Friday, June 10, 2011

Europe: Impact of 2012 Elections on Future of Europe's Stability and Energy Security

SOURCE Belgrade Forum

BELGRADE, Serbia, June 9, 2011 -- International political leaders, policy-makers, diplomats and business leaders met in Belgrade today to discuss the impact and importance of presidential and parliamentary elections in Europe, the USA and Russia in 2012 on international stability and security.

The one day conference, titled 'European Security in the light of 2012 Elections', attracted experts from the UK, USA, Italy as well as central Europe and Russia to speak on three central subjects:

- Political and economic cooperation in Europe

- European stability in the post-election world

- Energy security and cooperation between states

The conference included foreign policy and regional experts including Alexander Konuzin, Russian ambassador to Serbia, Charles Crawford, recent United Kingdom ambassador to Poland and to Serbia.

Also speaking was Dr Alessandro Musolino, member of the board of Youth Organisation of the governing European People's Party in Italy, Alexander Babakov, vice-speaker of the State Duma of Russia, and Helen Teplitskaia, president of the American-Russian chamber for commerce and industry.

Talking on political and economic cooperation in Europe after 2012, Mr Crawford said: "Political and economic trends in the USA and across Europe and in Russia are strikingly fluid and unpredictable. New technology gives citizens new power, putting national and international political structures, in Europe in particular, under growing pressure. We all need to redefine what 'stability' means and how we can sustain it together. Conferences like this help advance this key debate of our time."

The impact of the elections on business links and investment flows between East and West was also debated by the 100 conference delegates at the Sava Centar in the city.

Mrs Teplitskaia said: "As the 2012 presidential elections in the US and Russia approach, anticipation and concern is building that stability and predictability-loving investors might take a back seat until pre-election market volatility turns into post-election euphoria. The 'reset' with Russia launched by the current US Administration is likely to progress beyond 2012, and people will be looking to the candidates for assurances that Russia will further stabilize and expand its status as a lucrative investment destination and influential investor in its own right."

Ahead of the energy debate, Tamas Vargha MP, from Hungary, said: "Energy is one of the most important topics for European governments with very real concerns about the security supply. Governments in the West will be looking to Russia to guarantee a reliable and competitive supply and will be watching the 2012 elections closely for an outcome which delivers the security and stability which has developed over the past 12 years."

Mr Babakov said: "Russia is determined to continue to be a good friend of the West and this means steering the same democratic course which has delivered a stable Russia and strong international friendships across Europe and in the USA."

The conference, held in the Serbian capital a week in advance of the NATO summit in the same city, was organized by the Belgrade Forum, led by the former foreign minister of Yugoslavia, Zivadin Jovanovic. He said: "It is important that Serbia plays a full role on the international stage and maintains its strong sense of independence and history. This conference has attracted world-class speakers and I'm delighted to host such an event in Belgrade."