NATO European Security Challenges and their Implications on the SEE Region

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The Conference “NATO European Security Challenges and their Implications on the SEE Region“ kicked off in RACVIAC on 3rd May 2022. The event aimed to explore security challenges with a special focus on transnational threats in South East Europe. The Conference enabled open and comprehensive discussions on open security policy and academic expert debates on new security challenges such as “Understanding Russian Strategic Behavior: Implications for NATO and SEE”, “China’s Growing Influence in SEE”, “Disinformation and its Implications on Homeland Security”,” Good Governance and Impact on European Security “, etc.

After welcoming the moderators, speakers and participants, Director of RACVIAC, MG(ret.) Jeronim Bazo, addressed the audience, underlining: “Ladies and gentlemen, having in mind the importance of the historical moment and the times we are living in this topic has come up as very significant not only for the SEE region but the world as a whole. Unfortunately, as we all know, the current security situation and the environment in Europe have changed to an extreme level in fundamental ways; this RACVIAC event aims at exploring this phenomenon, with special attention being paid to hybrid warfare, organized crime, migration, Russia’s and China’s influence in the Western Balkans and so on.”
He also encouraged participants to engage in an open and comprehensive discussion on these emerging security challenges for NATO and EU in the South East European region in particular with security policy and academic experts who took part in the Conference.

The Conference consisted of three Panels.
Panel one, “NATO European Security Challenges“, covered the topics connected with the War in Ukraine and its Impact on SEE Security. It was moderated by Mr Sandro Knezović, PhD (Institute for Development and International Relations, Zagreb). The presenters in this Panel were Mr Graeme P. Herd, PhD, GCMC, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Giedrius Česnakas, PhD, Military Academy of Lithuania, Vilnius and Ms Valbona Zeneli, PhD, ALB/DEU-CIV, GCMC, Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Panel two, „Influence of Non-EU Actors on SEE“, covered topics such as “MENA Trends and Challenges with a European Security Perspective” and “China’s Growing Influence in SEE” and it was moderated by Mr Gordan Akrap, PhD, Institute for hybrid warfare research in Zagreb. The panellists were Mr Ljubomir Filipović, Political Scientist, Mr Shpiro Shlomo, PhD, Bar IIan University, Tel Aviv and Mr Laris Gaiser, PhD, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan.

Panel three, moderated by General Mirko Šundov, PhD, dubbed ”Security Challenges in SEE”, included topics such as “Disinformation and its Implications on Homeland Security”, “Countering Terrorism “, “Radicalization Challenges and Countering Violent Extremism in the Western Balkans” and “Good Governance and Impact on European Security”. The panellists were Mr Gordan Akrap, PhD, Hybrid Warfare Research Institute, Zagreb, Mr James K. Wither, GBR-CIV, GCMC, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mr Robert Kolobara, PhD, Private Security Sector, BA and Mr Hrvoje Sagrak, PhD, Info Dom, Zagreb.

The Conference was attended by more than 50 participants and experts specialized in the security field with a particular interest in Europe and NATO’s strategy and policy. The participants were from the ministries of foreign affairs, ministries of interior, ministries of defense, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and members of the academic community involved in addressing contemporary security challenges and policy development processes.

After the Conference RACVIAC Director presented certificates to distinguished lecturers and moderators. He thanked them for their contribution and reminded the Conference participants that dialogue and cooperation are always in fashion, and that that is what RACVIAC mission is all about: to encourage dialogue and cooperation in the region and beyond.