Submitted by BIC on Thu, 02/21/2019 - 15:45

Although security analysts have been concerned with small wars, proxy wars, and counter-terrorism over the past two decades, inter-state rivalry and great-power politics have redrawn the priorities of foreign and defense policies, while also reshaping financial markets and the global business environments. In this context, it is evident that today Russia and Iran are more interested in restoring its role among the world and regional major powers, both as an economic player and diplomatic and military hegemony. Both state and non-state actors in these two contexts are using discrete hybrid tactics in order to meet their geopolitical objectives.

Since the eruption of the Ukrainian crisis, the world has witnessed a well-developed Russian political warfare strategy and the hybrid model, utilized by the Kremlin, which have had destabilizing consequences as well as wide-ranging implications for international security, in particular for Europe. The intricacies of the situation are made even worse by the presence another regional player: Iran’s impacts in the Middle-East proxy wars and its expansionist ambitions have had deteriorating consequences both regionally and in Europe.

For the first case, in the last decade, Russia has used hybrid modes of warfare which incorporates conventional capabilities, disinformation campaigns, irregular tactics and formations, terrorist acts that include indiscriminate violence and coercion, and criminal disorder. As a result, some of the policy dialogues and mechanisms of cooperation have been temporarily frozen, and sanctions directed at endorsing a change in Russian’s policies. As for the second context, Iran’s involvement in the ongoing conflict in Syria and Yemen highlights examples of a state actor’s use of synchronized means to demonstrate a hybrid approach to achieving political goals, which have had major impacts on European security.

In sum, the EU, Russia and Iran are being confronted by a new geopolitical and geo-economic landscape. In addition, recent events in Ukraine and Syria have also revealed the potential weaknesses of the current deterrence models against hybrid aggression. As key players at global scale, it is in the interest of the EU to establish mutually-beneficial relations with Russia and Iran. However, structural and systematic changes are necessary to move this dialogue forward.

In light of these challenges and opportunities ahead, this panel discussion will bring together a group of experts, academics, EU officials, and civil society to discuss pragmatic approaches to address the geopolitical obstacles facing Europe. This discussion will not only consider how to strengthen the EU’s competitive advantage on hybrid threats, but also explore avenues for whole-of-government approaches on security.

Space is limited, for registration, please access the following link:

Hosted by:



Rebecca HARMS

MEP – Greens/EFA

Speakers include:


Ambassador of Ukraine to the Kingdom of Belgium, Representative of Ukraine to the

European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community

Amb. Marc OTTE

Senior Advisor at BIC-RHR, Belgium Special Envoy for Syria, Senior Associate Fellow at Egmont Institute, Vice-President at EIP

Professor Antonios NESTORAS

Professor of International Affairs, Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)