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Kultur, Gesellschaft, CSR

In view of the Ukraine crisis, east forum Berlin wants to play its part in restoring confidence in Europe

  • On 9 and 10 April, 200 participants from 20 countries will gather in Berlin to discuss strategies for a united European economic area
  • Opening reception at the German Historical Museum with the German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Governing Mayor of Berlin

The east forum Berlin is taking place for the second time on 9 and 10 April 2014. In hosting this annual forum, UniCredit, the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations and the city of Berlin are establishing a platform that brings together entrepreneurs and politicians from East and West to discuss the most pressing issues of economic policy.

The 2nd east forum Berlin will open on the evening of 9 April at the German Historical Museum with an address by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Minister for Foreign Affairs. Against the backdrop of the current political wrangling over the future of the Ukraine, accompanied by the threat of sanctions, the forum will focus on future economic relations in Europe.

“One of the tasks of this year's east forum Berlin will be to build new bridges between East and West based on this mutual dialogue", said Giuseppe Vita, Chairman of UniCredit's Board of Directors. “I remain a firm believer in the power of cooperation. I believe that a common foundation can provide the basis for sound, long-term solutions. I am also convinced that economic sanctions do not necessary help, and probably are not the best way of resolving a conflict. In fact business contacts are channels of dialogue, co-existence and balance”.

As Eckhard Cordes, Chairman of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, points out, “The increasingly competitive situation between the EU single market and the Customs Union is one of the main reasons for the current situation, with eastern Europe at breaking point. Countries like the Ukraine are dependent on functioning trade relations with the EU as well as with Russia. The search for an economic framework in Europe that affords every country optimal exchange with its neighbours is therefore a decisive factor in ensuring the future peace of our continent. The east forum aims to map out ways of putting this framework into practice.”

This year, with its “European Business and Science Forum” (EBSF), the city of Berlin is highlighting its own key issues as part of the east forum. "Berlin has become a major launch pad for entrepreneurial activity in Central and Eastern Europe. Behind the US and France, it was Poland and Russia that took places 3 and 4 last year in the ranking of Berlin's biggest trade partners. With its highly developed academic and entrepreneurial environment and its international flair, the German capital is an outstanding location that offers an optimal framework for businesses. Berlin is a place where innovative ideas meet the latest technology. "Smart" pilot projects find direct application in this real-life laboratory", says Cornelia Yzer, Senator for Economics, Technology and Research in Berlin. “The east forum Berlin is another milestone on the road towards mutual understanding and the consolidation of economic cooperation with our partners in eastern Europe.”

On the evening of 9 April, the east forum Berlin will be opened by Giuseppe Vita, Eckhard Cordes and the Governing Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit at the German Historical Museum. Representatives from 20 embassies and initiatives will be available for presentations and discussions at their own stands.

Approximately 200 participants from 20 countries are expected to attend the two-day conference. The high-profile political figures taking part include the Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca, the Kosovan Prime Minister Hasim Thaci, the First Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev, the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia Rasim Ljajić, the Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission Viktor Christenko, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, President of the EBRD, Karl-Ernst Brauner, Deputy Director-General, WTO, Member of the Governing Board of Österreichische Nationalbank, Peter Mooslechner and the Ministers for Economics of the Czech Republic and Latvia. Government representatives from the Ukraine and Russia have also been invited to attend.

The accompanying event of the east forum Berlin, the “European Business and Science Forum”, will take place on the morning of 9 April. The Enterprise Europe Network Berlin-Brandenburg at the Berlin Partner for Business and Technology will host the event. This is an opportunity for companies and research institutes from eastern Europe to promote innovative cooperation and the exchange of ideas and best practices in the fields of energy, energy efficiency and environmental challenges in urban areas.

A further event “Italian and German businesses jointly looking East” will take place in the afternoon of April, 9th in the Italian Embassy in Berlin.

For further information:

For further information on participants and the agenda of the east forum Berlin:

Note for journalists:

If you are interested in covering the east forum Berlin, please apply to the media contacts below. Accredited journalists are invited to attend both the opening reception at the German Historical Museum on 9 April and the closing luncheon at the AXICA forum (Pariser Platz) on 10 April.

Media contacts at the east forum Berlin:

Andreas Metz
Director of Communications
Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations
Tel: +49 30 2028-1441

Alexander Dennebaum
Head of Press Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Research
Tel. +49 30 9013-8112

Contact for press
Nicole Seller

Arabellastraße 12
81925 München