Bucharest Forum 2014

About this event

The Bucharest Forum is a landmark economic and strategic policy event, jointly organized by the Aspen Institute Romania and the German Marshall Fund of the United States in partnership with the Romanian Government and the National Romanian Bank. You may check photos of the event on our Flickr account.

The mission of Bucharest Forum is to create a regional platform for forward thinking economic policy and for political dialogue between governments and business. The Forum is a direct result of Romania’s renewed determination to enhance its strategic and economic potential as a gateway between East and West.

At its third edition this year, the Bucharest Forum is becoming the largest and most important policy gathering dedicated to the Eurasian link at the Black Sea. Its design balances strategic and sector specific questions and issues in conversations geared towards practical solutions. This edition of the Bucharest Forum will be a large scale, trans-regional event, building on the success and relevant work of its prior editions, contributing to the synchronization of EU and US perspectives and policies on the East West corridor linking Europe and Asia. 350 participants from 20 countries along the New Silk Road, from EU and the US, coming from government, business, financial institutions and academia are expected to plot a course for regional success, despite current setbacks and challenges.

The Ukrainian crisis focused trans-Atlantic attention to Eurasia, as it revealed regional vulnerabilities. At the same time, the crisis offers a good opportunity to rethink the approach to the region and to tap into its economic and social potential. The countries connecting Asia to Europe, the East-West corridor, brings incredible opportunity for investors in the medium and long term, but also a difficult to understand short-term perspective. Bucharest Forum aims to be a tool at understanding this region’s complexity and revealing its potential.

This year marks the 25th celebration of the fall of the totalitarian regimes that marked the XX Century. At this year’s Bucharest Forum, taking stock of major changes shall be an impetus for looking into practical ways for a renewed ambitious agenda for reform and lasting success.


Thursday, October 2nd, 2014


Location:    Palace of Parliament
09:00 – 10:00    Registration of participants

Opening Remarks: Mircea Geoana, President, Aspen Institute Romania

Official Opening (on the record, open to press)
10:00 – 10:30    Victor Ponta, Prime Minister of Romania
10:30 – 11:00    Titus Corlatean, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania
                          Mircea Dusa, Minister of National Defense of Romania

11:00 – 11:15    Coffee Break

11:15 -12:45     Unfettered Area of Growth and Investments (on the record, open to press)
Asia and Europe are the only continents that have a land connection. The geography of the Eurasian continuum has historically led to overlapping trade routes generically named the Silk Road. These have shaped cultures and civilizations for millennia. Conflict and politics have at times stopped this flow of commerce, knowledge and capital. Today we see a re-emergence of a New Silk Road. Strategic and economic development perspectives compete and even clash along this Eurasian axis. This is not lost to the critics and to those skeptic about the feasibility of an ambitious trade and investment continuum in Eurasia. Countries along the New Silk Road face many political and security challenges, yet they all have an important economic potential. The Road itself, connecting the European and Asian markets and industries, would generate growth not only at its geographical ends, but along its entire course. The entire New Silk Road area has an economic potential waiting to be unleashed through strategic investments that would generate generous returns. This however is not automatic and requires a minimal shared interest. The session will look at the economic potential of the NSR, at the investments that would generate its development, and the economic benefits these would bring. Equally the panel will explore the main difficulties and obstacles to unfettered growth via investment along the NSR. From Romania, a country that represents the western anchoring of the New Silk Road on the Black Sea, the ambition is that of serving as a Gateway on the NSR. National, European and regional policies and private investment all converge toward the opportunity created by growing trade, energy and manufacturing opportunities.

●    Gary Litman, Vice President, International Strategic Initiatives, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
●    Constantin Niţa, Minister for Economy of Romania
●    Ioan Rus, Minister of Transport of Romania
●    Liviu Voinea, First Deputy Governor, National Bank of Romania (TBC)
●    Azamat Zhangulov, Senior Vice President, KMG International
●    Elisabetta Capannelli, Country Manager for Romania and Hungary, World Bank
Moderator:     Andrei Caramitru, Director (Senior Partner), McKinsey & Company (TBC)

12:45 – 13:30    Lunch

13:30 – 14:00    Key Statements
●    Mircea Geoana, President, Aspen Institute Romania
●    Karen Donfried, President, German Marshall Fund of the United States

14:00 – 15:30     One Road for Many Itineraries (on the record, open to press)
Eurasia and its development through a New Silk Road strategy is in the interest of several international actors, who each would stand to benefit from a stable, secure and prosperous region. The EU, the US and China, among others, have direct interests, both strategic and economic, to see this strategy to a successful end. Given the complexity of the region and its geopolitical importance, success can only be achieved through support from and with the implication of these actors. The panel will look at the opportunities the NSR would bring to the EU, the US and China, the obstacles they are facing in promoting the NSR strategy and the short and long term actions needed to secure and stabilize the region.

