Friday 3 September
 
 

08.00 – 09.30 – Registration 09.30 – 09.45: Official opening  (Plenary – open session – press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –” Bucharest” Venue] 09.30 – 09.45 Welcome remarks: Mr. Ionel Nițu, President, New Strategy Center; Mr. Răzvan Teodorescu, Acting Rector of the University of Agronomic Sciences

  • Mrs. Ligia Deca, Presidential Advisor for Education (Message from H.E. Klaus Iohannis, The President of Romania, on the occasion of the 5th edition of the Black Sea and Balkans Security Forum)

09.45 – 10.55 Panel I. Pandemics, Infodemics and Education. Supporting Digital Literacy Projects and Countering Fake News Campaigns and Disinformation (Plenary – Open session, press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –” Bucharest” Venue] Chair: Prof. Alina Bârgăoanu, Senior Associate Expert, New Strategy Center; Dean, Faculty of Communication and Public Relations, National School of Political Science and Public Administration (SNSPA), Romania

10.55 – 11.15 Break 11.15 – 12.35 Panel IIa. Opportunities in the Black Sea Region for the Energy Sector. Development, Cooperation, Supplier Diversification (Plenary – open session, press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –”Bucharest” Venue] Chair: Mr. Marilen Pirtea, Rector of the West University of Timișoara, Romania

11.15 – 12.35 Panel IIb. Unmanned Systems in the Black Sea Region. Smart Approach, Fast Development (Open session, press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –“Danube” Venue] Chair: Rear Admiral (Ret.) Sorin Learschi, Senior Associate Expert, New Strategy Center, Romania

12.35-12.50 Break 12.50 – 14.00 Panel IIIa. Old Frozen Conflicts and New Wars.  Lessons for the Future (Open session, press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –“Bucharest” Venue] Chair:  Professor Dan Dungaciu, member of the Scientific Council, New Strategy Center, Romania

12.50 – 14.00 Panel IIIb. Food Security and Resilience in the Black Sea Region and the Balkans in the context of COVID-19 and Other Shocks (Plenary – open session, press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –”Black Sea” Venue] Chair: Mrs. Nastasia Belc, President/General Manager, National Research and Development Institute for Food Bioresources (IBA), Romania

  • Mr. László Borbély, State Advisor, Coordinator of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, Romania
  • Mrs. Heather McKhann, Coordinator Executive Secretariat, Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI)
  • Mrs. Claudia Zoani, Researcher, Biotechnologies and Agroindustry Division (BIOAG), Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), Italy
  • Mrs. Gina Fîntîneru, Vice Rector, University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Romania 13.30 – 14.00 Open Discussions

12.50 – 14.00 Panel IIIc. The Pandemic and the Future of the Economy. Development Trends in the Region (Open session, press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –“Danube” Venue] Chair: Mrs. Alexandra Gătej, Member of the Scientific Council, New Strategy Center, Romania

  • Mr. Radu Crăciun, President, Association for Private Pensions in Romania; General Manager, Romanian Commercial Bank (BCR) Pensions, Romania
  • Mrs. Andreja Marusic, Senior Private Sector Specialist, World Bank (via VTC)
  • Ambassador Lazăr Comănescu, Secretary General of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, Romania (via VTC)
  • Mr. Alexandru Reff, Country Managing Partner, Deloitte, Romania
  • Mr. István-Loránt Antal, Chairman, Committee on Energy, Energy Infrastructure and Mineral Resources, Senate, Romanian Parliament (via VTC) 13.30 – 14.00 Open Discussions

14.00-15.30 Break 15.30 – 17.00 Panel IV. Deterrence and Defence in the Euro-Atlantic Area. A Unitary and Comprehensive Response for the Safety of the Black Sea Region and the Balkans (Chatham House rule, no press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –”Bucharest” Venue] Chair: Major General (Ret.) Leonardo Dinu, member of the Scientific Council, New Strategy Center; former Deputy Chief of Military Intelligence Directorate, Romania

17.00 -17.30 Break 17.30 – 18.45 Panel V. Classic and Hybrid Challenges on NATO’s Eastern Flank. Building a Better Common Threats Understanding    (Chatham House rule, no press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –”Bucharest” Venue] Chair: Ambassador Cristian Diaconescu, member of the Scientific Council, New Strategy Center; former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Romania

Saturday 4 September
 
 

