The Role of Strategic Communications in Enhancing Resilience and Stability in the EU’s South-Eastern Neighbourhood

January 23rd 2019 - 16:34

The strengthening of the stability of the South-East Europe/Western Balkans (SEE/WB) constituted a specific thematic priority of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which ran from July until December 2018.

In this context, experts from EU Member States, the European External Action Service, and SEE/WB convened in Vienna at the occasion of the EU StratCom Seminar, hosted by the Austrian Ministry of Defence in cooperation with The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) in July 2018. The delegates participated in a StratCom Capability Game in which they conducted an in-depth analysis of existing StratCom capabilities at the EU, Member State and SEE/WB State level; identified which capabilities required (further) strengthening; and devised a set of concrete recommendations for both the participants and their constituencies, as well as the broader communities with regard to the development and implementation of a stronger set of StratCom capabilities.

This HCSS Security Paper describes the results of the StratCom Capability Game. It shows that the EU as a whole, its Member States and the SEE/WB partners already possess a large number of StratCom capabilities that help enhance the EU’s profile and the profile of its Member States and partners, expose disinformation, and increase media literacy of populations and policymakers across Europe. The strongest need to strengthen existing capabilities was identified at the Member State level, while the strongest need to develop new capabilities was identified at the SEE/WB level. A number of capabilities were prioritised, most prevalent amongst them were those aimed at promoting SEE/WB within the EU, both at the EU and at the Member State level.

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Michel Rademaker is the deputy Director of HCSS. He has fifteen years of hands-on experience as an officer in The Royal Netherlands Army, where he held various military operational and staff posts and also served a term in former Yugoslavia. He has a masters degree obtained at the University of Tilburg. After leaving the armed forces, Mr. Rademaker went on to work at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) as a project and program manager and senior policy advisor on security topics for ten years. Eg. as NATO RTO project leader, he and his team developed serious gaming assessment methods and conducted several assessments of security technologies, and worked on numerous strategic security topics.
Dr. Tim Sweijs is the Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. He is the initiator, creator and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for horizon scanning, early warning, conflict analysis, national security risk assessment, and strategy and capability development. Tim has lectured at universities and military academies around the world. His main research interest concerns the changing character of contemporary conflict. Tim is a Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Defence Academy and an Affiliate at the Center for International Strategy, Technology and Policy in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology.