Event reports

Budapest European Agora

AIES is exchanging thoughts and ideas on the future of Europe

In mid July 2019, AIES Researchers Michael Zinkanell and Adam Urosevic participated in the Budapest European Agora, a gathering where 130 young Europeans had the opportunity to exchange ideas and engage with European leaders.

Highlights from the four day Agora included a panel with former President of the European Commission and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, discussing the challenges and opportunities facing the European Union, as well as a workshop with Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, Arancha Gonzalez, confronting the challenges of Europe's democratic future.

Other topics addressed within the Agora's many workshops, panels and debates included the future of data protection and energy policy in the EU, the challenges of diversity within the union, the shaping of a European public narrative, and economic inequalities within the European social model.


Youth discussions – European Climate and Security Policy

On 9 April 2019, Ponto, the Grassroots Think Tank on European and Foreign Policy, together with Vienna's International Debating Society organized a workshop for young Europeans at the Permanent Representation of the European Commission in Austria.

In the morning session the students had the opportunity to follow keynote speeches from AIES Research Fellow Sofia Maria Satanakis on European Security Policy and from Adriana Bascone and Ansgar Fellendorf on Climate Policy.

In the afternoon, the students were able to apply the newly acquired knowledge during a training session.


Meeting in Vienna

Velina Tchakarova, Dr. Werner Fasslabend, Vladimir Norov, Sherzod Asadov

In the beginning of July, Sherzod Asadov, Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan to Austria and Vladimir Norov, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) visited Dr. Werner Fasslabend at the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy in Vienna. Together they discussed possibilities for cooperation between Europe, Central Asia and China on the issues of security and connectivity.


EU-India relations and the security situation in South Asia

On 2 July 2019, the AIES organized a public discussion about 'EU-India relations and the security situation in South Asia' with Britta Petersen (Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation) at the Diplomatische Akademie Wien. Ms. Petersen spoke, among other things, about the current government and India's ambitions, the most important milestones in its relationship with Europe as well as India's attitude towards China and Russia.


The Role of EU Law: Insights from Israel, Morocco and the Russian Federation

Foto: AIES

On the 26th of June 2019, the AIES together with the Vienna School of International Studies organized a panel discussion on 'The role of EU Law in shaping external relations and projecting normative power'.

The invited experts, Patrick Müller, professor of European Studies at the Vienna School of International Studies, Charles Anthony Shamas, Senior partner and co-founder of the MATTIN Group, and AIES Senior Advisor Nikolaus Scholik allowed an interesting debate on the role of EU law as a normative power, particularly reflecting on the policy of conditionality of the EU and whether the Union's normative power could counterbalance its lack of "hard power" compared to other global actors.


Europe Goes Silk Road

Fotos: AIES

On the 3rd of June 2019, the AIES in collaboration with the University of Vienna, Department of History organized a panel discussion aiming to introduce the project «Europe goes Silk Road». More details under: https://www.europegoessilkroad.eu

As an honored guest, Bruno Maçães, former Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs, delivered an interactive speech on the Eurasian concept, the effects of China's Belt and Road initiative for Europe and the importance of multicultural awareness.


International Security Policy Summit 2019

From 30 May to 1 June 2019, the World Youth Academy in cooperation with the AIES organized this year's International Security Policy Summit in Vienna.

AIES Research Fellows Sofia Maria Satanakis and Michael Zinkanell as well as Associate Fellow Lawrence Kettle held presentations regarding the various challenges for EU integration, including the current state of CSDP, European responses to cyber security and the ongoing Brexit debate.


ETNC Network Meeting in Greece

On the 13th and 14th of May 2019, the ETNC Network members were hosted by IIER (the Institute of International Economic Relations) in Athens for their half-year meeting to discuss the upcoming 5th annual report of the network. On May 15, ETNC members met the management of the Piraeus Port Authority and had a guided tour around the facilities. AIES was invited to present its candidacy for a membership and participated in all meetings.


EU and Eastern Europe

Foto: AIES

On May 8, 2019 the AIES organized an Expert-Workshop on the Eastern Partnership titled 'The Strategic Realignment of the EU policy towards Eastern Europe. The Association Agreements with Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine.'