08.00 – 09.30 – Registration 08.15 –  09.25 Panel VI. Morning Special Session. What Does the Fall of Afghanistan Mean for the USA, NATO and EU?(Open session, press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –”Bucharest” Venue] Chair: Ms. Antonia Colibășanu, Analyst, Geopolitical Futures, Romania

09.25 -09.45 Break 09.45 – 10.45 Panel VII. Challenges and Opportunities in the Post-Pandemic World (Open session, press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –”Bucharest” Venue] Chair: Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, Honorary Chairman of the Scientific Council, New Strategy Center; Director, European Union Satellite Centre, Romania

10.45 -11.05 Break 11.05 – 12.20 Panel VIIIa. Security and Prosperity. Future Infrastructure for a Safer Region (Open session, press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences – ”Bucharest” Venue] Chair: Ms. Antonia Colibășanu, Analyst, Geopolitical Futures, Romania

11.05 – 12.20 Panel VIIIb. European Research and Development for Defence. Opportunities for the Future (Open session, press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences – ”Danube” Venue] Chair: Mr. Liviu Coșereanu, member of the Scientific Council, New Strategy Center, Romania

  • Major General Teodor Incicaș, Chief of the General Directorate for Armaments, Ministry of National Defence, Romania
  • Mr. Gustaf  Winroth, Policy Officer, European Defence Fund – Research (DEFIS A3), Directorate-General Defence Industry and Space, European Commission (via VTC)
  • Mr. Cyrille Bret, Development Director, Naval Group, France
  • Mr. Cristian Sfichi, Manager for Defence, Thales Romania, Romania
  • Mr. Cătălin Nae, General Director, National Institute of Aerospace Research “ELIE CARAFOLI” – INCAS, Romania 11.50– 12.20 Open Discussions

12.20– 12.45 Break 12.45-14.00 Panel IXa. One Year and a Half of Coping with the Pandemic. Has Health Care Become a Strategic Component of the National and International Security Environment? (Open session, press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –”Bucharest” Venue] Chair: Mr. Dan Iliescu, Rector of the Ovidius University of Constanta, Romania

  • Mr. Cristian Bușoi, Chairman, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, EU Parliament, Romania
  • Mr. Raed Arafat, State Secretary, Head of the Emergency Department, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Romania
  • Mr. Andrei Baciu, State Secretary, Ministry of Health, Romania
  • Mr. Daniel Ioniță, Cyber Security Manager, Cymed/Infoworld, Romania 13.30-14.00 Open Discussions

12.45-14.00 Panel IXb. The US Defense Industry, East-Central Europe and Industrial Cooperation. A Partnership for a More Resilient Economy in the Region (Open session, press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –”Danube” Venue] Chair: Lieutenant General (Ret.) Cătălin Moraru, former Deputy Chief of the Armaments Department, Ministry of Defence, Romania

  • Mrs. Daniela Nicolescu, State Secretary, Ministry of Economy, Romania
  • Mr. Daniel Bedoya, Regional Business Development Manager, Central & Eastern Europe Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, USA
  • Mr. Silviu Grecu, General Manager, Romaero, Romania
  • Mr. Adam Hodges, Capture Team Leader, Europe and the Middle East, International Vertical Lift Sales & Marketing, Boeing Defense, Space & Security, USA
  • Mr. Paul Strebel, Senior Director – International Business Development for Oshkosh Defense, LLC, USA 13.30 – 14.00 Open Discussions

14.00 – 15.30 Break 15.30 – 16.45 Panel Xa. Building Resilience in the Balkans. Old and New Challenges for the Region (Chatham House rule, no press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –”Bucharest” Venue] Chair: Ambassador (Ret.) Gheorghe Magheru, member of the Scientific Council, New Strategy Center, Romania

15.30 – 16.45 Panel Xb. Connectivity, Cyber Security and 5G Challenges (Chatham House rule, no press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences –”Danube” Venue] Chair: Mr. Marcel Foca, Senior Expert, New Strategy Center, Romania

  • Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, Honorary Chairman of the Scientific Council, New Strategy Center; Director, European Union Satellite Centre, Romania
  • Mr. Christian-Marc Liflander, Head of the NATO Cyber Defence Section, Estonia (via VTC)
  • Mr. Vlad Stoica, President, National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications (ANCOM), Romania
  • Brigadier General Anton Rog, Director, National CyberInt Center, Romanian Intelligence Service
  • Mr. Rene Summer – Director Government & Industry Relations, Ericsson, Sweden (via VTC)
  • Mr. Timo Koster, former ambassador-at-large for security policy and cyber, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands 16.15 – 16.45 Open Discussions

