The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE) is an instrument of its participating countries. Currently, the Participants of the Memorandum of Understanding concerning Hybrid CoE are Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA. Participation in the Centre is open to EU Member States and NATO Allies. The EU and NATO are invited to join the activities of the Centre.

Hybrid CoE is to serve as a hub of expertise supporting the Participants’ individual and collective efforts to enhance their civil-military capabilities, resilience, and preparedness to counter hybrid threats with a special focus on European security. It is intended that the Centre will offer this collective experience and expertise for the benefit of all Participants, as well as the EU and NATO. The Centre will follow a comprehensive, multinational, multidisciplinary and academic-based approach.

The aim of Hybrid CoE is to provide a single location dedicated to furthering a common understanding of hybrid threats at strategic level and promoting the development of comprehensive, whole-of-government response at national levels and of coordinated response at EU and NATO levels.

In addressing these questions, the functions of Hybrid CoE include the following:

  • to encourage strategic-level dialogue and consulting between and among Participants, the EU and NATO;
  • to conduct research and analysis into hybrid threats and methods to counter such threats;
  • to develop doctrine, conduct training and arrange exercises aimed at enhancing the Participants’ individual capabilities, as well as interoperability between and among Participants, the EU and NATO for countering hybrid threats;
  • to engage with and invite dialogue with governmental and non-governmental experts from a wide range of professional sectors and disciplines; and
  • to involve, or cooperate with, communities of interest (COI) focusing on specific activities that may constitute hybrid threats, on methodologies for understanding these activities, and on ways to adjust organisations to better address such threats effectively.

The Steering Board (SB), consisting of representatives of the Participants, is the principal decision-making body in the Centre. Staff representatives from the EU and NATO are invited to attend the Steering Board meetings.

The SB is to set the policies and approve the work programme, to approve the budget and the accounts, to approve the annual participation fees, to approve the admission of new Participants, to adopt internal regulations and to approve such guidance as may be necessary for the functioning of the Centre and its organs.

The host country of the Secretariat is Finland. The Centre has a domestic legal personality and capacity to perform its functions in the Republic of Finland in accordance with national legislation that entered into force on 1 July 2017.

The secretariat in Helsinki, headed by the Director, will manage the Centre’s administration and common functions. It will coordinate the relevant activities of the communities of interest on (1) hybrid influencing, (2) strategy and defense and (3) vulnerabilities and resilience. The secretariat is also to prepare and organise the meetings of the Steering Board and cooperate and liaise with Participants, the EU and the NATO.

The initiative to establish Hybrid CoE originates from the Joint Communication by the European Commission and the High Representative to the European Parliament and the Council “Joint framework on countering hybrid threats – a European Union response”, decided in Brussels on 6 April 2016. The initiative was supported in the Common set of proposals for the implementation of the Joint EU/NATO Declaration, endorsed by the Council of the European Union and the North Atlantic Council on 6 December 2016.