The first day of GLOBSEC 2022 heard from global leaders on topics related to building unity and resilience in a divided world

Slovak President, Zuzana Čaputová, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and President of European Commission Ursula von der Leyen addressed GLOBSEC 2022 Forum.

Here’s a quick digest of the highlights:

Slovak President, Zuzana Čaputová’s opening remarks:

  • President Čaputová stressed the need to recognize real challenges and expressed hopes for next EU Council to formalize Ukraine’s status
  • She said: „Russia is not just fighting our Eastern neighbour. Ukraine was attacked for daring to be different.“ She also looked back into the Slovak past and explained that “history teaches us if an aggressor opposes your values on the way of life, giving up territory is not going to stop him.”
  • „Let’s not repeat the same mistake. To restore peace in Europe, we must continue our support for Ukraine,“ she said

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy virtual address:

  • President Zelenskyy said the EU´s political and financial support is crucial for the survival and unity of his people
  • He called for help to come “as fast as possible” to equip Ukraine for victory and help rebuild the country after the war
  • He warned against divisions on Ukraine´s future EU´s aspirations as it would only enhance Russia´s current policies
  • “When we prevail, the freedom for Europeans will also prevail for decades,” he said and reiterated that “Ukraine seeks to be a full-fledged member of the united Europe” and called on the EU leaders to agree on his country´s candidate status in June.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of European Commission address:

  • President She called for unity and support for Ukraine´s reconstruction and effort on its path to joining the EU
  • She announced that the EU is helping Ukraine with a platform that would streamline all financial sources to boost the reform process
  • “The European Commission will stand by the Ukrainian side with all the track record we have, with all the experience we have, to help them that the investment is effective and combined with necessary reforms that then will of course pave the way into the European Union.”
  • Reacting to the direct call for support of Ukraine´s EU membership by Ukrainian president Volodymir Zelenskyy, von der Leyen said: “It is not only our strategic interest but it is our moral duty to make it possible that they (Ukrainians) join our European Union and that we pave the path towards our union.”

Strong Ukrainian messages on the first day

Except for president Zelenskyy, other Ukrainian leaders addressed the audience.

Deputy PM for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, Olha Stefanishyna, in her conversation mentioned, the war in Ukraine opens the door towards new future. She also said: “It is not in Ukraine’s interests to become a member of the EU very fast, because we want to become a competitive member of the EU.”

Anton Korynevych, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine discussed the actions of International Tribunal for Ukraine, which officially began investigations into the acts perpetuated by Russian troops in March. “Committing of war crimes is part of Russian war strategy. Destroying everything is a way of Russian warfare. To establish a chain of command is important to find out who was responsible for committing thousands of crimes,“ he said.

Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, via his video address argued for more NATOs style weapons to push Russians back. “Russia must not win, Ukraine must not lose,” he said and added: “Russia wants to physically destroy Ukraine and kill as many Ukrainians as possible. We need to push Russia to failure.”

Regulating technology

Casper Klynge, Vice President for European Government Affairs of Microsoft lead a separate discussion on the EU initiatives in the digital era. “Instead of fighting the regulation, we are in the moment to act together and align whether in the EU, India or North America,“ he said.

In a panel on regulating tech, Veronika Remišová, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investments, Regional Development and Informatization of the Slovak Republic, said: “We should not ask if regulating Global Tech is realistic. At this point, we don’t have a choice anymore.“ She further reiterated that Slovakia is especially vulnerable to Russian propaganda, and in order to fight Russian propaganda, she mentioned the importance of the government’s actions in the field of cybersecurity.

Strategic cooperation in the region

In a discussion on the strategic partnerships for the future, President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic said: “you cannot survive without gas, we were always 100% dependent on Russian gas.” He further added, that “there are a few countries that refuse to use Russian gas, they are reversing and paying extra to other countries, but still using Russian gas.”

In a panel titled War in Ukraine – Europe’s Destiny at Stakes?, three foreign ministers discussed the impact of the conflict on the regional geopolitics. Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Ivan Korčok said: “Thank you Mr Putin. Unthinkable is happening – with Sweden and Finland joining the NATO, the European landscape and political map are dramatically changing.” Alexander Schallenberg, Federal Minister for European and International Affairs of the Republic of Austria, said: “We have an extremely Europe-centric way of thinking – we have to broaden our vision geopolitically. There will be no return to the status quo.”

Three prime ministers also discussed the security of the EU’s Eastern Boarder. Eduard Heger, Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, said: “we lived too long in our comfort zone – now the crisis came and nothing can be taken for granted … it is a wake up call.” Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Kiril Petkov stressed that they offered Ukraine to repair 80 tanks and provided striking military power. “In terms of net practical effect we’ve done a good job,” he concluded. Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia, Krišjānis Kariņš said: “Putin understands power and he mocks weakness- all will end when he loses.”

Economic growth and resilience

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, in the panel on EU’s addiction to Russian oil and gas, labelled new EU sanctions as „significant and unprecedented.“ He stressed that the EU is respecting the difference of opinions and that „the unity is the most precious currency“ even if more days are needed to hammer out details of sanctions.

In a panel on “Unleashing Stronger Global Economy Post-Invasion”, the speakers agreed the Russian sanctions are simultaneously pushing the issues of energy security and the green transition to the forefront. The regionalization of the global economy has a lot of opportunities and challenges for CEE countries, and they need to be carefully analyzed.

GYLF 2022 GLOBSEC2022 Young Leader Forum kicked-off with a keynote speech from Casper Klynge, Vice President for European Government Affairs at Microsoft. He highlighted the value of private-public cooperation in shaping policies of the future, and the importance of supporting and engaging with young leaders.

About GLOBEC 2022

This year’s GLOBSEC summit, dubbed a “summit at the frontlines of war”, takes place on June 2 – 4, with the main theme of “building resilience in a divided world.” It convenes at a strategic time when more than 1,500 public figures, global and business leaders, meet in person to confront the current issues of a crisis-driven world, including restoring stability amid a new era of geopolitical conflict; strengthening resilience in the sphere of energy security, health care, sustainability, cyber and tech; maintaining economic growth and defending democracy among others.

Robert Vass, President of GLOBSEC, in his opening speech has called for action to mobilize support for Ukraine. He said: “This conflict is about far more than Ukraine. It is also about us and the world we live in. The future of the West is being decided now in Eastern Europe … Whatever the upcoming weeks and months will bring, the leaders of NATO and the EU should be designing their responses. There is no time to lose. This is what we are here for at the Forum – to offer solutions.”

This year, the 17th edition of the Forum is be the biggest conference in the CEE region with the most impressive lineup yet, including more than 30 delegations alongside a roster of internationally recognized business and opinion leaders. Furthermore, as a part of the framework of the Forum, GLOBSEC, in cooperation with the Slovak and Ukrainian governments, kicks off a campaign to mobilize political, military, financial and economic support for Ukraine.


GLOBSEC is a global think-tank based in Bratislava committed to enhancing security, prosperity and sustainability in Europe and throughout the world. It is an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental organisation. Its mission is to influence the future by generating new ideas and solutions for a better and safer world. To this goal contributes the annual GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum, one of the leading conferences on global security in the world. GLOBSEC also organises the annual GLOBSEC Tatra Summit, a conference that provides the opportunity for experts to have fruitful political discussions on the future of Europe.