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Europe is re-evaluating the concepts and capabilities that underlie its defence, as its security challenges are exacerbated by turbulent developments in the Middle East and worsening relations with Russia.
That was the theme of Friends of Europe’s annual Security Policy Summit on 28 November, which aimed to shift talk on European security from threats to opportunities. At the summit, entitled ‘Europe’s tough neighbourhood – urgent challenges in a complex environment’, participants sought to identify roles and responsibilities at the strategic, tactical and operational levels in the framework of longer-term strategic thinking.
Calls for more action to combat cyberattacks have followed the increase in alleged Russian disinformation efforts and meddling in some NATO member states' elections. While these have not been overtly aggressive, they have played a role in exacerbating the unresolved conflict in Ukraine and the instability that has returned to the Western Balkans.
“People weren’t talking about fake news before, and now we are talking about it all the time,” said Giles Portman, Head of the East Stratcom Task Force at the European External Action Service (EEAS). “We have raised awareness and raised inoculation and immunity, but there is still a long way to go. There are bots, cyborgs, artificial intelligence and increasingly sophisticated fake imagery. We have been catching up with the game – but we need to get ahead of the game.”