The invited experts, Hennadiy Maksak (Head of the Foreign Policy Council 'Ukrainian Prism'), Ukraine, Thornike Gordadze (Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences-Po); French Institute of Higher National Defence Studies), France/Georgia, and Mihai Mogildea (Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE)), Moldova, elaborated on the current developments regarding Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova and made recommendations considering the Association Agreements of the EU with the three countries.


Security related hotspots in the Middle East, North Africa and the Indo-Pacific area

AIES Associate Fellow Dr. Nikolaus Scholik, AIES Präsident Dr. Werner Fasslabend, Bgdr Dr. Walter Feichtinger und MSc Wolfgang Pusztai.

On May 20, 2019 the AIES organized a panel discussion regarding 'Security related hotspots in the Middle East, North Africa and the Indo-Pacific area' at the Diplomatische Akademie Wien.

The invited speakers, Walter Feichtinger, Wolfgang Pusztai and Nikolaus Scholik presented the most important crisis zones in the Middle East, North Africa and the Indo-Pacific area, entered into detailed discussions with the audience and thus provided a better overview of the current situation.


Challenges for Italy and Europe

Fotos: Diplomatische Akademie

On May 17th 2019, the AIES organized a public event with the former Foreign Minister of Italy and former Vice-President of the European Commission, Franco Frattini on the 'Challenges for Italy and Europe' at the Diplomatische Akademie Wien.

Mr. Frattini talked among others about the current political situation as well as the lack of strong leadership within the European Union, the development of the CSDP and Italy's evolvement since the creation of the EU. The migration problem and the rising populist forces in Europe were also mentioned.


AIES discusses the current developments in Sudan

Dr. Werner Fasslabend, AIES President, met with the Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan in Vienna, Mr Mirghani Abbaker Altayeb Bakhet, at a discussion organised together with the Austrian-Sudanese Association in April. Possible solutions to a peaceful development and positive future perspectives stood at the centre of the talks. For several years the AIES is intensively dealing with the developments in Sudan and directly participated at peace negotiations in the past.


Meeting with the Ambassador of South Sudan in Turkey

Last week Mr Majok Guandong, Ambassador of the Republic of South Sudan in Ankara, visited Dr. Werner Fasslabend at the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy in Vienna. Together they discussed the future and the current challenges for South Sudan. Additionally, a potential contribution from the AIES to the inner Sudanese peace process and the post-conflict reconstruction was elaborated.


Trends 2030 – Healthy growth for Europe. Findings from 15 years of eastward enlargement

Fotos © Alois Mock Institut

On April 25, Dr. Werner Fasslabend, AIES President, discussed the European developments of the last 15 years since the EU enlargement at a podium event organized by the Alois Mock Institute.

Werner Fasslabend stated that the EU eastward enlargement is proof that the immediate neighborhood is one of the most important factors for economic success. Even small and medium-sized companies can thrive well in nearby markets. As far as the enlargement policy towards the Western Balkans is concerned, stabilization of the Balkan countries is essential for long-term peace in the entire region. As a prospect for the future, Dr. Fasslabend would like to see more awareness for the situation in the Eastern European countries, which often have only a very short history as independent nation states and are thus faced with different political preconditions.


Populism and European Elections

Das Europäische Parlament in Straßburg. Foto: Pixabay

On 15 March 2019, a public discussion regarding populism and the forthcoming European elections took place at the European Commission Representation in Austria. EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, former vice-president of the European Parliament Ulrike Lunacek, Prof. Karin Priester from the university of Münster, Prof. Karl Aiginger from the Policy Crossover Centre: Vienna – Europe and AIES Research Fellow Sofia Maria Satanakis talked about the European Parliament and its development over the years, the rising populism in certain EU member states as well as the need for a new European strategy to secure the European peace project.


Visit to Pakistan

From March 25 to March 28, 2019 Dr. Werner Fasslabend, AIES President, visited Pakistan on a research trip where he met with several representatives from government, research institutes, and civil society initiatives.