16.45 – 17.10 Break 17.10-18.25 Panel XI. Post-Pandemic Word and International (In)Security. (Open session, press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences – ”Bucharest” Venue] Chair: Ambassador (Ret.) Doru Costea, Senior Associate Expert, New Strategy Center, Romania

18.25 – 18.40 Break 18.40-19.55 Panel XII. Challenges of the New Generation Warfare. Multi-Dimensional Approaches in the Post-Pandemic Strategic Environment (Chatham House rule, no press access) [University of Agronomic Sciences – ”Bucharest” Venue] Chair: Mr. Greg Melcher, Chief Operations Officer, Center for the Study of New Generation Warfare, USA

19.55 – 20.00 Closing remarks: Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, Honorary Chairman of the Scientific Board, New Strategy Center; Mr. Răzvan Teodorescu, Acting Rector of the University of Agronomic Sciences

Note – Simultaneous translation into English and Romanian is available. *VTC – video teleconferencing

The first day of the Black Sea and Balkans Security Forum began with the official opening panel featuring Mr. Ionel Nițu, President of New Strategy Center, Răzvan Teodorescu, Acting Rector of the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine and Ligia Deca, Presidential Adviser for Education, with a message from H.E. Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania.

Panel I. Pandemics, Infodemics and Education. Supporting Digital Literacy Projects and Countering Fake News Campaigns and Disinformation

The first day of the conference „Black Sea and Balkans Security Forum 2021” debuted with a panel dedicated to the pandemic, education, disinformation campaigns and the use of digital instruments used for these purposes. The debate was moderated by Mrs. Alina Bârgăoanu, Senior Associate Expert of New Strategy Center and Dean of the Faculty of Communications, SNSPA. The speakers of this panel were Mrs. Ligia Deca, Presidential Advisor for Education, H.E. Sorin Cîmpeanu, Minister of Education, Mr. Angel Tîlvăr, Chairperson, Committee on Democracy and Security, NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and Mr. Mihnea Rădulescu, Director Enterprise Business Unit Vodafone.

Compared with the end of the last century, the security context has changed significantly with the proliferation of a new set of threats. One of the lessons of the pandemic is that the resilience of a state depends on the attention paid to critical and health infrastructure. The classic model of national security and defense must be re-thought together with the EU and NATO allies. Resilience and combating disinformation requires a whole-of-society approach: it involves political and intellectual leadership, it involves digital platforms, the media, fact-checking organizations, technology companies and every citizen. With regard to NATO, combating disinformation by better promoting the Alliance and educating the younger generation about the benefits of NATO is key to strengthening the organisation’s resilience.

The health context has made the advancement of digitization an obligation and not just a simple option, stressing the need to accelerate the process of digitization of the education system. European and government funds should facilitate this process.

Technology can mediate and facilitate access to information, but the principle of fairness must guide this revolution in education by ensuring uniform access to the necessary infrastructure, through secure platforms.

Panel IIa – Opportunities in the Black Sea Region for the Energy Sector. Development, Cooperation, Supplier Diversification

The second panel tackled the topic of energy security in the Black Sea region, chaired by Mr. Marilen Pirtea, Rector of the West University of Timișoara, România. The discussion was joined by H.E. Virgil Popescu, Minister of Energy, Romania,  Mr. Ion Sterian, CEO of Transgaz, Romania, Mr. Alexandru Maximescu, Vice-President Regulatory & Corporate Public Affairs, OMV Petrom, Romania, Mr. Cosmin Ghiță, General Manager, Nuclearelectrica, Romania and Mr. Ștefan Popescu, Deputy Director of Regulatory and Public Affairs, ENGIE Romania.

The panel discussed the importance of harnessing the Black Sea’s energy potential by exploiting gas fields and investing in wind energy and cross-border storage capacity. The national and regional transport infrastructure must be strengthened, in order to increase Romania’s energy resilience, as well as its export capacity. Efforts for energy independence must go hand in hand with the transition to a carbon-free economy. This goal cannot be achieved without the use of nuclear energy, with small reactors playing a key role in this process through financial and technological support from the United States. Lastly, the panel underlined that the speed of adoption in the coming decade will play a pivotal role in how states adjust to the challenges and opportunities posed by the fourth industrial revolution in the coming decades.

