Balkans & Black Sea Cooperation Forum 2019

Balkans & Black Sea Cooperation Forum is an independent economic conference and pivotal hub for leading business- & policy makers committed to improving stability, growth and cooperation across Central-SouthEastern Europe.

In an era that numerous geopolitical, economic and power-shifting challenges are influencing the global scene and the regional equilibrium at business and societal layers, BBSF is breaking the spell of illusions and paving paths for robust, fair and coherent dialogue worth essential than ever before.

BBSF2019 highlights “The Eurasian nexus post 2020: high-stakes arena in trading, security and investments” hooking Geopolitics (energy supply & security, peace & stability, global swifts), Economy (connectivity & infrastructures, finance & Investments, banking Industry, Greece post 2020), Social Cohesion (European Union 2020-2025, digital challenges & IoT 4.0, human capital & social welfare).

World class influencers and hi-level audience from international & regional businesses and administration are identifying trends, exploring business opportunities, reviewing challenges and policy options and assessing implications for the near-future safety, sustainable development and cross-sectoral cooperation of this region.


Ambassador HUO Yuzhen

Special Representative China-CEEC Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China


Mr. Panayotis Gavras

Head, Policy & Strategy, Black Sea Trade and Development Bank


Ms. Zsuzsanna Hargitai

Director, Regional Head of Western Balkans, EBRD


Mr. Wim Mijs

CEO, European Banking Federation



Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

11.00 - 12.00


12.00 - 12.15

Welcome notes

Your conference badge or a valid registration pass to the forum, or a personal invitation should be presented at the entrance.

12.15 - 15.00

Chapter 1 | Energy supply-Energy security: puzzling pieces for stability & development in a world of sanctions

Big-markets’ near-future energy demand; key-energy suppliers’ strategies; energy markets risks; the future of renewables; gas supply security through transit countries; existing/future pipelines connectivity into existing networks; East-Med viability and its benefits for product/transit countries.

15.00 - 15.30


15.30 - 17.30

Chapter 2 | Digital Challenges - IoT 4.0: world's digitization – from edge to core

Addressing the puzzle of cyber-crime and cyber security across CEE/SEE region; Shifting to 5G, the impact on smart-eco systems and infrastructure planning; Lessons learnt from leading digital countries in terms of governance, development and investments; The hidden world of dark web and the initiatives to halting fraud; Block-chain and IoT 4.0 support to businesses and the society; A.I. in automotive industry: the impact of smart vehicles in safety and environment.

Thursday, December 5th, 2019

08.30 - 09.30


09.30 - 09.45

Welcome Notes

09.45 - 12.00

Chapter 3 | Connectivity - Infrastructures: igniting investments for hyper-converged infrastructures

CEE/SEE ports and hinterland connections vs TEN-T and EATL scene; East-West future load-factors in imports-exports and the fulfillment of the empty containers back to China; CEE/SEE industrial zones and logistic centers outlook; BRI’s direct developmental effects for Serbia, Hungary, Poland at bilateral level with China; Big-hubs future cargo/passenger flows; super-fast railway potential connectivity ex. SEE to CEE.

12.00 - 13.00


13.00 - 15.00

Chapter 4 | European Union 2020-2025: the changing face of the EU

Western Balkans integration is doomed moving on; Euroscepticism, a sign for Brussels to rethink citizens’ engagement; 2020 and still several wealthy economies rejecting joining EU; SMEs need for more parity, simplicity, bureaucracy ceasing and access to EU funding programmes; EU ahead to safeguarding safety and security and providing solutions for extremism and populism; EU cost and motives for migration & asylum policies;

15.00 - 15.30


15.30 - 17.30

Chapter 5 | Responsible Financing - Sustainable Investments: breaking the spell of illusions

The micro/macroeconomic PEST environment across CEE/SEE; Outlook and rating assessment of CEE/SEE economies by 2020-2021; Regional economies towards UN sustainable financing 2030 agenda; CEE/SEE FDI’s leading economies; the major lending challenges and monetary risks to the region; the near-future challenges for sustainable investments in CEE/SEE.

18.00 - 18.40

Leaders’ summit registrations

Attendance to the summit is by invitation only, closed to the delegates, the public and the media. Guests arrivals should be completed 20 mins prior the commencement of the summit.

19.00 - 20.30

Leader’s Summit | Global Swifts 2020-2025: is the wolf knocking at the door?

BRI’s direct societal & developmental impact in the CEE/SEE regions; EU dilemmas on China’s BRI and its plans for gearing cooperation; Russia’s narratives for Eurasia and Moscow's view for regional stability and cooperation; US trade policy and multilateral approach across CEE/SEE regions; Japan’s intentions at boosting presence to the region; Post Brexit UK behavior to refueling economy and assuming investments; An endless friction to combatting Daesh.

20.30 - 22.30

Official Dinner

Friday, December 6th, 2019

08.30 - 09.15


09.15 - 09.30

Welcome Notes

09.30 - 11.30

Chapter 6 | Banking Industry in the digital era: game changers or gamers off-the rails?

Traditional banking systems ahead digital evolution 4.0; The future of conventional banks vs FinTechs, InsurTechs and Virtual banks; Banks’ adoption to block-chain and artificial intelligence; The future of cryptocurrencies, the threats/opportunities to be revealed; Tax havens impact to competitiveness, investments, growth and money-laundering.

11.30 - 11.45


11.45 - 13.45

Chapter 7 | European Union 2020-2027: hard-core queries to untacking EU economic uncertainties

Ways to endow the EU with a capacity to finance the growth of its economy and businesses; Trade battles: reinvigorating the politicization of trade equals adding fuel to the flames; EU Capital Markets strengths and weaknesses in short and medium term; EU vision to seizing opportunities of technical innovation and digitalisation in financial services; The future of Eurozone and the restraints for a consolidated Ministry of Finance.

13.45 - 14.30


14.30 - 16.00

Chapter 8 | Greece 2020-2025: national objectives in storm of revealing challenges

Objectives to unleashing economic recovery and refueling investments; The survival kit to protecting Greece from future economic down turn; Strengthening governance, institutions and rule of law in Greece drivers for sustainable growth and development; Near-future challenges due to demographics, brain drain, social cohesion and migration; Losers vs winners from resistance to markets’ liberalization; Reinventing Greece: Athenian democracy vs Spartans legacy.

16.00 - 16.15


16.15 - 18.00

Chapter 9 | Human Capital - Social Welfare: vis a vis with a double edged sword

UN SDGs 2030 agenda progress in CEE/SEE; the future of work and skills demand; economies excelled to address capacity building, human development, brain drain and unemployment; gender inequalities keep malnourishing women integration in political & economic framework; Academia and Businesses jointly to close skills gap and labor markets’ demands; cultural and religious diversities factors feeding controversies.


Official Partners

Programming Partners

Expertise Partners

Media and Communication