On 10-14 March, Baltic Defence College hosted Module IV (“ESDP in Regional Context”) of the European Security and Defence College (ESDC) High Level Course (HLC). The Module was co-organized by BALTDEFCOL, the Austrian National Defence Academy, and authorities of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. ESDC HLC Module IV focused on the regions which are of special concern to security in Europe: the Balkans, Eastern Neighborhood of the EU, the Middle East and South Asia. The Module’s aim was to impart knowledge on security challenges in these regions and discuss EU’s actual and possible political and military strategies in order to ensure regional security and stability. Participants were introduced with CFSP and ESDP goals and measures taken to stop instability spreading in EU’s neighbourhood. During the week-long program, a total of more than 20 lectures were delivered by the EU representatives as well as academics, civil servants, diplomats and military officers from the Baltic States, Austria, Russia, Georgia, Moldova and other countries. The target audience in ESDC training activities included civilian and military personnel from permanent representations and ministries of all EU Member States as well as EU Institutions.




Module IV of ESDC HLC was opened by the Estonian Minister of Defence, Mr. Jaak Aaviksoo. Welcoming speech was also delivered by General Raimund Schittenhelm, Commandant of the Austrian National Defence Academy. Lectures started with a general overview of European external policy in different regions. First presentations were delivered by Mr. Michael Doczy, representative of the Policy Unit of the General Secretariat of the Council of EU, and Dr. Fleming Hansen, Research Director of Royal Danish Defence College. Both speakers talked about the challenges and priorities of the CFSP/ESDP in the regional context. The concept of “frozen conflict” was introduced by Mr. Kaupo Känd, representative of Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Political Adviser to the European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus. Amb. Ret. Dr. Walter Siegl, Special Adviser to the Austrian Foreign Ministry, talked about the EU strategy toward the “frozen conflict”. Prof. Dr. George Khutsishvili, Director of the International Centre on Conflict and Negotiation in Georgia, introduced perspective of Georgia, which is currently affected by three “frozen conflicts”. Monday’s discussions were moderated by Mr. Arunas Molis, leader of EDSC HLC Module IV and General Raimund Schittenhelm, Commandant of the Austrian National Defence Academy.



Presentations of the second day focused on Russia and EU Eastern Neighborhood countries in the ESDP. Morning session was moderated by Mr. Tomas Jermalavicius, Dean of the Baltic Defence College. The panel was opened by the presentation of Mr. Björn Fagerberg, representative of the Policy Unit of General Secretariat of the Council of the EU, who covered EU interests and strategies in the EU Eastern Neighborhood. RussiaÂ’s perspective on the EU Eastern Neighborhood policies was introduced by Dr. Yevgeniy Kozhokin, Director of the RussiaÂ’s Institute for Strategic Studies. Dr. Igor Munteanu, Executive Director of the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives Viitorul in Moldova presented his point of view on Transnistrial “frozen conflict” and possible EU involvement in neutralizing the threats coming from this region. In the afternoon Mr. Egidijus Navikas from Lithuanian MFA addressed audience on topic “From objects to subjects?” A critical perspective was outlined by Dr. Margarita Šešelgytě, Deputy Director of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science of Vilnius University. Afternoon discussion was moderated by Mr. Kęstutis Jankauskas, Ambassador to PSC, and Deputy Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the EU.



Sessions of third day were moderated by Dr. Heinz Vetschera, Senior Lecturer at the Austrian National Defence Academy and the Peace Support Operations Training Center. General overview of the EU policy in Middle East and Mediterranean regions was provided by Dr. Gunther Hauser, Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Studies of Austrian National Defence Academy. Dr. Harald Haas, Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Studies of Austrian National Defence Academy offered insights into the European strategy towards the Middle East conflict. Dr. Walter Posch, Research fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies, advised the audience on perspectives from the greater Middle East region (Iran, Iraq). Mr. John Hester from the Operations Unit of Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability of Council of the European Union discussed the role of the ESDP (EU) in rebuilding Afghanistan. Mr. Tomas Urbonas, former Deputy Head of Lithuanian Special Mission in Afghanistan, outlined the challenge of international coordination. Panel discussions were led by Col Almantas Leika, former Commander of Lithuania led PRT in Chagcharan.


The fourth day concentrated on ESDP and EU engagement in the Western Balkans. On that day discussions were moderated by Amb. Ret. Dr. Walter Siegl, Special Adviser to the Austrian Foreign Ministry and Dr. Erhard Busek, Co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. Presentations started with general overview of the EU policy in the Balkans by Dr. Erhard Busek. It was followed by an analysis of security policy in South East Europe: the ethnic factor by Mag. Predrag Jurekovič, Research Fellow at the Institute for Peace Research and Conflict Management of Austrian National Defence Academy. Dr. Heinz Vetschera shared his insights on the security policy in South East Europe from the military dimension. 1st Lt Martin Leithner, Field Officer HQ/KFOR, provided analysis on recent developments in Kosovo. The topic of organized crime in the Western Balkans and the threats for the EU was outlined again by Dr. Heinz Vetschera.



The final, fifth day was dedicated to an outlook of regional initiatives within the ESDP. The panel started with the presentation of Dr. Filip Tunji? from the Policy Planning and Research Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia. He covered the way ahead in the EU regional security policy and the view of the EU presidency. Finally, Dr. Markus Cornaro, European Commission of Europe Aid Cooperation Office, introduced the future guidelines of the EU regional strategies. The final panel and ESDC HLC Module IV were concluded by presentations of participants of Module IV. They shared their knowledge on ESDP involvement in five different regions of the world. Conclusions they reached after the evening discussions in working groups were mostly about the need for a more comprehensive approach towards global EU involvement in all the regions. At the end of the Module Brigadier General Gundars ?bols, the Commandant of the Baltic Defence College, expressed his gratitude to all the speakers, moderators and organizers of the event (click here to view the concluding remarks of Module IV presented by Commandant Ābols). Slovenian representative introduced the coming ESDC HLC Module V which will be held in Ljubljana in April 2008.



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