Together with Dr. Walter Feichtinger, Head of the Institute for Peace Support and Conflict Management and Dr. Peter Haider, Head of the Universal Peace Federation Austria, Dr. Fasslabend was welcomed by local institutes – most notably the Islamabad Policy Research Institute and the Institute for Strategic Studies Islamabad. In addition to various formal and informal discussions in Islamabad, Dr. Fasslabend also visited the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir, where he gained exclusive insights on the local civilian and humanitarian situation.


North Macedonia – the Balkan Success Story

Fotos: Christian Fahrngruber

On March 11, 2019, the AIES together with the Austrian Ministry of Defence organized a panel discussion with H.E. Radmila Shekerinska, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Republic of North Macedonia, at the National Defence Academy in Vienna. H.E. Radmila Shekerinska talked among others about the Agreement with Greece, the successful solution of the name dispute and presented important changes in her country over the last two years. She also talked about the regional situation in the Balkans with all its aspects and North Macedonia's accession to NATO.


Italy’s Role for European Security and Stability

On April 1, 2019, the AIES organized a public event with the former Prime Minister of Italy, Paolo Gentiloni, on 'Italy's Role for European Security and Stability' at the Diplomatische Akademie Wien.

Mr. Gentiloni talked among others about the current political situation in Italy, the country's ties with the European Union as well as the challenges the EU is facing nowadays. The migration problem and the upcoming elections for the European Parliament were also mentioned.


European Strategy: Deficits and Election Statements

Gebäude D4 der Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien © BOAnet

On the 2nd of April 2019, the Department of Economics of the Vienna University of Economics and Business organized the Department-Café: a meeting of the department members which includes a keynote speech followed by a commentary and subsequent discussion. The idea behind this is a monthly exchange on current economic policy issues. This time, AIES Research Fellow Sofia M. Satanakis, M.E.S. and Prof. Karl Aiginger talked about the "European Strategy: Deficits and Election Statements". The main focus was on the European Parliament elections in May 2019 and how parties want to tackle the current challenges.


Round-Table Discussion with Ahmet Davutoğlu

On March 19th, 2019 the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES) held a round-table discussion with Turkey's former Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Professor Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu on the topic of future EU-Turkey relations.

After a keynote speech by Dr. Davutoğlu, the participants exchanged their viewpoints in an open discussion. In addition to representatives from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence, experts in the field of foreign and security policy as well as Austrian think tanks took part in the event. Topics such as migration, historical upheavals and their implications for the present, as well as the current political relations between the EU and Turkey, were focussed during the discussion.


Perspectives for Sustainable Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa

Together with the Universal Peace Federation and the permanent mission of Eritrea to the United Nations in Vienna, the AIES organised a conference on March 20, 2019, with the title "Perspectives for Sustainable Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa".

Dr. Werner Fasslabend, AIES President, initiated the discussion and emphasised the significance of the peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia. In addition to the AIES, various other international organisations were represented at the event, such as amongst others: the Horn of Africa Peace Initiative, Awethu Forum to promote African Unity in Diversity, United Nations Correspondents Association Vienna, Women's Federation for World Peace.


Transatlantic Partnership

© US Embassy Vienna

On March 27, the CEO of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Richard Fontaine discussed the "Transatlantic Partnership in an Era of Great Power Competition" at Amerika Haus. The discussion panel was moderated by AIES Head of Institute Velina Tchakarova and organised with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Vienna. A wide range of issues were addressed such as the Great Powers Competition, the Trump Administration, the Transatlantic Relations and the Future of the Global Order to name a few.


China's Belt and Road Initiative

Sinophone is an academic project that introduces a new approach towards rising China. The approach is grounded in the dialogue between key regions bordering China. Sinophone organized an International Conference 'Economic and Strategic Impacts of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on Central Eastern Europe, Central and Southeast Asia: Similarities and Differences' between 20 and 21 of March at the Palacky University Olomouc in Czech Republic. The main aim of this two-day conference is to compare the economic and strategic impacts of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), introduced in 2013, on three different regions: Central Eastern Europe, Central and Southeast Asia. By comparing the Chinese strategies to promote and implement the BRI in these regions, similarities and distinctions of Beijing's BRI strategy towards different world regions will be highlighted. AIES Head of Institute Velina Tchakarova and AIES Research Fellow Livia Benkova take part in the project Sinophone with written contributions and Velina Tchakarova took part in the two-days conference in Olomouc. Following the conference, a public panel on 'China's Belt and Road Initiative – Impacts on Europe and Asia' took place with the participation of AIES President Werner Fasslabend and other high-ranking officials. The launch of a new think tank CEIAS (Central European Institute of Asian Studies) was announced based on the cooperation of three institutional partners – the Department of the Asian Studies at the Palacky University in Olomouc, the Institute of Asian Studies (IAS) in Bratislava, Slovakia, and the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES) in Vienna, Austria.

