The Security & Defence Agenda is to hold its major annual conference entitled, this year called “Overhauling transatlantic security thinking”, on 4 June at the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels. The SDA annual conference is an important platform for debating developments in transatlantic security and defence. This year’s debates will be moderated by SDA co-president and former NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Frederick Kempe, President of the Washington-based Atlantic Council.
Tensions around the crisis in the Ukraine are high, with elections for a new government in Kiev scheduled for May 25th, only eight weeks after the Crimea referendum that has been hotly criticized by Western governments. How are the Ukrainian authorities handling preparations for the elections and will they be free and fair? What is the security situation on the ground and how is growing instability in the country’s eastern regions likely to impact polling? How are the OSCE and European Union supporting election operations on the ground, and how far does this reflect a common European position towards the Ukraine and Russia? Will a democratically elected government help tone down Russia’s criticism of the lack of legitimacy of the current Kiev government? How far are international bail-outs dependent on a smoothly-run election? What is the way out of the current crisis, and are the upcoming elections likely to help or hinder in re-starting talks with Russia?
Edward Snowden’s revelations have added new fuel to the global debate about balancing privacy and security but have left many questions unanswered. Jane Lute, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, will offer insights into how in reality the security agencies work, and what further measures would protect citizens’ privacy.
On June 26th the Security & Defence Agenda (SDA), the Compagnie Européenne d'Intelligence Stratégique (CEIS) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) will host a high-level dinner debate in honor of NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Philip M. Breedlove and SDA co-president Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
This exclusive dinner debate will bring together speakers of the next day’s SecDef'13 conference and senior representatives of EU institutions, NATO, national governments, and industry.
Europe's armies must defend their technology base or risk condemning themselves to irrelevance. But as the economic crisis eats into defence budgets, research and development is an all-too-easy target for spending cuts. However, austerity can be an opportunity for both the civilian and defence industries to thrive if nations use their military needs as a driver to develop dual-use technologies.
Friends of Europe and the Security and Defence Agenda are organising a Policy Insight to discuss France's military intervention in Mali and its impact on European foreign and security policy.
SDA co-presidents Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, former NATO Secretary General, and Javier Solana, former EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy welcomed General James L. Jones, Chair of the Brent Scowcroft Center, Atlantic Council of the United States and formerly US National Security Advisor to President Obama, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and Commandant of the US Marine Corps at a gala dinner to mark the SDA’s 10th anniversary as Brussels’ leading security and defence think-tank on Thursday 24th May 2012. Assembled guests enjoyed lively debates with key personalities and a wide range of high-profile people in an informal and entertaining atmosphere.
Join the brainstorming for a broad discussion in the context of ongoing global financial turmoil and ever-present transnational threats ranging from WMD proliferation to drugs and human trafficking, in forums to include:
Capabilities & future technologies • Forging strategic partnerships
Crisis management • Facing up to the cyber-challenge •
With international trade representing between a fifth and a quarter of the world’s total estimated annual GDP of $60 trillion, it’s widely feared that transport is increasingly the Achilles Heel of the global economy. Has the EU got the right balance between tighter rules and their practical enforcement? How can Europe effectively harmonise the efforts of security, transport and customs authorities? How can policymakers in Europe and further afield ensure that the long-term evolution of threats is being properly taken into account? Do Washington and Brussels have a shared approach to ensuring that rogue states enforce security procedures?
Intelligence, counter-terrorism and private security stakeholders all rely on the timely and accurate delivery of information to “front-line” staff. In most major security breaches, although relevant data was available it failed to reach the right person in time. Information-sharing to reduce vulnerabilities is vital, so why has intra-European cooperation remained so limited? Do EU and NATO member states mistrust each other when dealing with sensitive security information, or is it security sector rivalries that obstruct cooperation? The Lisbon treaty is meant to unify EU security policies, but coherence on information-sharing remains elusive. How can Europe better harness its information-sharing resources?
A United States Mission to the European Union and Security and Defence Agenda lunch discussion with Ivan K. Fong, General Counsel and Mary Ellen Callahan, Chief Privacy Officer and Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer from the US Department of Homeland Security.
The event will be moderated by Brooks Tigner, Editor, Security Europe.
The so-called ‘Twitter’ or ‘Web 2.0’ revolutions in the Arab world have sparked fierce debate on the right of governments to shut down the internet. This has been paralleled by criticism of Iran and China for their use of social media to track political protesters and for propaganda. The storage of data on these platforms greatly increases public and private vulnerabilities to attack. Does switching off the internet constitute a breach of freedom of speech, and if so, should the EU develop capabilities to prevent this? Does NATO’s cybersecurity policy include this issue and what kind of actions or sanctions might be considered? Could an EU platform for cooperation between public and private actors contribute to regulating cyberspace, and could such a platform enable governments to stay up to speed with technological developments?
Europe's public authorities need to reach out to the private sector to help develop effective responses to today's increasingly complex security threats, the European Union's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles De Kerchove said Thursday. "We public authorities should do better to identify and make known our needs in the field of security related research," De Kerchove told a conference, co-organised by Security & Defence Agenda and European Organisation for Security. "If Ministries of Interior don't express their views, it's very difficult for the researchers and mainly for the private industry to invest." The conference focused on four main areas of concern: border security, disaster control and civil protection, cyber-security and protecting transport infrastructure. Speakers assessed the need to reduce the fragmentation of Europe's approach to security, examined the role of European institutions and examined ways to dovetail the needs of industry and government.