●    George Maior, Director, Romanian Intelligence Service
●    George Friedman, Chairman and Founder, Stratfor Global Intelligence
●    Shen Weizhong, Deputy Division Director of the Department of European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People\'s Republic of China
●    Ian Bond, Director of Foreign Policy, Centre for European Reform in London
Moderator:    Alison Mutler, ‎Chief Correspondent, Associated Press

15:30 – 15:45    Coffee Break

15:45 – 17:15    European Energy Security - Winter is Coming
Russia, one of Europe’s main energy providers, regularly threatens to cut off gas supplies, and seems more determined to do so in connection to the events in Eastern Ukraine. Europe is slow in developing alternative sources of energy, while national interests of member states constantly prevail over European collective interest. What are the prospects of a serious European energy security strategy? What changes are needed to push it forward? How can Russia be pushed out of a zero sum game and into the role of a reliable and trustworthy energy provider?

●    Razvan Nicolescu,  Minister Delegate for Energy of Romania
●    Charles Ries, Vice President, RAND Corporation
●    Mihnea Constantinescu, Ambassador-at-large for Energy Security, Government of Romania
●    Tudor Constantinescu, Principal Adviser to the Director-General, DG Energy, European Commission
●    Asad Aleem, Energy Specialist, Asian Development Bank
●    Edward Chow, Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
●    Theresa Fallon, Senior Associate, European Institute for Asian Studies
Moderator:    Corina Murafa, Energy Policy Expert, Delivery Unit of the Romanian Prime Minister, Aspen Fellow 2009

17:15 - 17:45    Keynote Speech:
●    Thierry de Montbrial, Founder and President, IFRI

20:00         Power Dinner Conversation (off the record, closed to press - by invitation only)
Special Guests:
●    Richard Quest, Journalist and Anchor, CNN International
●    George Friedman, Chairman and Founder, Stratfor Global Intelligence





Friday, October 3rd, 2014


Location:    Palace of Parliament
08:30 – 09:00    Registration of participants

09:00 - 09:15     Opening Remarks:     Mircea Geoana, President, Aspen Institute Romania

09:15 - 09:45     Key Statement
●    Richard Quest, Journalist and Anchor, CNN International

09:45 - 10:45     A Conversation on the Challenges and Opportunities of the New Silk Road (on the record, open to press)
●    Richard Quest, Journalist and Anchor CNN International
●    Mircea Geoana, President, Aspen Institute Romania
Moderator:     Andrei Tarnea, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Romania

10:45 – 11:00    Coffee Break

11:00 - 11:45    Strategic conversation: the West between ISIL and Crimea
●    Charles Ries, Vice President, RAND Corporation
●    Koert Debeuf, ‎ALDE representative to the Arab world, European Parliament
Moderator:     Andrei Tarnea, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Romania

11:45 – 13:45     Romania Gateway - Boosting Competitiveness, Sustaining Growth 
Romania Gateway is a strategic project of national interest, implemented through a public-private team aligned with a new Romanian economic growth and governance model. The establishment of Romania Gateway creates the institutional space for unprecedented public-private cooperation and coordination. The project\'s ambition is to set a clear model of accelerating Romania\'s economic growth to 5% per year, for a period of at least 10 years. In the following period, the project intends to present the situation of the main pillars for the economic growth in Romanian. To this extent we will focus our debate on the main economic sectors of Romania. Within this panel a number of positive key initiatives will be presented as a potential model for enabling growth in Central and Eastern Europe.
●    Mircea Geoana, President, Aspen Institute Romania
●    Nicholas F. Taubman, President of Mozart Investments, former US Ambassador to Romania
●    Catalin Pauna, Senior Economist, World Bank
●    Tomas Spurny, Executive President, BCR
●    Nikolai Beckers, CEO, Telekom Romania
●    Daniel Badea, Managing partner, Clifford Chance Badea
●    Nicolae Albu, Advisor to the President of EximBank, Aspen Fellow 2011
Moderator:     Vasile Iuga, Country Managing Partner, PwC
13:45 - 15:00     Lunch

15:00 – 16:30     Parallel Sessions (on the record, open to press)

