The ‘Hybrid Threats – Hybrid Response in Modern Security Environment’ conference was hosted in Helsinki on 23 October 2019 by Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU and the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE). What makes a threat hybrid? How could we strengthen democracy in order to respond to threats against our political processes? What kind of risk will the new technologies pose to the operation of the critical infrastructure?
The conference gathered more than 150 participants from 38 countries. The event was targeted at senior policy practitioners working with hybrid issues in their national administrations in EU member states and in NATO countries as well as in Eastern Partnership and Southeast European countries.
The conference was opened by Finland’s Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo. She highlighted the need for a comprehensive approach to security and to countering hybrid threats. “Social cohesion is the best antidote against hybrid threats. We need to act in a structured and coordinated way,” she said.
The keynote speaker was Teija Tiilikainen, who took up her duties as Director of the Hybrid CoE in October 2019.
“The current international system makes a favourable environment for hybrid actions. International rules are challenged, and trust in international institutions has weakened. The conflict of values is spreading to domestic spheres, creating fertile ground for foreign influencing,” Director Tiilikainen observed.
“Our task is to help us all to meet this environment and its challenges for our societies and help our participating states to enhance their resilience and build capacity”, she noted.
The three panel discussions of the day addressed the diverse perceptions on the concept of hybrid threats, the future of democracy and the impact of future technologies on the critical infrastructure in hybrid scenarios.