Pdf Conference Report


Research trip to Vietnam

Dr. Werner Fasslabend, AIES President, and Dr. Nikolaus Scholik, AIES Senior Advisor, visited Vietnam as part of a research trip during the beginning of March 2019. The main focus of the trip was on discussing the geostrategic relevance of Vietnam as one central actor in the South China Sea.

Additionally, the trip enhanced the institutional exchange and the scientific cooperation between the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy. The common ambitions were summarised in a Memorandum of Understanding, to formally establish a framework of future collaboration.


European Political Strategy Centre: TT27 Leadership Academy

© European Commission

Michael Zinkanell, AIES Research Fellow, participated at the TT27 Leadership Academy in Brussels from 19 to 22 of February 2019. Organised by the European Political Strategy Centre, the in-house think tank of the European Commission, the diverse programme aimed to establish a dynamic and EU-wide network of young experts, researchers, and leaders.

In total 27 representatives of European think tanks took part at the Leadership Academy, to jointly identify Europe's most pressing future challenges, resulting in the development of concrete recommendations and possible options for action. In this respect, multiple background discussions and meetings with high-ranking EU decision makers took place, such as with the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Secretary General of the European Commission Martin Selmayr, EU-Commissioner Johannes Hahn, and Deputy Director General of Council of the European Union Jim Cloos amongst others. The final report including the compiled recommendations as well as further information on the Leadership Academy can be found via the following link:



Interdisciplinary Technology Talks

Velina Tchakarova, AIES Institutsleiterin

On 21./22. February 2019, the AIES in close cooperation with the Amt für Rüstung und Wehrtechnik (ARWT) hosted the annual Interdisciplinary Technology Talks where professionals from the defence and military sector presented the most recent technologies developed for ballistic missile defence. The experts discussed the different system capabilities of the United States, Russia, China and Europe.


Georgia, the European Union and NATO

On February 26, 2019, the AIES organized a public event with the Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze on 'Georgia, the European Union and NATO' at the Diplomatische Akademie Wien. Mr. Kobakhidze talked about Georgia's challenging regional environment, its domestic development as well as the relations with Russia and the country's aspirations to become a member of the EU and NATO.


The Aircraft Carrier and Global Military Domination in the 21st Century

On 14 February 2019, Dr. Nikolaus Scholik, AIES Senior Advisor, delivered a sophisticated presentation to an interested public as well as professionals from the defence and military sector on the importance of aircraft carriers in the 21st century's struggle for global military dominance at the Diplomatische Akademie Wien.

Dr. Fasslabend, AIES Director, opened the event with a brief introduction on the increasing geopolitical relevance of the Indo-Pacific region, followed by Dr. Scholik, who focused his lecture on comparing the United States' and China's maritime strategy. Analysing military capabilities and scrutinising strategic instruments used for projecting power was at the centre of the presentation, which was rounded off by an in-depth questions and answers session.


Meeting with Professor Li from Nanjing University

On the occasion of researching the structure and composition of Austrian Think Tanks, Professor Gang Li, Director of the Center of Chinese Think Tank Studies and Evolution at Nanjing University, visited the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy on 11 February 2019.

Dr. Fasslabend, Dr. Scholik, and Mr Zinkanell welcomed Professor Li at the AIES and together they engaged in a profound and constructive conversation on the Think Tank scenes in China and Austria and the role Think Tanks play in advising political processes.


22nd Eurasian Economic Summit in Istanbul

On 6 and 7 February 2019, the 22nd Eurasian Economic Summit, featuring high ranking officials from nearly 40 countries as well as representatives from various international organisations, took place in Istanbul. AIES President Dr. Werner Fasslabend participated at the conference and held a presentation on the current situation in the Middle East.


