EUROPE IS RE-EVALUATING THE CAPABILITIES THAT UNDERLIE ITS DEFENCE
Europe is re-evaluating the concepts and capabilities that underlie its defence, as its security challenges are exacerbated by turbulent developments in the Middle East and worsening relations with Russia.
That was the theme of Friends of Europe’s annual Security Policy Summit on 28 November, which aimed to shift talk on European security from threats to opportunities. At the summit, entitled ‘Europe’s tough neighbourhood – urgent challenges in a complex environment’, participants sought to identify roles and responsibilities at the strategic, tactical and operational levels in the framework of longer-term strategic thinking.
Calls for more action to combat cyberattacks have followed the increase in alleged Russian disinformation efforts and meddling in some NATO member states’ elections. While these have not been overtly aggressive, they have played a role in exacerbating the unresolved conflict in Ukraine and the instability that has returned to the Western Balkans.
“People weren’t talking about fake news before, and now we are talking about it all the time,” said Giles Portman, Head of the East Stratcom Task Force at the European External Action Service (EEAS). “We have raised awareness and raised inoculation and immunity, but there is still a long way to go. There are bots, cyborgs, artificial intelligence and increasingly sophisticated fake imagery. We have been catching up with the game – but we need to get ahead of the game.”
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Friends of Europe’s annual Security Policy Summit aims to shift the narrative on European security from threats to opportunities, identifying roles and responsibilities at the strategic, tactical and operational levels, in the framework of longer-term strategic thinking. This is based on our holistic approach to European, transatlantic and global security policies, reflecting our view that security is a whole-of-society matter and therefore requires a whole-of-society approach. Bringing together senior decision-makers and out-of-the-box thinkers from Europe, NATO partner countries and beyond, this occasion allows for an in-depth discussion of today’s most pressing security and defence issues.
In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, turbulent developments in the Middle East have provoked waves of migration from the region and have shaken up Europe’s conventional approach to security thinking. Meanwhile, worsening relations with Russia, the evolving nuclear security situation and changing geopolitics have all exacerbated the European security context, requiring a recalibration of defence concepts not only within NATO and the EU, but also in concert with Europe’s eastern and southern neighbours. New realities have thus called for increased attention towards emerging challenges, including cyber governance, defence spending, and the nexus between organised crime and terrorism. In this context, there is an emerging consensus on the need for more resilient approaches to peace, security and defence. Only by looking eastward, southward and inward can Europe advance the security dialogue beyond conventional defence capabilities.
To steer an inclusive, comprehensive and well-informed debate, this event will also serve as an opportunity to present and discuss the findings of Debating Security Plus, Friends of Europe’s global online brainstorm, which gathered over 1,600 participants from around the world to make concrete recommendations for confronting today’s security and defence challenges.
IMAGE CREDIT: CC / Flickr – US Army
During Friends of Europe’s recent global online brainstorm, Debating Security Plus, there were repeated calls for a global convention on cyber security and defence, making it clear that the need to address the issue of cyber governance is becoming ever more pressing. At the same time, alleged Russian disinformation efforts and meddling in some NATO member states’ elections, while not overtly aggressive, has played a role in exacerbating the unresolved conflict in Ukraine and the instability that has returned to the western Balkans. As Europe’s security challenges continue to change and become harder to define, a discussion is emerging on how Europe can take a more energetic and collaborative approach to security matters, including through both the strategic role played by the European External Action Service and President Juncker’s proposed new European Cybersecurity Agency.
- Faced with evolving geopolitical concerns, is a consensus emerging in the EU or NATO on the need to promote greater dialogue with Russia that would entail listening and not just talking?
- How should military and civil policymakers adapt the current security doctrine to address the evolving hybrid threats and challenges of the 21st century?
- How has Russia’s approach to the cyber sphere changed the game, so to speak, and how have the EU and NATO strengthened their cyber defences?
