CSDP Orientation Seminar, Vienna, 25-27 October 2022
On 27 October 2022, the Common Security and Defence Policy Orientation Seminar, held in Vienna starting 25 October, came to an end. The seminar was organised by TAIEX (Technical Assistance and Information Exchange of the European Commission) and the Austrian Ministry of Defence under the aegis of the European Security and Defence College. It was addressed to course participants from the Western Balkans region and from EU Member States. The aim of the seminar was to support the public administrations of Western Balkan counties with regard to the application of EU legislation as well as to facilitate the sharing of EU best practices. It focused on delivering a broad understanding of the European Union’s common security and defence policy: its complex structure and decision-making process, crisis-management procedures and crisis-response mechanism, and its integrated approach to external conflicts and crises. The opening keynote speech was delivered by Dr Arnold Kammel, Secretary General of the Austrian Ministry of Defence. This was followed by very interesting briefings by experts on CSDP, on strategic communication and disinformation, on hybrid threats and FIMI (foreign information manipulation and interference), and on the importance of the integrated approach. The challenges connected to migration and on how the EU is facing them, the importance of the protection of civilians in EU missions and operations and CSDP partnerships were subjects addressed during the seminar. The seminar also dealt with structures and instruments as regards capability development and the conduct of CSDP missions and operations. In this context, the framework agreement with the Western Balkan countries was of particular interest for the target audience. The three-day residential course was attended by 26 participants countries and EU Member states. Course members were asked to complete an eLearning phase prior to the start of the seminar, which was designed to provide an overview of the main topics that would be covered. Over the three days, the participants had the chance to interact with one another and to exchange views. In addition to offering an opportunity for knowledge development, the seminar was a useful networking platform designed to foster and harmonise cooperation among people who have different experiences and expertise to share. Backed by the expertise of speakers from various institutions across Europe, the course comprised lectures by members of the Austrian Ministry of Defence, who shared their knowledge and experiences in the field of CSDP. The course concluded with a panel discussion on the future of CSDP delivered by Dr Sandro Knezovic from Croatia, Dr Ana Isabel Xavier from Portugal and Mrs Elisa Norvanto from Finland. We wish to take this opportunity to thank the organisers, TAIEX, the Course Director Dr Jochen Rehrl, the Austrian representative to the European Peace Facility, and all guest speakers and participants for their strong commitment to the event.