Vienna Process 2019: Russia and the EU

Organised by the International Centre for Advanced and Comparative EU-Russia Research Vienna (ICEUR) and the International Institute for Peace (IIP), the Vienna Process took place for the eighth time on 4 and 5 February 2019. Under the theme of "Russia and the EU: Dialogue through Business and Civil Society Channels" the chances and prospects of enhancing the EU-Russia relations through constructive dialogues were discussed. AIES President Dr. Werner Fasslabend and Research Fellow Michael Zinkanell joined the conference.


3C Conference

The annual 3C conference took place once again at the Peace Castle Schlaining on the subject of "Peace, Security, and Development" on 30 and 31 January 2019. Organised by the Federal Ministry of Defence, the Federal Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, and the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution a fruitful discussion was enabled between the governmental representatives, civil society think-tanks, as well as non-governmental organisations in the field of development cooperation and peace building. Based on the 3C concept (coordination, complementarity, and coherence) topics such as the results of Austria's EU Council Presidency, the implementation of SDG 16, the relations between the EU and African countries, and projects in the area of peace and security were discussed in a whole-of-nation approach. The AIES was represented by Michael Zinkanell who attended the conference.


Reviving Europe

On the 12th of January 2019, Ponto - the Grassroots Think Tank on European and Foreign Policy – organized a workshop entitled 'Reviving Europe - young perspectives on EU-Policies'. In the context of this event the following topics were analyzed and discussed: EU foreign policy, digitalization as well as environment and climate policy. The primary aim was to draw up a catalogue of demands for each of these topics in order to make the expectations of young people visible in the European political discourse. AIES research fellow Sofia Maria Satanakis, M.E.S. took part as an expert for EU Foreign Policy.


Europe and Georgia

On January 29, 2019, the AIES met with H.E. David Dondua, the Ambassador of Georgia. AIES President Werner Fasslabend, Head of Institute Velina Tchakarova and AIES Senior Advisor Nikolaus Scholik discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest with the Georgian Ambassador, and agreed on future cooperation.


Raisina Dialogue 2019

For the fourth time, the Raisina Dialogue was organised in New Delhi by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation in January 2019. The multilateral conference is committed to addressing the challenges posed by current and emerging global geo-political trends.

The president of the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy, Dr. Werner Fasslabend, participated in the Raisina Dialogue that featured international representatives from politics, businesses, as well as the media and civil society. For more Information about the Dialogue please visit the following website, where videos of the discussions and presentations can also be found:



The Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation at the AIES

On the 15th of January 2019, a group of young scholarship holders from the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation visited the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy as part of a three-day educational trip. The president of the Institute, Mr. Werner Fasslabend and AIES Research Fellow Sofia Maria Satanakis, M.E.S. talked about 'Security Policy in Europe: Current questions on national, supranational and international level' as well as the Austrian EU-Presidency 2018.


Training Course in cooperation with the World Youth Academy

Four Cases of EU's policies towards Security and Defense, Migration, the Southern and Eastern European Neighborhood

With this course AIES offered an insight and delivers an overview over the current and forthcoming processes and structures regarding the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and examines the EU's approach towards migration as well as towards its Southern (MENA Region) as well as Eastern Neighborhood (Eastern Europe).

At the end of the training course, participants will be able to identify the main features of the CSDP in the context of the recent developments in that field. Furthermore, they will be able to describe and demonstrate knowledge on the EU's approach towards migration. The participants will also be able to distinguish between and compare two different policy approaches of the EU in regional terms – in the Southern and Eastern European neighborhood. Finally, and most importantly, the participants will be able to evaluate critically the current trends and developments in the field of European foreign and security policy on the basis of the four blocs.

This seminar is suited for all those who are interested in entry-level basis of knowledge and expertise in the field of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, Common Security and Defence Policy, the EU's approach toward migration as well as the EU's policy towards the Southern and Eastern Neighborhood. Students of political science, international relations, European affairs, (military) history, (military) sociology, cultural- and social anthropology, and all others interested in the civil-military dimension of the topics. Neither technical knowledge, nor any other prior knowledge is necessary to participate in this training course.