Panel IIb – Unmanned Systems in the Black Sea Region. Smart Approach, Fast Development

During this conference, there was also a debate dedicated to the implementation and development of the unmanned systems in the Black Sea, discussion which was moderated by RADM (Ret) Sorin Learschi, Associate Expert of New Strategy Center. Speakers within this panel were Rear Admiral Mihai Panait, Chief of the Naval Forces, Romania, CAPT (Navy) Iuri Covaleov, Acting Deputy Chief Military Intelligence for ISR, General (ret) Frank Gorenc, Consultant for General Atomics, USA, Mr. Geraint Lloyd, Business Development and Strategy Director of U-Tacs, UK, CAPT (ret.) Tzahi Appelman, Consultant for Maritime & Advanced Programs in IAI/MALAT, Israel.

The discussion was focused on the importance of the development of EDIT technologies (future emergent and disruptive technologies) and the threat of transforming the Black Sea in a strategic and operational medium, defined by chaos, complexity and competition. The constant Russian militarization of the Black Sea represents the main challenge for Romania and NATO in terms of security in the region. In addition, unmanned military systems can play a crucial role in overcoming this challenge created by the Russian Federation. Thus, UAV systems are the future for the material needs of the North Atlantic Alliance.

Panel IIIa – Old Frozen Conflicts and New Wars.  Lessons for the Future

Another panel of the conference on frozen conflicts and the new types of war. Speakers on this panel were Mr. Igor Munteanu, former ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the US, ambassador Pavlo Klimkin, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ukraine, ambassador Kurt Volkert, former Special Representative to the US in Ukraine, Mr. Alexander Iskandaryan, Director, Caucasus Institute, Armenia, ambassador Farid Shafiyev, Director, Center of Analysis of International Relations, Azerbaijan. The panel was moderated by Prof. Dan Dungaciu, member of the Scientific Council of NSC.

Moscow is presenting frozen conflicts as a purely internal matter with the West playing alongside Russia’s narrative through its leaders’ reluctance to mention Russia’s aggressive actions and its occupation of various territories. Such an approach leads to a passive strategy, creating the perception that there is not much interest for the frozen conflicts in the region. This apparent lack of attention paid by the international community to the Caucasus and Black Sea region in the past decade has further expanded Russia’s space of maneuver in the region.

Russia’s stance is twofold: they are deemed as temporary in the vicinity of these conflicts, but are also immovable the further away they are. Moreover, Moscow makes use of the language element to claim its own version of the R2P policy, aimed at reintegrating former territories in the post-Soviet space. Moreover, these conflicts prevent the affected states from joining the euro-atlantic configurations.

Through a mix of pragmatic relationships with regional powers, power games, institutional alternatives and hybrid wars, Russia makes actives efforts to maintain the status quo when it comes to those frozen conflicts, while fueling when Moscow sees necessary. The result is a perpetual process of securitization of peace resolutions, leading to 19th century realpolitik modus operandi disguised as competitive cooperation, caught in between de facto and de jure independence.

 

Panel IIIb – Food Security and Resilience in the Black Sea Region and the Balkans in the context of COVID-19 and Other Shocks

The following debate was focused on the subject of Food Security and Resilience in the Black Sea region and the Balkans in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and other shocks. The discussion was moderated by Mrs. Nastasia Belc, President, National research and Development Institute for Food Bioresources, who was joined by Mr. Laszlo Borbely, Coordinator of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, Mrs. Hearther McKhann, Coordinator Executive Secretariat of FACCE-JPI, Mrs. Claudia Zoani, researcher, Biotechnologies and Agroindustry, Mrs. Gina Fîntîneru, Vice Rector, University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine.

The debate was separated in two categories: challenges in Romani and in the EU. Among the main directions that the discussion was drawn to in the national context, is the importance of political involvement in supporting sustainable development, along with the need for inter-institutional communication in the context of food security and awareness, and combating the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the European context, food security shocks, caused not only by COVID-19, but also by climate change, were discussed. Proposed solutions include cooperation between Member States in developing sustainable agriculture programs in a changing climate, alongside the implementation of research centers to ensure food quality.

The conclusions of the debate had a positive perception of the opportunities that the pandemic has created, from the perspective of actions, interactions and responses to non-military challenges.

