Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Meleşcanu together with European Commissioner for Security Union Julian King spoke in the opening of the conference on “Facing hybrid threats through consolidated resilience and enhanced strategic communication”. The event, co-hosted in Bucharest by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the EU Institute for Security Studies under the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, is held between February 28 and March 1, 2019.
The main topics of debate focused on the response to hybrid threats, on fostering societal resilience and on enhancing strategic communication, all of them fundamental topics included both in the priority agenda of the European Union and in the Romanian mandate of the rotating Council Presidency.
In his opening speech, the Minister for Foreign Affairs emphasised that hybrid threats were challenging the fundamentals of the democratic system, its values and its intrinsic principles.
“Three years after the launch of the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, to which we made an active contribution, we believe that further emphasis should be placed on the interdependencies among the priorities enclosed therein. The fine lines between hybrid threats, cyberthreats, manipulation and disinformation actions are blurring and we should not invest our efforts in merely tracing them. We must systematically address their interaction, because it gives us a complex vision of the actual threats and it is such actions that should guide our timely response”, Teodor Meleşcanu pointed out.
Minister Meleşcanu emphasised the necessity of a consistent and coordinated response.
With regard to the EU-NATO collaboration, the Minister of Foreign Affairs referred to the necessity of an even closer cooperation between the two organisations.
Minister Teodor Meleșcanu pointed out that a response aimed at countering hybrid threats required the Member States, the European institutions and the society at large to act collectively in the areas of resilience and strategic communication.
In reference to the topic of disinformation, Minister Teodor Meleşcanu underlined that countering that phenomena required decisive actions from the governments, while safeguarding the freedom of expression. The high Romanian official pointed to the need of engaging the citizens and international partners in a continued and constructive dialogue and emphasised the importance of strategic communication and of media literacy.
In his turn, European Commissioner for Security Union Julian Kings referred to the efforts made within the EU to counter hybrid threats, disinformation and cyberattacks. The high European official underlined the necessity of securing the critical digital infrastructure.
The conference enjoyed the participation of experts as well as of high officials representing the Member States and the European Institutions.
The event aims at bringing together professionals throughout the EU, Romania included, and at fostering cooperation, experience and best practice sharing in the covered areas.
The importance for the EU of the covered topics is proven by the significant number of participants in the conference, which is one step forward towards a deeper cooperation for an adequate collective response to hybrid threats.
The conference on “Facing hybrid threats through consolidated resilience and enhanced strategic communication” is representative for Romania’s determination to decisively engage in countering disinformation and hybrid threats at European level and it is equally a successful outcome of the efforts made by Romania’s office as rotating Council Presidency.