When East meets West: Collision, collusion, or cooperation? Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute attends Bucharest Forum


Berlin, 17. October: The Bucharest Forum, the public events platform of the Aspen Institute Romania, took place from 9-10 October in the Romanian capital. The event is focused on the needs of economic and strategic decision-makers in the region between the Adriatic Sea, the Black Sea, and the Caspian Sea. Every year, the Bucharest Forum becomes one of the most relevant international gatherings for high-level public policy debate.

Launched in 2012, the Forum aims to create a regional platform for forward-thinking economic and security policies and open dialogue between governments and civil society.

This year’s Forum was one of the largest public strategic debates in the region, offering a unique opportunity for a high-level East-West conversation and facilitating an in-depth understanding of the current global transformative context.

Jean-Christophe Bas, CEO of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC) and a member of the executive board of the Aspen Institute France participated in the ‘America and Europe: Friends or foes?’ panel. The session dealt with the question of whether the two sides are able to rebuild bridges amidst a trade war and also debated the extent to which the two sides of the Atlantic ocean are divided.

Besides Bas, Molly Montgomery, vice-president of the Albright Stonebridge Group and a former special adviser for Europe and Russia in the Office of the US Vice President, and Ivan Hodac, the president of the Aspen Institute Central Europe also spoke on the panel, which was moderated by Andrea Shalal, senior correspondent for Thomson Reuters in Berlin.

Jean-Christophe Bas stressed the following: “There is a need to be very cautious; what characterises relations between the US and Europe today after 70 years of stability and close collaboration is that they are totally unpredictable. Let’s see what will come out from the midterms in November in the US and the European elections next June. This will profoundly affect the nature of our relationship. It is also important to stress that if there is a growing gap between the US and Europe, there is no real gap between Americans and Europeans; people-to-people relationships and shared values are very strong, as well as city-to-city cooperation, academic exchanges, not to mention business exchange and mutual investments. However, it is fair to acknowledge that whatever happens with President Trump in the upcoming elections, the relations won’t be back to ‘business as usual’ after he leaves office. Europeans will have to take care of themselves, of their security, but also to be more assertive on the global stage. The time has also come for the Transatlantic community to realise that the world has radically changed and that the status quo cannot be maintained as it is. There is an urgent need to define, together with countries and leaders from the rising world, the terms of a fair, sustainable, and peaceful new world order”.

Other sessions discussed themes like ‘Big cities: A New stage in the Rise of Asia?’, ‘BRI and the Indo-Pacific Community’, ‘The Economics of the New Urban Era’, ‘Mega-trends Shaping Societies’, ‘Business and Politics’, and ‘(De-)globalization and geo-economics’.