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Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum 2009


  • Frederick Kempe, President and CEO, Atlantic Council
  • Metan Kilci, Undersecretary, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Turkey
  • Dinu Patriciu, Chairman, DP Holding SA
  • Tudor Serban, State Secretary, Ministry of Economy, Romania

October 2, 2009

FREDERICK KEMPE:  We’ll pick up some headsets.  And I’m just going to say a couple of words before the speakers come up.  And actually Dinu Patriciu, and Metin Kilci, if you could already come up to your chairs.  One of you – I’ll sit in the middle and one of you sit on the left, one of you sit on the right; I don’t – thank you.

We will abbreviate this session.  Mr. Kilci has to get to the airport.  His flight is leaving, so we’ve moved this up just a little bit.  And we’ll get you to your cocktails by 6:00 p.m. at the very latest, so we’ll have a quick and sharp session, a capstone on what we’ve learned and then we’ll move on to the next.

(Off-side conversation.)

MR. KEMPE:  And if we could have Tudor Serban, state secretary from the – from the foreign ministry join us as well, please.  Thank you.  I hope you all have earphones and if you could take your seats, we’ll get started right away.  Before – I think what we really want to do in this panel is to pass off for the next conference, from Romania to Turkey, and perhaps take a brief time to reflect on this gathering what we’ve learned from it, and what might be the vision to go forward to Turkey.  I do understand and I do want to apologize in advance.  We will end this session by 6:00.  Mr. Kelech  has got to – Kilci – I’m sorry.  It’s written down wrong here.  Mr. Kilci does have to leave here by a quarter to 6:00 so we will excuse you in advance, and understand that having braved the traffic to the airport, I understand the problem.

Let me just do some thanks before we do this.  I think this is –

MR.    :  There’s a correction.

MR. KEMPE:  This is the right spot.  Okay.  I’m sorry.  They’re correcting me but Kilci is actually the right name.  The – so I want to do some thanks first because I think this is important and then we can get into the substance.  I definitely want to thank the Ministry of Economy of Romania and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  This has been a very active political week in Romania.  And I know it was difficult at times, but it was the cooperation we got, and arranging this has been just fantastic.  I want to thank the forum co-chairs, Sen. Hagel, Paolo Scaroni and Dinu Patriciu.  You couldn’t get three stronger co-chairs.  

And then sponsors and media partners, I won’t list them all, but I will list in particular DP Holding, Rompetrol, Romgaz, Risk Engineering and UniCredit.  Obviously thanking the speakers and moderators, and the participants.  In this kind of interactive session, it’s the people who ask the questions and the people who are asking smart questions that really make the thing move.  And I hope you’ll come back in Turkey next year because I think this is the interaction we like to have.

I do want to thank board members of the Atlantic Council.  The Atlantic Council board is the Atlantic Council, and they make so much happen at the Atlantic Council.  Rick Burt, Chuck Wald, Ron Freeman, Ian Hague, Paula Stern, Ana Palacio has had to leave, but they have really added immensely to this session and to everything that we do at the Atlantic Council.

And I hope you’ll bear with me, but there has been an enormous performance of staff, and they are unsung, and so I’m going to sing just a couple of stanzas.  Sarah Frese and Elena Pak have really carried the burden of – and the joy of most of the organization of this.  And I really want to thank the two of you enormously.  And I’ll need through names, so don’t applaud yet.  Anna Eliasson, Cheryl Topping, Christine Mahler, Alexia Huffman, Mary Micevych and Peter Casata, David Simpson and Mihaela Carstei.  I owe you all a lot for this venture but for so much more as well.

And then of course the two Dinu Patriciu fellows, Boyko Nitzov and Alexandros Petersen who have done so much to help this but also add the brainpower on these issues to the Atlantic Council every day.  

And of course the regional Bucharest team, which has performed magnificently.  I don’t have as many names to read here, so I hope I’m hitting all of the right ones, but clearly under the leadership of the director of our office here, who I’ve just had a great pleasure with working with not only on this but other ventures as well – a youth summit here with the Bucharest Summit, Alex Serban, Oana Egreson (ph), Felicia Vakualu (ph), and Mihnea.

MR. (?):  Mihnea.

MR. KEMPE:  Mihnea.  And thank you, Alex, and thank you and your team.  And there are so many volunteers that I can’t thank them all, but they’ve been absolutely fantastic.  And if the staff that’s in the room could just stand while we all give you a round of applause.  (Applause.)

