Redefining defence in an age of disruption: is Europe up to the challenge?

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Redefining defence in an age of disruption: is Europe up to the challenge?

About

Bringing together senior decision-makers with out-of-the-box movers and shakers, this 3-day virtual summit allows for an in-depth and innovative discussion on today’s most pressing security and defence issues.

The 3-day series of interactive debates will focus on the factors that challenge the traditional understanding of defence and the role of the EU as potential guarantor of normative values to address them. The summit will kick off with an opening session exploring the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the quest for European Strategic Autonomy and will be followed by an idea sharing on AI and two sessions on building trust and confidence in cyberspace and space rivalry and cooperation.

These are some of the biggest and most difficult issues that security experts and policy makers have to confront at the beginning of the third decade of the 21st century. The 2020 Friends of Europe Peace, Security and Defence Summit is designed to bring the key players in these areas together for a lively debate and to push this agenda forward – not only by clarifying the problems but also by identifying the solutions.


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PHOTO CREDIT: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Schedule

Schedule

Session I — The post-COVID-19 world: Europe’s path to strategic autonomy Expand Session I — The post-COVID-19 world: Europe’s path to strategic autonomy

The fragmentation of the US led and Western dominated global order and the rise in global geopolitical competition, has put Europe’s security in an increasingly vulnerable position.

Europe has to contend with an increasingly assertive Russia; the rising China’s assertiveness; spiralling conflict and violence to its south in Syria, Libya and in the Sahel, the unravelling of nuclear arms control treaties, and the absence of US leadership on the global stage.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted new, perhaps less obvious dimensions to the notion of “security” and showed that strategic autonomy should be more broadly defined to include hard security, science, economic system sustainability, and models of society.

The international arena lacks a powerful champion of multilateralism and there is a clear opportunity for the EU to make its voice heard. The EU recently asserted itself by defining the terms of its geopolitical goals and ambitions for strategic autonomy.
However, in order to emerge as a global leader and achieve this autonomy, it will need to think harder about its control over critical infrastructure and supply chains, build up its internal resilience, balance social and economic recovery from the pandemic, and overcome internal division.

Questions include:

  • To what extent can the EU increase its strategic autonomy and geopolitical profile without excluding crucial partners such as the UK and the US, especially given the cross-border security challenges?
  • What role do European efforts to achieve strategic autonomy, such as PESCO and the EDF, play in forging the EU’s new geopolitical role?
  • How can the EU balance and align its strategy with the differing national interests and security concerns of its member states?

speakers

Elena Gómez de Castro

Director General for Defence Policy at the Spanish Ministry of Defence

Raimundas Karoblis

Lithuanian Minister of National Defence

Helga Maria Schmid

Secretary-General at the European External Action Service (EEAS)

Jiří Šedivý

Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA)

moderator

Jamie Shea

Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence at Friends of Europe and former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for emerging security challenges at NATO

The views form the US Expand The views form the US

As the EU pursues strategic autonomy, it finds itself in the middle of complex geopolitical rivalries. The US and Europe have many common values and interests but increasingly divergent outlooks and approaches, particularly when it comes to the multilateral order. Their relationship is at a critical juncture: do they reaffirm or reassess transatlantic defence cooperation? How the post-election political environment impacts the US response to current challenges, and whether it decides to go it alone or cooperate with its European and NATO allies, will shape the future security and defence landscape and deeply impact multilateral relations.

Questions include:

  • Is burden sharing moving in the right direction? Can NATO continue to rely on a strategy heavily based on US reinforcements and rotations?
  • Can EU strategic autonomy be the answer to US calls for more equitable burden sharing?
  • How will Russia and China influence US security and defence policy? How will Europe and NATO adapt to this new geopolitical environment?

speakers

General Tod Wolters

NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of U.S. European Command

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

former Secretary-General of NATO and Board member in charge of Friends of Europe’s Peace, Security and Defence work

Continue to 24 Nov
Session II — Building trust and confidence in cyberspace: Advancing international law Expand Session II — Building trust and confidence in cyberspace: Advancing international law

The Internet has given rise to an age of hyper-connectivity and complexity, creating hidden vulnerabilities for its users. The integrity of elections, critical national infrastructures and private enterprises are all prime targets for cyber-attacks as cyberspace becomes a new transnational battleground, and almost nothing seems to be off-limits. The US has called for a broad coalition of “like-minded” nations to join a US-led “deterrence initiative” that includes a collective response to malicious cyber activities by China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.

More recently, in the context of the pandemic, the United Nations’ Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) has been developing a common framework for responsible behaviour in cyberspace. Submissions have raised concerns about cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure, including medical facilities and crisis response organisations. The human cost of cyber-attacks is paramount, yet despite the high stakes, there are few international rules to protect citizens. The international community needs to consider how best to create consensus on a framework for addressing present and future cyber threats and use international law to hold offending states and groups accountable.

Question include:

  • How can nations develop a common basis for assessing violations of international law in cyberspace?
  • What role should the EU and international organisations play in establishing cyber arms control measures to curb hostile behaviour?
  • How should tech companies be included in the development of these measures?

speakers

Katie Moussouris

CEO and Founder Luta Security

Despina Spanou

Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Margaritis Schinas

Continue to 25 Nov
Session III — Space: the next frontier? Preserving the global commons at a time of increased rivalry Expand Session III — Space: the next frontier? Preserving the global commons at a time of increased rivalry

Fifty-eight countries currently have spaced-based assets which greatly contribute to vital functions of the global economy and high-tech societies. However, space is becoming ever more congested and contested as increasing numbers of states and private companies launch space-based enterprises and satellites.

The EU is endeavouring to play an increasingly important role through the European Space Agency, Galileo, Europe’s global satellite-based navigation system, and though the Commission’s new DG Defence Industry and Space.

However, the need for a common understanding between states and private-sector stakeholders on non-aggression and non-militarisation in outer space, and the mechanisms through which to enforce it has never been greater. Existing codes of conduct, such as the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and 1972 Liability Treaty, are in desperate need of a review to address the times, including for example, outlining a ban on anti-satellite weapons.

Questions include:

  • What does declaring space as a domain actually mean in peacetime?
  • How can Europeans play a valuable role in an atmosphere of increasing inter-state competition, particularly between the US and China?
  • How should the private sector be included in arms control measures in space?

speakers

Pedro Duque

Spanish Minister of Science and Innovation and former astronaut

Tanya Harrison

Planetary Scientist involved in science operations teams for NASA

Anna Rathsman

Director-General at the Swedish National Space Agency

Moderator

Jamie Shea

Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence at Friends of Europe and former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for emerging security challenges at NATO

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