It is essential to better understand hybrid threats, what form they take and the challenges they pose. These were the topics of discussion at an expert seminar organised by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Portuguese Ministry for Foreign Affairs and by the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats.
The trends related to these physical or virtual threats in the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean were discussed at this digital event. The revolutions that have been taking place in the region since 2011 have exposed gaps in governance and in security, which could become threats. On the other hand, the complex conflicts, both in North Africa and in the Middle East, have cleared the way for hostile action in many areas.
The EU Global Strategy appeals to the 27 to cooperate with the states in this region on issues of security challenges, human rights and anti-terrorism policies, recalling that the stabilisation, democratisation and development of the Middle East and North Africa is an important goal and that it is essential to recognise and understand the hybrid threats that could hinder the achievement of this goal.
The challenges facing the region, whether terrorist attacks from conflict zones or migration from or through North Africa, are particularly significant to the EU and to NATO and they frequently have an effect on Europe as well. This is why the experts who met this Thursday concluded that it is important that the hybrid threats and the vulnerabilities that allow these threats to become a reality should be clearly understood and dealt with.
The discussion between experts focused on a trend report project on the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean, which the Centre of Excellence is preparing and whose results are expected to be presented at the international conference on hybrid threats, organised by the Portuguese Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the National Defence Institute and scheduled for May next.