Now – and I think we’ll see if we have some comments we can take from the floor.  But I wonder if we can start with our Romanian partner, and just get – and I just – actually, because of the shortness of time for our Turkish undersecretary, I’ll do what I was going to do last, which is what is his vision for next year.  And we’re going to backwards from what we think we accomplished, to what is the vision, to what is the vision and then back to what we’ve accomplished.  And Dinu of course will talk on both of those fronts.  But I wonder if you could tell us a little bit, as you’ve experienced some of this, and as we’ve had our good conversation with Sen. Hagel this morning, what do you think would the importance of this for Turkey, for the region next year, and what is – I know we’re just getting started so you can’t have a complete vision, but perhaps you could tell us a little bit of what you would hope for.

METIN KILCI:  (In Turkish language.)

MR. KEMPE:  Mr. Kilci, let me applaud you for that. Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  it is – when you start an initiative like this, you never know quite where it’s going to lead, and for us at the Atlantic Council, having a one-off conference isn’t a very interesting thing, as good as this one-off conference was.  It’s only interesting, as you said, when you can put bricks in the wall, and this was a very important brick.  And I think as an initiative, we have so much to thank the Romanians for.  We have so much now to – in the future to thank you for.  But really what we’re going to do is have all of the governments at all of the different forums so it will always be a place not of competition but of cooperation.

Here’s my question from this morning for you.  We talked about what may make it special for Turkey, and make it different a little bit than Romania.  And one of the things we’ve talked about was the proximity of the Middle East, the proximity of Iraq, the proximity of Iran.  And so do you feel that we should give the forum, even though it’s a Black Sea forum, do you think we should add some of that flavor.  Also, we’ve heard from some people in the hallways, and we talked about this today a little bit, the – an addition of a little bit more a discussion of renewable, particularly with Turkey’s ambitious plans towards nuclear and other renewable.

MR. KILCI:  (In Turkish language.)

MR. KEMPE:  And the question of the proximity of the Middle East.

MR. KILCI:  (In Turkish language.)

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you very much for that vision.  And I look forward with our team, working with you and your team in the months ahead to build upon – build upon this.  And the other thing, as you’re speaking about the Middle East, part of our vision is to bring the world to the Black Sea and the Black Sea to the world.  And so the Black Sea in its context obviously in Turkey is very much related to the Middle East.  And who knows, with the talks ongoing as they are with Iran, what might have had happened by next year at this time, either positive or otherwise.  So there should be some interesting things to discuss.

Let me turn to the state secretary.  Thank you.  This has been a wonderful experience.  I think we’ve enjoyed your hospitality enormously.  Give us your reflections, reflections from Mr. Videanu, from the Romanian foreign ministry – where – what did you what this to accomplish and what are your reflections on where you think it should go forward.

TUDOR SERBAN:  (In Romanian language.)

MR. KEMPE:  With big ordeals – I hope that was mistranslated just a little bit of the – it would be remiss of me not to thank one individual in your ministry who has been crucial to us all.  Monica Mauer, thank you so much for all of the help you’ve given this event, and for the belief you’ve had and the vision you’ve had from the beginning.  And please pass our thanks onto the minister and others in the government.  And we hope to see you in Istanbul.  This is an ongoing community.  This is not, as I said, a one-off.  And I hate to keep repeating that, but in management school, they taught me the power of relentless repetition.  So we’ll do that.

The other thing is it’s interesting what you say that we maybe got more media attention because so many people were watching this week for other purposes.  I was a little disappointed because you hate to have news overtake coverage of this conference.  And so – but I think you’re right.  I think you’re right that more people paid attention to that because more people were paying attention in general this week to politics in Romania.

And here I’ll just quote Sen. Hagel who basically said the alternative to this kind of political – and I’ll let you go right now – the alternative to this is of course not democratic politics.  And so a little bit of a mess now and again is better than what we’ve – what I experienced when I was here in Romania in previous days.  

We’ll take a short – not a short break, but we just want to thank Mr. Kilci and then we’ll continue our discussion or another 10 or 15 minutes here.  I know you have to get to the airport.  I really want to thank you for your support and for your kind words.

MR. KILCI:  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

MR. KEMPE:  And as I said, we’ll stop at 6:00 sharp, and so half an hour shorter than planned.  I do want to talk to Dinu.  I think a lot of people, people who attended the dinner last night – I can’t tell you how many people came up to me and were appreciative of the historical context you set for this and the social language – cultural context you set for this, which goes way beyond energy into a whole set of other ideas about what the Black Sea means.  You’ve experienced these two days.  Reflection on that, Dinu, and also what sort of vision – since you have been the visionary that’s pushed this forward, what sort of vision do you have as it goes to Istanbul.

