Conference on Security Challenges for Europe drew to an end in Hotel Hilton Garden Inn, Zagreb

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On December 7th, 2023, the eleventh „Conference on Security Challenges for Europe,“ which is a flagship event organized by RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) in Croatia and the George C. Marshall European Centre for Security Studies, came to an end in Zagreb.

The first day of the Conference consisted of 3 Panels. Panel 1 concentrated on the topic of Energy and Climate as 21st Century Security Issues, Panel 2 on Regional Energy Security in the Shadow of War in Ukraine and Panel 3 on War in Ukraine and Euroatlantic Security. Panel 4, on Day 2 of the Conference, concentrated on Regional Climate Security in the Shadow of War in Ukraine.

The Conference explored economic and information security dimensions, along with the implications arising from the ongoing security developments in the Middle East. Additionally, it provided a forum for participants to exchange their respective national perspectives on Euro-Atlantic integration and regional defense cooperation.

The organizers’ collaborative effort, focused on maintaining a durable regional platform to tackle current security challenges and transformational processes in South East Europe (SEE), taking into account the responsibilities and institutional preparedness for EU and NATO membership, met with positive feedback from all participants.

The primary goal of this year’s conference was intricately linked to the Russia–Ukraine war and its repercussions for a Euro-Atlantic response, Climate change, and Energy security.

The agression of Russia poses a serious threat for security in the region and during the debates the necessity of strenghtening the support to Ukraine in the fight against the Russian agression and to assure the integrity and reestablish the sovereignty of their teritory, was underlined.

The flagship event came to a conclusion with the Closing remarks by Professor Rhodes of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies and RACVIAC Director, H.E. Ambassador Constantin-Mihail Grigorie.

Professor Rhodes emphasized the need for strategic and cooperative approches to keep focus on the issues tackled during the Conference and pursue the efforts to address them. He appreciated the cooperation with RACVIAC and Konrad A. Stiftung and looked forward to continue with it in the future too. 

RACVIAC Director, H.E. Ambassador Constantin-Mihail Grigorie, closed the Conference with an address to the distinguished guests and speakers, stating that it was a pleasure to host a record number of participants.

In his speech he underlined: „The high level of participation, both in terms of speakers and attendees, could not have been achieved without the fundamental cooperation and support of our partners and deep commitment and determination to conduct this activity in accordance with the highest standards.“

Furthermore, he expressed special gratitude to the KAS Office and the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, as well as the speakers and moderators for their knowledge and understanding. Additionally, he highlighted the value of the participants´ expertise and engagement, pointing out that they were a crucial factor in the success of the event.

H.E. Grigorie concluded the key aspects of each Panel and emphasized the significance of transnational dialogue on topics such as climate change and energy transition, as well as the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war on euroatlantic security issues.

Ambassador Grigorie pointed out that the ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine not only exacerbates the energy security situation in South East Europe but also disrupts global energy markets and hinders the supply of oil and natural gas to Europe due to international sanctions imposed on Russia.

Beyond the evident consequences of the conflict, including loss of life, human suffering, and destruction of physical assets, the invasion has introduced significant instability to Euroatlantic security, he added, and said: „This aggression by Russia represents a profound threat to Euroatlantic security, marking a pivotal moment that has shattered peace in Europe.The resolute condemnation of Russia’s actions against Ukraine reflects a united stance on the prevailing situation in Eastern Europe.“

RACVIAC Director expressed his strong belief that this event, marked by its outstanding number of participants, has been a significant step towards expanding and strengthening transnational security cooperation. He stated: „By having all of you here, we can prove that our mission and purpose are up to date and that we stand along with our members in addressing different challenges.“

Ambassador Grigorie extended special thanks to RACVIAC team for showing exeptional engagement in making this Conference a real success