10th Belgrade Security Forum: day one recap

Svetlana Stefanović

21. October 2020

10th Belgrade Security Forum: day one recap

After an introductory address by the BSF Steering Committee, session on the Eastern Mediterranean on October 6th and a discussion on the fate of democracy after the pandemic on October 14th, the Belgrade Security Forum resumed on October 20th. The central part of the Belgrade Security Forum takes place from 20-22nd October.

Igor Bandović, Director of the Belgrade Center for Security Policy, and John Clayton, Head of the Democratization Department in the OSCE Mission to Serbia opened the Academic Event 2020. Bandović emphasized that academic debates at the BSF have addressed the most important events in the region over the years and this year the theme – state capture is highly important not only in the Western Balkans, but also beyond the region.

John Clayton, Head of the Democratization Department in the OSCE Mission to Serbia, spoke about the role of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, its support to security studies and the nature of its work.

Photo: Aleksandar Andjic

General debate on first academic event was about the influence of the EU and the rest of the international community on conflict-resolution in the Western Balkans region, especially between Kosovo and Serbia. Participants agreed that the reforms promised by the European integration process, as well as integration into the wider international community, had led to unintended consequences of state capture.

Photo: Aleksandar Andjic

Different theoretical approaches which can be used to explain state capture were discussed at the second Academic Event panel this year. Andrea L. Capusella, London School of Economics and Iurij Zarubin, Independent analyst, tried to present good sides of collective action approach and principal-agent theory, while discussant Miloš Resimić, International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development, examined their weaknesses and failures in explaining new phenomena in state capture.

Photo: Aleksandar Andjic

Closing panel of this year’s Academic Event presented different angles and approaches to state capture in Serbia.

Photo: Aleksandar Andjic

Although the Western Balkan countries have set out their accession into the EU as their key foreign policy strategy, the region appears to be still susceptible to anti-Western narratives and playing with different political agendas, coming nothing only from the exterior but often from within their own territories. The panel about anti-western narratives on Western Balkans discussed the agendas of various external actors operating in the Western Balkans and their development and purpose, as well as their potential impact on the EU path of the countries in the region.

Photo: Aleksandar Andjic

Unusual discussion on the effects of Covid-19 on several aspects of organized crime in Europe and the world took place in the closing of the first day of the main event of Belgrade Security Forum 2020. The activities of the mafia during the Covid-19 crisis were in focus, but there was also talk of victims of organized crime and the most affected by the crisis. The panelists gave their opinions on ways towards the advancement of the fight against organized crime in general and the good sides of the crisis on that issue.

Photo: Aleksandar Andjic

You can read more on official Belgrade Security Forum website.