Parliamentary Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trustee of Friends of Europe and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Deputy Director of the Department of European Cooperation at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Head of the East Stratcom Task Force at the European External Action Service (EEAS)
Senior Fellow for Cyber Leadership at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe
The destabilising effects of the Arab Spring in 2011 and then the EU-led military intervention in Libya have contributed to mounting security difficulties in Europe’s southern neighbourhood, including terrorism and mass movements. As organised crime increasingly provides terrorist networks with both the infrastructure to procure deadly weapons and the funds to finance terrorist activities, the results are being felt in Europe. With the additional pressure of the refugee and migrant influx resulting from the civil war in Syria, Africa’s population explosion, and the catastrophic results of climate change, what steps should be taken to stabilise Europe’s southern neighbourhood?
- Are NATO, the US and the EU on the same wavelength on the policies needed to tackle Daesh-related terrorism while stabilising civil societies in the Arab world?
- The deterioration in both Europe’s and America’s relations with Turkey is an unwelcome development in terms of Middle Eastern security efforts. What policy solutions are available to NATO, the EU and their member states?
- Economic development assistance in Europe’s southern neighbourhood needs to go hand in hand with security policy. How can civil society and the military cooperate to ensure that assistance reaches where it is needed most without duplicating efforts?
Researcher and Analyst specialising in the Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya, Trustee of Friends of Europe and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Member of the Finnish Parliament, Foreign Minister’s Special Representative on mediation and President of the European Institute of Peace
Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET)
Human Rights Advisor at Inti Raymi Fund
Managing Director at New Horizons Project
US Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates warned Europeans at a 2011 debate in Brussels that it was high-time they stop relying on the US for their security. As this line continues to be echoed today by the current US administration, such a context raises significant questions for Europe and its appetite to step up to this new reality in terms of collective efforts, burden-sharing and better coordination. As most European NATO member states continue to grapple with the 2% of GDP defence spending goal, and as the EU moves towards its proposed ‘Defence Union’, there remain questions over the nature of member states’ political and economic commitments. As policymakers work to keep their states’ militaries funded and ensure preparedness in the event of war, what are the short and long term implications for the EU, NATO and their member states?
- Would clear time frames by the EU or NATO for European governments’ catch-up efforts help or hinder the momentum towards improved capabilities?
- How do states’ defence spending policies impact their abilities to prepare for war, and what new threats must governments take into consideration?
- Will EU initiatives like Permanent Structured Cooperation and the new operational HQ for training lead to a renewed drive on military capabilities, outreach and inter-operability of systems?
Director of the Arms and Military Expenditure Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
Policy Adviser to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
Head of Cabinet to European Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King
Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence, Friends of Europe; author or “After the Ice”, “Crossing the Wilderness”, and “Murky Waters”
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe
Mary Fitzgerald is a researcher and analyst specialising in the Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya. She has consulted for a number of international organisations including in the areas of peace building and civil society.
She has worked with the International Crisis Group (ICG), the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) among others. She is a Non-Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC, an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, King’s College London, and an Associate Fellow at ISPI in Milan. Mary has also worked on wider initiatives with UNESCO, the Anna Lindh Foundation, the British Council and other cultural organisations. Her writing has appeared in publications including Foreign Policy, The New Yorker online, the Washington Post, Financial Times and the Guardian.
Before joining SIPRI in 2014, Aude Fleurant was Director of the Arms and Defence Economics programme for the Military Academy Strategic Research Institute based at the Military Academy in Paris. Prior to that, she led the market intelligence office of Technopole Defense & Security in Canada. She has also been a lecturer in International Relations and Political Economy at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Fleurant has authored several articles on the arms industry and military expenditure, and her expertise further extends to defence political-economy and defence production sectors analysis.
Pekka Haavisto has extensive knowledge in crisis management and political negotiations. He has served as the EU Special Representative for Sudan and Darfur, UN Special Advisor to the Darfur peace process, and has also led the UN Environment Programme for the post-conflict environmental assessments and projects in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East, Liberia and Sudan. Haavisto has been twice a cabinet minister (Minister for International Development and Minister of Environment) and is expected to run for the second time as the Green League candidate in the Finnish Presidential elections.