Investment, Trade & Infrastructure Development along the New Silk Road
The Silk Road is often and for good reasons perceived exclusively as a strategic corridor. Connection between Asia and Europe is still cumbersome, lengthy and expensive. Development of strategic infrastructure along the NSR would make this connection faster, more secure and productive. While some projects have taken off the ground, others are needed or await financial or political decisions. The session will look at the current stage of infrastructure development along the NSR, at the pipeline of infrastructure projects and at the role and possibilities of main actors in the field.  At the same time it is increasingly a major trade and investment driver for all the economies in the region. Energy on one hand and manufacturing and transport of goods at the other spectrum are shaping the economies of NSR countries. With trade and investment as driving factors for many economies along the New Silk Road, a discussion between policy makers, analysts and investors is required to better understand and assess how development can be more beneficial for all parties involved. Trade agreements and free trade negotiations regionally or globally are also shaping the prospects of a NSR. Russia, China and the EU are all involved in such negotiations not to mention WTO. Removing barriers and increasing both intra and cross regional commerce can be a stabilizing factor and a driver of economic and social development in Central Asia and along the NSR. Trade negotiations, infrastructure development and investments along the NSR can also play a role in addressing existing strategic rifts and even make competing perspectives and interests more aligned.

●    Razvan A. Cotovelea, Minister for the Information Society of Romania
●    Maria Magdalena Grigore, National Secretary, TRACECA
●    Igor Runov, Under Secretary General and IRU General Delegate to the UN
●    James A. Cunningham, Commercial Attaché, Embassy of the US in Bucharest (TBC)
●    Shi Han, Resident Scholar, Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
●    Diana Mangalagiu, Associate professor, Smith School of Enterprise and Environment, University of Oxford
●    Andreea Sisman, Counsel, Clifford Chance Badea
●    Mircea Enache, President EMI System, Director of Center of Excellence in Planning (Bucharest Central Station)
Moderator:    Radu Soviani, Economic Analyst

The New Energy Game in the Greater Black Sea Area (roundtable conversation)
Recent developments in South East Europe create the conditions of a new wave of Foreign Direct Investment, in these conditions a stable coordinated effort in the region is necessary in order to create a common set of regional energy policy principles and establish a catalyst for the process of establishment of regional power market. In these regard reshaping the energy sector in the region needs a comprehensive debate on issues like the new energy security context, energy market fragmentation and the future generation capacity.

●    Panagiotis Mihalos, Secretary General for International Economic Relations, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of  the Hellenic Republic
●    Niculae Havrilet, President of the National Regulatory Authority for Energy Romania
●    Petru Ioan Vaduva, General Director, Transgaz
●    Patrick Wilson, Director, Federal and Congressional Affairs, Babcock and Wilcox
●    Ciprian Diaconu, Member of Directorate CNTEE Transelectrica
●    Julian Popov, Fellow, European Climate Foundation, former Minister of Environment of Bulgaria
Moderator:    Carmen Neagu, President of Surveillance Council, Transelectrica

16:30 – 16:45    Coffee Break

16:45 - 18:15    Getting Out of Less Than Zero Sum (hard security) (on the record, open to press) -
Russia’s resurgence has changed the dynamics in European neighborhood, and nuanced the security narrative in Europe. It also generated an albeit timid debate about European security and its solidity, and the importance of the Trans-Atlantic relation. The security of Russia’s Near Abroad remains fragile, threatening the physical developments of the New Silk Road, while enhancing its strategic importance. At the Asian end of the Road, Afghanistan remains a security challenge. The session will look at security of the East-West corridor, its implications for the EU and US, and the European security at large. In a nutshell the key question is what is the mix of policies that can get the West and Russia out of the less than zero sum game where all sides incur short and long term costs?

●      Evelyn Farkas, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, U.S. Dept. of Defense
●      Bogdan Aurescu, Secretary of State, Ministry of  Foreign Affairs of Romania
●    Charles Ries, Vice President, RAND Corporation
●    Ian Bond,  Director of Foreign Policy, Centre for European Reform in London
●    Abiodun Williams, President, The Hague Institute for Global Justice
●    Ioan Mircea Pascu, Vice President Commission for Foreign Affairs, European Parliament
Moderator:    Paul Ivan, Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre

19:30 – 21:00    National Interest in a Shifting Context: Romania - a Stable Partner in a Troubled Region (off the record, closed to press - by invitation only)

●    Evelyn Farkas, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, U.S. Dept. of Defense
●    Iulian Chifu, Presidential Advisor for Strategic Affairs and International Security, Romanian Presidency
●    Ioan Mircea Pascu, Vice-president Commission for Foreign Affairs, European Parliament

21:30         Night Owl Sessions (off the record, closed to press - by invitation only)

