On 30th May 2018, the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade (IFAT) hosted a conference on the key non-military threats facing Visegrad countries. The event was organized as part of Hungary’s current presidency of the Visegrad Group, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The “New Security Challenges from a V4 Perspective” research project aims to highlight the emerging threats affecting the Central Eastern European region. Young researchers from the Visegrad countries each wrote papers on one specific security challenge. The final publication of the project is expected to be launched by IFAT in summer 2018.
The conference was moderated by Ms Lúcia Hörömpöli, IFAT’s project coordinator. Each expert provided a brief overview of their topic, along with recommendations for strengthening ties between Visegrad states in that area.
The first speaker was Mr Martin Macq of the Europeum Institute in the Czech Republic. His presentation focused on military and defense cooperation in Central Eastern Europe, such as the V4 Battle Group, the role of these states in NATO or within the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO).
Ms Marta Przywała from the Kosciuszko Institute in Poland reflected on the challenges posed by cyber security. She highlighted the unique nature of the new information age, and the effects of Russia’s cyber warfare and disinformation campaigns. In addition, she assessed the differing levels of vulnerability of Visegrad countries.
The third presentation, by Ms Diána Szőke of the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade in Hungary, explored energy and climate security. She described how dependence on imports from Russia remains a fundamental concern in our region, although significant steps have been taken to ease this in recent years. Nonetheless, there is a danger that energy security concerns may trump environmental sustainability or economic competitiveness in the long run.
Finally, Mr Viktor Marsai, PhD from the National University of Public Service in Hungary spoke about the security implications of migration. His presentation showcased the various root causes of the 2015 migration crisis, the multifaceted nature of the problem, and the need for a more comprehensive approach to the issue.
The panel discussion was followed by a Q+A session. A wide range of issues was touched upon, from the role of China in the Visegrad region to the implications of technological development and innovation from a security point of view.