On March 2-4, EESC together with Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence and partners organized an International Security Experts Conference “EU Global Strategy: Eastern Partners in European Security”.
The Conference focused on security environment in and around Europe, as well on possible ways for greater EU engagement with Eastern Partners in security and defence. The main aim was to provide an opportunity for the Eastern Partnership countries to voice their security concerns and share ideas on the future of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). During the Conference, the Eastern Partner countries were also given an opportunity to make their contribution to the ongoing debate on the new EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy.
The Conference gathered together government officials, members of civil society and political analysts from six Eastern Partnership countries, EU Member States, and representatives of the EU institutions. The guest speaker for the opening dinner was Glen E. Howard, President of the Jamestown Foundation (USA).
The first session “European Security System: Challenges and Responses” hosted following speakers: Stuart Summers, Senior Policy Advisor, Strategic Planning Division, EEAS, Vaidotas Urbelis, Defence Policy Director, Ministry of National Defence of Lithuania, Eka Tkeshelashvili, Director and Founder, Georgian Institute for Strategic Studies, and Hennadiy Maksak, Head of the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”. The session was moderated by Emmet Tuohy, Senior Research Fellow, Estonian Center for Eastern Partnership.
The second panel “What is the Future of Eastern Partnership Policy? Is There a Role for the CSDP as Part of a Wider EU Association with Partner Countries?” consisted of Nicu Popescu, Senior Analyst, EU Institute for Security Studies, Belgium, Archil Karaulashvili, First Deputy State Minister, Office of the State Minister of Georgia on European & Euro-Atlantic Integration, Andrey Porotnikov, Head, Belarus Security Blog, Hanna Shelest, Editor-in-Chief, UA: Ukraine Analytica, and Boris Navasardian, President, Yerevan Press Club, Armenia. Discussion was moderated by Konstanty Chodkowski, Expert, National Centre for Strategic Studies & Journalist, Eastbook.eu, Poland.
The last session “Providers or Consumers?: Partners’ contributions to European Security” hosted Linas Linkevičius, Policy Officer, Crisis Management & Planning Directorate, EEAS, Camelia Graur, Head of Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, Bakhtiyar Aslanov, Head of the Peace and Conflict Research Department, Humanitarian Research Public Union, Azerbaijan, and Donatas Vainalavičius, Lecturer, Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania. The session was moderated by Robertas Šapronas, Director, International Relations and Operations Department, Ministry of National Defence of Lithuania.
The Conference was co-organised by the Eastern Europe Studies Centre and the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence in close cooperation with the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union Institute for Security Studies, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, and the National Centre for Strategic Studies (Poland). It was held in the framework of the Panel on co-operation in the area of CSDP within the EaP Platform on Democracy, Good Governance and Stability, and was co-funded by the European Commission. This conference as a CSDP outreach activity was second of a kind, the previous conference was held in 2014. Lithuania together with Poland promotes this initiative with a view to turning it into an annual regional event.
Photographs by Vladimir Caralunga-Morar