On 11 April in Helsinki, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the establishment of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats was signed by representatives of the U.S., the UK, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, France, Sweden and Germany, Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a press release.
Ambassador at Large, H.E. Eitvidas Bajarūnas signs the document in Helsinki
© 12 Studio

At the ceremony, the Ambassador at Large Eitvydas Bajarūnas in the Transatlantic Cooperation and Security Policy Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania represented Lithuania and signed the MOU on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.

Lithuania pays special attention to the new threats and, namely, to the fight against hybrid threats. It is engrained in the Programme of the Government and in the Implementation Plan of the Programme of the Government. By joining the activities of the Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, Lithuania confirms its willingness to contribute practically to the fight against the new challenges.

It is planned that the Helsinki-based centre will be an international, multi-disciplinary ‘communities network’ led by the participating EU and NATO member states. The centre aims at gaining a better understanding of hybrid threats and vulnerabilities of societies, which can be targeted in hybrid operations. The centre should help to find new ways of working together, sharing information and insights, and discussing perspectives. With the help of human and other resources of participating countries, the centre will function as a Centre of Excellence, supporting the participating countries’ individual and collective efforts to enhance readiness, military and civilian capabilities, and resilience in the fight against hybrid threats, laying special emphasis on Europe’s security.

It is expected that in order to achieve its objectives, the centre will promote dialogue among participating countries at the EU-NATO strategic level and consultation, will research and analyse hybrid threats, and methods of countering such threats, will develop a doctrine, will conduct training and organise exercise to strengthen the participating countries’ individual capabilities, as well as the interaction among the participating countries, the EU and NATO to battle hybrid threats. The centre will promote dialogue with governmental and non-governmental experts from a wide range of professional and academic sectors, and will cooperate with interested communities, dedicating special attention to problems giving rise to hybrid threats, their detection methodology, and ways to improve the ability of organizations to deal with hybrid threats.

The EU and NATO also have plans to join the activities of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. The EU and NATO pay special attention to the fight against hybrid threats. In 2016, the European Commission and the High Representative adopted a Joint Framework to counter hybrid threats and foster the resilience of the EU and its member states. The EU member states were called upon to consider the establishment of the Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. In autumn 2016, the Government of Finland took the decision on the establishment of the centre in Helsinki and, together with other EU and NATO countries willing to join the centre’s activities, drew up a draft Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the centre, its status and activities.

It should be noted that the Centre of Excellence centre that was set up in our region will allow the Nordic and Baltic countries, and Poland to update topics relating to the fight against hybrid threats in a broader context, and to draw attention to security challenges of the Baltic Sea region, including Russian information warfare, cyber security, critical infrastructure protection, energy security, and others. The centre will open up an opportunity for Lithuanian experts to engage into the fight against hybrid threats, also to transmit Lithuania’s practice and experiences.

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