Before joining NATO, Jan Havránek served as the Defence Counsellor at the Czech Delegation to NATO, where he represented his country at the Defence Policy Planning Committee. Prior to this assignment, he was Deputy Defence Policy Director and Foreign Policy Advisor to the Czech Minister of Defence, and subsequently the Assistant First Deputy Minister and Defence Policy Director. Havránek has provided his expertise to various international think-tanks and NGOs, and was named in the Diplomatic Courier’s annual list of the Top 99 Under 33 Foreign Policy Leaders.
Zanda is a Latvian politician and serves as the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia. Her role is to ensure cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Latvian Parliament and the European Parliament. She also represents the Latvian government at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meetings of development and trade ministers. Zanda also currently chairs the Consultative Board for Development Cooperation Policy of Latvia and sits on the board of European Movement – Latvia, a non-profit organisation. She previously served as a member of the Latvian parliament and chaired the Committee on European Affairs Committee and the Innovation and Research Subcommittee during her mandate. Zanda started her professional career at Jurmala’s city council and then went on to work at the Strategic Analysis Commission of the President of Latvia, where she served as an advisor to the president.
Igor Kapyrin has served in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more than thirty years, being posted to countries including Portugal, France and Angola before taking up the position of Deputy Permanent Representative at the Russian Mission to the Council of Europe. Throughout his career, Kapyrin has often contributed to the debate on EU-Russian relations, security issues in Eurasia and Russia’s relations with its neighbourhood.
As a Head of European Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King’s cabinet, James Morrison is responsible for strategy, policy delivery and implementation of the Security Union across the European Commission while also working in the areas of counter-terrorism, preventing violent extremism, cyber security and organised crime. Before joining King’s cabinet, he headed the private office of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton (2009-2014). Morrison previously worked as a diplomat with the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office, which included a posting at the UK’s Permanent Representation to the EU.
With a focus on foreign affairs, human rights, justice and home affairs, and civil liberties, Kati Piri’s work in the European Parliament extends also to her role as standing rapporteur on Turkey’s accession process. Prior to joining the Parliament, Piri worked as a programme manager for the South Caucasus and Moldova at the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) and as a political advisor in the European Parliament where she provided expertise on foreign relations with a particular focus on the Caucasus.
A senior EU diplomat, Giles Portman is responsible for communicating and promoting EU policies in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood, strengthening the region’s media independence, and improving the EU’s capacity to anticipate and respond to disinformation. The EEAS East Stratcom Task Force launched in 2015 the EU vs Disinformation campaign, to better forecast, address and respond to pro-Kremlin disinformation. With a career focused on the EU and its neighbourhood, Portman previously worked on EU-Turkey relations as chair of the working group that negotiated the opening of Turkey’s EU accession negotiations in 2005.
In addition to her academic expertise in cyber leadership development, national cyber resilience and risk management, Francesca Spidalieri also holds the post of Co-Principal Investigator for the Cyber Readiness Index project at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies where she has worked to develop a practical blueprint for countries to understand and address their cyber vulnerabilities. Spidalieri is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Ponemon Institute, and regularly lectures on cyber-related issues across the United States.
Anas Talalqa currently works as Human Rights Advisor at Inti Raymi Fund. The fund is known for supporting indigenous people around the world and other human rights related projects. In addition to that, Talalqa is an active member of numerous other international civil society organisations that work in the fields of peace-building, youth empowerment, refugees and leadership in the MENA region.
Paul is a Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe and the author of Friends of Europe’s European Defence Cooperation report series. A Paris-based journalist, he also writes the “Europe at Large” column for Politico. He previously spent four decades working for Reuters as a foreign correspondent in Paris, Tehran, Bonn and Brussels, as bureau chief in Israel/Palestine, Berlin and Brussels, as chief correspondent in France, as diplomatic editor in London, and finally as European affairs editor. His assignments have included covering the Iranian revolution, the Cold War Euromissile crisis, the 1991 Gulf War, German reunification, the Maastricht summit, France in the 1990s, EU enlargement, the Eurozone crisis and the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt.
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