“Courses and training are important vehicles to support the implementation of the Strategic Compass, by training experts, but also by further developing networks of professionals active in the field of the Common Security and Defence Policy. We have seen the importance of the role of training and education before, and we can see it even more now with Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine. Courses such as this help enormously to further develop a common understanding of the Common Security and Defence Policy.”With these words, Mr Mikael Lindvall, Sweden’s Permanent Representative to the EU Political and Security Committee, concluded the eighth iteration of a CSDP Orientation course in the 2022/2023 academic year, held in Brussels from 8 to 12 May. The course was organised under the aegis of the European Security and Defence College (ESDC), in close cooperation with the National Defence College of ‘Carol I’ National Defence University, Romania. The CSDP Orientation course is one pillar of the training activities proposed by the ESDC, which aims to provide participants with an overall understanding of the European Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) through insightful lectures, targeted panels, and dynamic group activities. The joint effort of the two institutions allowed for a week of in-depth learning and constructive exchange for over thirty participants with both military and civilian backgrounds from eleven EU Member States and also EU institutions. The course began with a keynote speech by H.E. Ms Iulia Matei, Permanent Representative of Romania to the EU, who expressed her full support for the jointly organised training in light of the growing need for a common understanding of the CSDP in Europe. The course continued with input from a number of highly qualified speakers, policy officers and high-level personnel, covering topics related to the EU integrated approach, the CSDP civilian and military missions and horizontal issues, and also cooperation with NATO. On the last day of the course, participants also had the chance to present the group work they had prepared during the week, which covered five crucial security crises of our century. Keynotes by the Swedish and Romanian Permanent Representatives in the Political and Security Committee and the granting of certificates solemnly concluded the course. Beyond panels and workshops, the Orientation Course also provided food for thought regarding the future of the CSDP in Europe in the context of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine. Particularly against this backdrop and the resulting wake-up call for the EU, the coordinated training of military and civilian personnel is a critical step for the EU to live up to its engagement for a peaceful and prosperous world. We would like to thank all speakers for their excellent input, all participants for their active contributions, and last but not least Carol I National Defence University of Romania for its very constructive cooperation on this CSDP Orientation Course. We are already looking forward to the next one!
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