The Aspen Institute Romania and the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Bucharest office, organized the second phase of one of the most interesting and ambitious intellectual projects undertaken by the two institutions in Romania. The two organizations launched together a "Dialogues on National Interest" series. The aim is to bring together a community of experts that would approach Romanian strategic interest, in both its internal and external manifestations, in a comprehensive, out of the box, crosscutting debate pushing the boundaries beyond what is conventional. The first debate brought together Romanian experts looking at Romania's ambitions, needs and possibilities. The second debate in the series is designed to bring international perspectives in the discussion, placing Romania in the current regional and international context. This second debate took place on 15 - 17 June, 2012.
Romania's strategic interest has been rarely discussed in the last 20 years, and never in an open and inclusive intellectual debate. Integration in Transatlantic and European institutions has been the country's strategic role for 17 years, a goal so consensual that debate was barely needed. Once the goal accomplished, Romania remained without a strategic compass, a dangerous condition in a world of major shifts and turns. Serious debate on Romania's position and ambitions in the new context is now badly needed. Aspen Institute Romania and Bucharest office of German Marshall Fund have thus decided to break the habit of non-debate and facilitate a serious discussion between politicians, officials, business people and experts. The first meeting in the series allowed them to discuss the pillars of Romania's strategic interest. The second meeting was designed to bring international perspectives into the discussion, to help frame the context in which Romania does and may operate.
The event was an international session, meant to complete previous dialogues and to open the space for future ones. We aim less to achieve a detailed foresight of the future of the region, of Europe and indeed the world, and more to get a dynamic framework of thinking and discussion connecting interlocking perspectives. In order to achieve this, we have invited a small, but highly competent, number of experts, business people, analysts and journalists from Romania and abroad to discuss a set of scenarios for Europe, Transatlantic Relations and regional developments in South Eastern Europe in the next 10 years.
Romanian national interest is today a complex combination of "national", "European" and "Trans-Atlantic or allied" perspectives. This makes any discussion on the regional and international framework impossible from a too narrow "domestic" approach. This is why the main thrust of our conversation in the June meeting will be the interplay of perspectives the "room for joint perspectives" but one that escapes the clichés. Finally we hope to achieve a balance between pragmatic and normative aspects of the new cooperation framework in the region.