Natural disasters, terrorist attacks and geopolitical instability, all pose threats to Europe's critical energy infrastructure that could prove disastrous, provoking a cascade effect that could strike other sectors from water supply to the mobile phone network, heard an SDA / EOS roundtable debate. Speakers stressed the need for more investment, closer European co-operation and the development of a more integrated European market that would facilitate flows of energy from one country to another, especially in times of crisis.
Opening Security and Defence Day 2010, Belgian Minister of Defence, Pieter De Crem, explained how the current financial climate of austerity and reduced budgets is encouraging the sharing of resources and better levels of cooperation and interoperability. The recent Anglo-French agreement on naval infrastructure is a clear indication of greater rapprochement between member states on security issues, he said.
On January 22, the SDA will hold the first of its annual Member's Lunches at the Bibliothèque Solvay. This private lunch will serve as a brainstorming opportunity for SDA member's to discuss their own policy priorities as well as the SDA's activities for 2008.
Enrique Mora, Head of Cabinet to Javier Solana and Hendrik Schuwer, Head of Cabinet to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer will brief SDA members on upcoming institutional priorities for 2008.
Europe’s ability to respond quickly to global emergencies was brought into sharp focus by major catastrophes like the Asian tsunami, Pakistan earthquake and Hurricane Katrina. The EU’s reconstruction and crisis management capabilities are widely seen by public opinion as inadequate. What, objectively, are Europe’s assessment and response capabilities, and what are the prospects for the disaster relief force suggested by the Barnier report? Would such a unified European force affect the role of ECHO or disaster response-times? How should Europe tackle its present force projection shortcomings, and where would the Community Civil Protection Mechanism fit in?
The 1325 EU Partnership was instigated by the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) Gender, Peace, and Security group to provide a forum for high-level policy makers to enhance discussion and understanding of gender perspectives and implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security, within the EU. It aims to do so by linking people and disseminating information across the EU institutions, governments, military, academia and field- and EU-based NGOs. In particular, the 1325 EU Partnership will achieve its aims by concentrating on highlighting practical examples, best practices and lessons learnt across various thematic areas and contexts, to augment gender awareness, understanding and mainstreaming.
The overlap between NATO and the EU’s emerging identity has at times been a contentious feature of both the transatlantic and intra-European political debates. But how justified are these concerns? Are US policymakers aware of the ESDP’s potential for promoting global stability through hard as well as soft power, and what do they think of it? Are the strongest supporters of an independent European military capability beginning to acknowledge that NATO is still a flexible and effective instrument for furthering joint transatlantic interests? Because both the EU and NATO face the same pressures – for a more clearly defined security strategy, a serious shortage of resources and to admit Balkans and Black Sea countries as future members – how much new scope is there for complementary policymaking?
The crucial role of private security companies in Iraq looks increasingly like a pointer to the future. Private security contractors are now offering a wide array of sophisticated security-related services. This roundtable will focus on how EU policymakers see the role of such companies developing and the possible implications it has for ESDP. Beyond the military domain, the interaction between private security companies and NGOs involved in humanitarian and development work will be examined.
In June 2005, the SDA organised a roundtable on protecting Europe’s infrastructure against terrorism (the report can be found in the Publications section). Only a few days afterwards, London’s transport system was hit by four near-simultaneous bomb attacks. This was a reminder of the burning importance of critical infrastructure protection. On October 2, the SDA will look at issues such as the coordination of policies at the EU level and private sector involvement, with a close look at energy infrastructure. Dependence on imported energy means that infrastructure protection strategies need to be adapted to meet a wide geographical scope, leading us to ask where the weakest points lie.
In the wake of the Madrid and London bombings, the counter-terrorism strategy agreed by EU leaders in late 2005 heralds a more concerted approach to security in Europe. How could the strategy be tailored to take an “all hazards” approach to the many layers of threat, ranging from terrorist attack to natural catastrophe, disease pandemics and organized crime? What specific steps are needed to strengthen EU countries’ security, and is the pooling of national resources a viable option in any of these?
Creating a coherent response by EU countries to terrorist threats is already placing strains on Europe ’s decision-making and cooperation mechanisms. Does EU have an efficient and integrated border management framework, and how well are the new member states policing Europe ’s ‘new borders’? What are the priorities for the EU’s new Border Agency and how will its risk analysis be fed into decision-making at both national and EU level? Does Schengen II provide a satisfactory political base for information-sharing? What prospect is there for a clear mandate on civil liberties protection versus more efficient security controls, and what consultation methods with elected representatives and civil society groups would work best? Is heightened security in Europe destined to remain a matter for national policymakers, or is Europe moving towards a more collective EU-level approach?
The event is organised in collaboration with Fundación para el análisis y los studios sociales (FAES) to mark the release the FAES report ‘NATO: An Alliance for Freedom’ and to discuss NATO’s need for strategic change and its role in counter-terrorism strategies. The FAES report highlights the growing importance of security threats posed by Islamic jihadists, and says that NATO must make an “ambitious jump” by enacting measures to strengthen protection against future attacks at the centre of Alliance strategy.