1.    Across the Bosphorus - A Turkish Narrative for East-West Relations
●    Mustafa Aydin, Rector, Kadir Has University
●    Iulian Chifu, Presidential Advisor for Strategic Affairs and International Security, Romanian Presidency
Moderator:    Oana Popescu, Director, Global Focus

2.    The West & Islam
●    H.E. Doru Costea, Ambassador of Romania to People’s Republic of China
●    Diba Nigar Goksel, Editor in Chief, Turkish Policy Quarterly
Moderator:    Koert Debeuf, ‎ALDE Representative to the Arab world, European Parliament

3.    Energy – Between Blessing and Curse
●    Theresa Fallon, Senior Associate, European Institute for Asian Studies
●    Asad Aleem, Energy Specialist, Asian Development Bank
●    Sergiu Cristian Manea, Member of the Board, Romgaz
●    Saulius Adomaitis, CSE Advisory Markets & Sectors Leader, Partner Advisory, EY
Moderator:    Robert Uzuna, Affiliated expert, Romanian Center for European Policies, Aspen Fellow 2012






Saturday, October 4th, 2014


Location:    Palace of Parliament
09:00 – 09:45    Registration of participants

09:45 - 11:30     New World Order after Ukrainian Crisis, 25 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall (on the record, open to press)
25 years ago Eastern Europe has emerged from the total paralysis of totalitarian thinking and entered the difficult path to political, economic and social reforms. A quarter of century later not only CEE but the entire Mediterranean space and Eastern Europe at large have been confronted with popular movements, revolutions, clashes of vision regarding the institutional, political and sometimes even economic model for the countries and sometimes for the region that connects Europe and Asia as well as the Greater Middle East. The panel will explore what to expect from the next decades in terms of governance, economic and civic reforms that converge into the political future of the region and will be reflected along the NSR.

●    Sorin Ducaru, Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, NATO
●    Mikheil Darchiashvili, Deputy Defence Minister of Georgia
●    Hanna Shelest, Senior Researcher, National Institute for Strategic Studies, Odessa branch
●    Pavel Felgenhauer, Correspondent Novaya Gazeta
●    Nicolas Tenzer, Member of the Board, CFO, Aspen Institute France
Moderator:    Radu Tudor, Journalist, Antena 3

11:30 – 11:45    Coffee Break

11:45 - 13:00    Parallel Sessions

50 by 2050 Global Women\'s Leadership Initiative - The Romanian Chapter (on the record, open to press)
Striving to inspire a new generation of women leaders to realize the goal of at least 50 percent women in positions of political, public, business and civic leadership by 2050. The initiative focuses on a vital momentum to the next generation of women leaders who will invest in their countries and communities, provide leadership for their governments and societies, and help change the way global solutions are developed.

●    Mihaela Geoana, President, GWLIR
●    Mariana Gheorghe, Vice President, GWLIR
●    Rovana Plumb, Minister of Labour, Family, Social Protection and Elderly of Romania
●    Alina Bargaoanu, Dean of SNSPA (TBC)
Moderator:    Alexandra Copos, President of Ana Trust, Board member GWLIR

Agropolis – Romania’s New Agriculture Strategy (on the record, open to press)
Romania has the potential to become one of the most important players in the agricultural field both in EU and in the greater Black Sea region. With the new National Strategy on Agriculture, the Romanian Government will focus on creating a legal framework for developing an added value products system that will boost the agriculture sector in Romania, allowing us to become an important exporter on the New Silk Road.

●    Daniel Constantin, Deputy Prime-minister, Minister of Agriculture, Romania
●    Andrei Caramitru, Director (Senior Partner), McKinsey & Company
●    Vasile Varvaroi, General Director, Cargill Romania (TBC)
Moderator:     Bogdan Belciu, Partner, PwC Romania (TBC)

13:00 - 13:15     Coffee Break

13:15 - 14:30     Powerful Regional Players Shaping the New Silk Road (on the record, open to press)
Pivot to Asia India, Japan, South Korea and Iran have each and all the potential and strategic reason to influence the NSR, as they could each and all benefit from it. The panel will look at the geopolitical constraints and opportunities that shape these countries’ interest in the New Silk Road, their relation to the main actors along and shaping the NSR and their economic contribution to and benefits from development of NSR. 

●    H.E. Doru Costea, Ambassador of Romania to The People’s Republic of China
●    Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, Congress Leader, Indian National Congress
●    Florence Lowe-Lee, President and CEO, The Global America Business Institute
●    Theresa Fallon, Senior Associate, European Institute for Asian Studies
Moderator:    Paul Ivan, Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre

14:30     Closing Remarks (on the record, open to press)




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