Panel IIIc – The Pandemic and the Future of the Economy. Development Trends in the Region

At the same time, another debate focused on the economic effects of the pandemic and the major development trends in the Central-Eastern Region. Mrs. Alexandra Gătej, Member of the Scientific Council of New Strategy Center, served as chair of this discussion, welcoming the following speakers: Mr. Radu Crăciun, President of the Association for Private Pensions in Romania and General Manager of BCR and Alexandru Reff, Country Managing Partner, Deloitte, Mrs. Andreja Marusic, Senior Private Sector Specialist, World Bank and Mr. István-Loránt Antal, Chairman of the Committee on Energy, Energy Infrastructure and Mineral Resources in the Romanian Senate.

As every speaker was asked to address a certain megatrend, the attention first fell on the funds allocated by the EU to the Balkans and how suitable they are in terms of rate of success. It may very well be that the funds may not be suited for the countries of this region, considering the dual nature of their security issues: the external threats and the internal tensions. Regarding the increase in government spending, it is very difficult for states to “strike the balance” of spending, while digitalization and increased transparency were referred to as opportunities. Considering the impact of technology on business and that of the pandemic on supply chains, it was stated that, while the fear that technology will replace people is rather baseless, the change made by digital mobility is real. Last but not least, the speakers addressed the “Fifty Shades of Green” and Romania’s “troubling” evolution of Romania’s Energy sector.

Panel IV. Deterrence and Defence in the Euro-Atlantic Area. A Unitary and Comprehensive Response for the Safety of the Black Sea Region and the Balkans

The fourth panel of the day was focused on NATO’s deterrence capacities in the Black Sea and the Balkans. The discussion was moderated by Major General (ret.) Leonardo Dinu, member of the Scienfitic Council of New Strategy Center and former Deputy Chief of military Intelligence Directorate. Speakers in this panel were Admiral Rob Bauer, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee , Netherlands, Rear Admiral Alfonso Delgado Moreno, Assistant Chief of Staff J5, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, and Lieutenant General Daniel Petrescu, Chief of Defence, Romania. The discussion underlined the profound relationship between the Black Sea and the Balkans, while the destabilizing actions of Russia and China in these region were presented in contrast with NATO’s efforts. In the face of these challenges, defining how NATO partners should act, as well as improving the way these partners cooperate, lays at the foundation for effective deterrence. Given Russia’s attempt to become the dominant power in the Black Sea, a behavior that generates tensions in the region – exemplified by the recent concentration of forces in Crimea and eastern Ukraine – would have recommended that NATO integrate the Black Sea region into an enlarged Eastern Flank, unified under a collective command and control structure, meant to increase deterrence. It is very important to include UAVs, as well as the establishment of multinational brigades, similar to those existing. NATO allies’ cyber warfare capabilities should also be enhanced to counter Russia’s multi-layered approach of exercising its influence.

Panel V. Classic and Hybrid Challenges on NATO’s Eastern Flank. Building a Better Common Threats Understanding 

The last panel of the day, „Classic and Hybrid Challenges on NATO’s Eastern Flank. Building a Better Common Threats Understanding”, was moderated by ambassador Cristian Diaconescu, member of the Scientific Council of New Strategy Center. The discussion focused on the ways to strengthen our common understanding of the threats affecting the Eastern Flank. Speakers on this panel were Simona Cojocaru, State Secretary, Ministry of National Defence, General (ret.) Curtis Scaparrotti, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, USA, General (ret.) Sir James Everard, former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR), UK.
In order to achieve a satisfactory level of resilience, there must be a holistic governmental concern. Anticipation, prevention, resilience and response should be the guiding principles in any NATO action, in a context where challenges designed to test NATO’s response and which risk turning into a wider conflict, are possible at any time. Given that Russia has taken a much more aggressive approach, implemented from the Arctic to the Black Sea, that its militarization process is constant and also that it uses hybrid warfare methods, counteracting these threats using innovative means becomes crucial.
The blurring boundary between war and peace, and consequently the West’s perception of peace, increases Russia’s room for maneuver, augmented by a context in which hybrid warfare can be waged at a distance. The failure in Afghanistan has highlighted the danger that national policies can pose to efforts in strengthening the Alliance. The gap between military intelligence and open-source intelligence is narrowing rapidly. For this reason, in order to counter the Russian threat, there is a renewed impetus to develop a multinational approach to information analysis. The ultimate goal must be to strengthen deterrence, through a coordinated cross-sectoral response to address emerging threats.