions need to be more adaptive and respected. The other battles we fight need to be put aside to counter the virus.




15:00-15:20 - Precious Space: A String of Satellites and the Future for Influence 

Paul Jaffe, Electronics Engineer, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. (virtually) 

Aarti Holla-Maini, Secretary-General, Association of all satellite operators in Europe, Middle-East and Africa, Brussels (virtually) 

Led by: Patrick Tucker, Technology Editor, Defence One, Washington, D.C. 

In 2019, space was recognized by NATO as the fifth operational domain, and it also serves military purposes down on the ground. Being increasingly important for defence and deterrence, the transatlantic community must work together on strengthening the command-and-control protocols in the light of increasing great power competition and deployment of anti-satellite missiles, but also to embrace cooperation with the private sector. The public-private dialogue is notably important in harnessing and understanding the newest technologies and formulating adequate rules in terms of sharing space, as well as the electromagnetic spectrum. 




15:20-15:50 - Titans of technology: Winning the Future of Defence

Emmanuel Bresson, Advisor for Cyber, Artificial Intelligence and Disruptive Technologies, French Ministry of Armies (virtually) 
Heather M. Roff, Senior Research Analyst, Applied Physics Laboratory, The Johns Hopkins University, Laurel (virtually) 
Led by: Patrick Tucker, Technology Editor, Defence One, Washington, D.C.

New and emerging technologies fundamentally alter the relations between humans and machines and significantly accelerate the speed of warfare. To ensure ethical use of technology in operations and beyond, international regulatory frameworks need to draw firmly on established values, create a professional code of conduct, and declare rigorous and clear testing and training mechanisms. Even as technologies have the potential to make decision-making faster and more efficient, human responsibility must be the core of all operations; the human chain of command and control at every level is key.   




15:50-16:40 - European Defence Cooperation: Defining the Resilient Europe 

Marian Majer, State Secretary, Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic  

Jan Havránek, Deputy Minister for Defence Policy and Strategy, Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic  

Frank Haun, Chief Executive Officer, KNDS Amsterdam (virtually) 

Jan-Olof Lind, State Secretary, Ministry of Defence of the Kingdom of Sweden (virtually) 

Led by: Marcin Zaborowski, Policy Director for Future of Security Programme, GLOBSEC Policy Institute, Warsaw 

With new defence initiatives such as PESCO or European Defence Agency being created, it is important to find a comprehensive coherence between their activities and NATO. Both opportunities and risks arising from the coexistence of the agencies, which must be inherently reflected also in the light of a rapidly changing environment. The initiatives may play an important role in accelerating technological innovation, as well as in closing the gaps between the larger and smaller states in terms of defence and security.




15:50-16:50 Democracy in the Digital Space: An Alliance for a Healthy Infosphere 

Renate Nikolay, Head of the Cabinet to the Vice President for Values and Transparency, European Commission, Brussels (virtually) 

David Carroll, Associate Professor of Media, New School, New York City (virtually) 

Markus Reinisch, Vice President, Public Policy Europe, Middle East and Africa, Facebook, London 

Led by: Steven Clemons, Editor-at-large, The Hill, Washington, D.C.

The issue of healthy digital space has been discussed at GLOBSEC for a long time. Today’s debate discussed the need for a transatlantic relationship between the US and the EU in this sphere, and the visit of the US president is a great signal for a strong relationship. The panellists discussed the importance of not taking democracy for granted, especially in the digital space. Therefore, there is a need for regulation, but it is also necessary for the internet to be considered a free space. This means that there is a need for a balance between regulation and censorship. Additionally, the panellists also urged the need for digital platforms to also take responsibility and tackle the issues connected to digital space.



16:55-17:55 - The EU Economic Reboot: On Track Toward Resilient Economies?

H. E. Eduard Heger, Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic  

H. E. Sebastian Kurz, Chancellor of the Republic of Austria  

Karel Havlicek, the Deputy Prime Minister for the Czech Republic 

Led by: Sasha Vakulina, Business Editor, Euronews, Lyon

Despite the initial scepticism about the European Union recovery package prevalent in Central Europe, there is optimism that it will be enough to jump-start the economies. Structural reforms are key to long-term growth and economic recovery and are perceived positively in Central Europe.