DINU PATRICIU:  First of all, I think we have to thank two people, one which is a non-minister, the ex-minister of external affairs, Mr. Yakonesko  of very big – very big help in organizing all of this, and the second one, a double ministry, Mr. Vidano , which was nominated yesterday, also ministry of health, not only on the economy, probably in the hope that it will lead us to a healthy economy – (laughter) – and put under – be able to put under intensive care also our economy.  (Laughter.)  But both of them, they were very, very helpful and instrumental and dedicated to make this event possible.  

I think that after such an event, you cannot have conclusions; you can have only starting points for meditation, and maybe for decisions.  And that’s right also for the policymakers and for the businessman.  I strongly believe into governments which are helping businesses to grow, to get in contact, to develop wealthy, healthy economies.  And I think this was the role of these – of this meeting here.  We learned, all of us – it doesn’t mean where from – Romanians, Americans or our guests from the neighboring countries – we started to learn what is the governmental role in this region and what can be the businesses’ role in this region, and that’s very important.  I don’t generalize.  I’m speaking about this region.  

And I think that if we’ll put business before everything else, business together before everything else – I make a parenthesis:  The name of this forum is energy and economic forum.  Probably we are so dedicated to energy, first here in this region because it’s very actual and very important for us.  But we have to speak also about how we can make our economies, our businesses, to cooperate by creating a unified legislative environment by eliminating taxations – more important now that some of the countries are inside the European Union and some of the countries outside the European Unions.  How we eliminate all barriers, fiscal, administrative, custom barriers in the region, and how we can bring to a balance our level of development.

These are subjects on which I think we have to meditate and prepare for the next forum and orient it not only on energy but also on the general problems of the economy in the region.

MR. KEMPE:  Focusing a bit more on the context –

MR. PATRICIU:  Focusing a little bit more on the context for the energy, not only energy itself.  If I think about the importance of this forum for Romania and for the Romanian public, I think this was an exercise of participation, of participation to an exchange of ideas of which everybody was allowed to come, through the media and the having here a lot of people with experience, with power, of decision and with precious knowledge was an absolutely amazing event for this country.  Unfortunately it come at a time when we start to have no ministries and double ministries, but I think anyhow that this was very, very useful.  It’s a beginning.  And when I say a beginning, it’s not only for us but I think for the whole region.  If we’ll be able to keep it alive for the next years, passing from one country to the other, adapting our discussions to the evolving context, we’ll fulfill our mission as Atlantic Council and as also neighbors in this region.

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you, Dinu.  We have a few minutes.  I will talk to the state secretary again, but I wouldn’t mind a quick rat-a-tat of ideas, things you think we should carry into Istanbul from here, things you think we should add that weren’t here.  One-sentence ideas, two-sentence ideas, suggestions.  Ron Freeman.

RON FREEMAN:  Fred, I think one of the most important ideas were heard today – and Mr. Patriciu just referred to it – is that low energy prices benefit both producers and consumers, and that wasting money on unnecessary pipelines at a time of scarce capital resources is not a great idea.  To the extent that Istanbul can feature – it’s not sexy but it’s important – can feature thoughts about energy efficiency and how the energy intensiveness of economies can be reduced in this region would be of tremendous value.  The deputy minister of Turkey mentioned in his conversation in passing that their energy consumption rate is growing faster than their economy.  That means they’re getting less energy intensive in Turkey, so energy efficiency would definitely be relevant for our Turkish hosts next year.

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you.  That’s a very good idea.  More ideas from the floor?  One of the questions that I have – we’re hearing a lot about doing more on renewable – a lot of the energy conferences in the region here have to do with – have to do with fossil fuels because this is a world of fossil fuels.  I wonder if the state secretary thinks that – thinks that that’s something we should carry into Istanbul.  It seems to be a mood of the room and it seems to be what the Turkish deputy minister said.  But Mr. State Secretary, would you agree with that.

MR. SERBAN:  (In Romanian language.)

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you, Mr. State Secretary.  I take that as a resounding support for the discussion of renewable in Istanbul.  We’ve got to close now, but I think you’ll actually thank us for this.  Let me just say that this is a forum. You’re a community.  This is a beginning as Dinu Patriciu said.  Many of you may have ideas for next year you haven’t shared with us.  Send them along, send them by e-mail, send them to the staff.  We want to hear them as we put together the conference for next year.  We also do a lot of work in between.  It’s not just a forum in a forum; it’s all of the work that takes place in between the Eurasia Energy Center.  

So I want to, with that, invite your community, your forum to share a drink with us next door.  I also want to declare the inaugural Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum closed, and we’ll see you on the Bosporus.  (Applause.)

Transcript by Federal News Service, Washington, D.C.

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