Unity and disunity in wider Europe

On the initiative of the Austrian French Centre, several Austrian organizations, including the AIES, organized a public discussion (on October 29) and an expert workshop on the next day under the title: "Unity and disunity in wider Europe". In the public discussion with special attention to the EU policy in relation to the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership countries we tried to look at the disunity or rather disunities inside the EU and their effect on external policy. The focus was put on the importance of the countries of the Eastern Partnership (and the Western Balkans) for the EU.


The Neutrality of Austria and Switzerland

On 19 November 2018, the Embassy of Switzerland organized a panel discussion on 'The Neutrality of Austria and Switzerland' at the Diplomatische Akademie Wien. Among the invited speakers was also AIES Research Fellow Sofia M. Satanakis. The participants spoke about the relevance of neutrality in the age of globalization, the differences between Austria and Switzerland and a possible redefinition of the concept.


Understanding the Civil-Military Dimension of Cyberattacks

The "Understanding the Civil-Military Dimension of Cyberattacks" was hosted by the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES), as a part of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union program, and took place in Vienna on 17-18 November 2018. The training was a pilot activity under the European Security and Defense College's education, training, evaluation and exercise (ETEE) platform. As such, the activity was under the official patronage of Her Excellency HR Frederica Mogherini.

Prior to the training, the participants had to complete two online modules and then be evaluated on their understanding of the studied materials in order to receive a certificate by the ESDC.

This Cyber Security Training Course analysed current and forthcoming cyber challenges and examined the preventive and consequential management measures currently being taken by the international community to minimize the impact of cyber challenges. It specifically focused on the civil-military dimension of cyber warfare.

The course was led by Shaun Riordan and Dr. Joris Van Bladel who focused on the role of diplomacy, the weaponization of knowledge, and the different national and organizational approaches in cyber space. A lot of emphasis was put on the role of this 5th domain and how it affects war, conflict and security. The future implications of Big Data collection, Machine Learning and AI were also discussed.


The EU as a leading actor for security and defence

On the 9th of November the AIES organized the 22nd European Forum at the Diplomatische Akademie Wien, together with the Political Academy as well as the Wilfried Martens Centre. The topic of this year's event was "The EU as a leading actor for security and defence".

The AIES president Dr. Werner Fasslabend opened the conference together with Ambassador Emil Brix, the Director of the Vienna School of International Studies. Following these introductory speeches, the floor was given to the former Federal Chancellor of Austria: Dr. Wolfgang Schüssel.

Dr. Schüssel reflected on the words of President Macron and Chancellor Merkel, who pointed out that the EU is facing one challenge with three heads: the US, China and Russia. In his opinion the world will experience multiple centres of power in the upcoming years, creating the need for the EU to create a credible and effective strategy. This will be necessary to ensure the core values of Europe: welfare, the pursuit of happiness, freedom and peace and stability.

General Major Johann Frank of the Ministry of Defence pointed out the security and defence policy priorities of the Austrian presidency. The importance was put on keeping the momentum of previous presidencies and to focus on the security of the European borders but also the Western Balkans. Gen. Frank elaborated on the risk of a failed security strategy and a Europe that cannot act.

After these two keynote speeches the first panel of the day started. Titled "New Dynamics for the EU Common Security and Defence Policy" Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, General Lt. Esa Pulkkinen, Director General of the European Union Military Staff as well as Geoffrey Van Orden, the Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Special Committee on Terrorism gave their speeches and answered questions.

Jorge Domecq elaborated on the European issue of spending too much on personnel and not enough on innovation. As a consequence, the defence market in the EU is forced to turn to other markets. With the EU's Global Strategy steps were taken to enhance cooperation and create mechanism of funding.

GenLt Pulkkinen pointed out that the biggest concern of EU citizens is a perceived lack of security. As a result, the EU needs to strengthen its military capabilities as a whole, but it also needs to be understood that not all problems can be solved through military means. Regions like Africa will be of concern for the EU in the future and needs respective funding in order to be stabilized.
Geoffrey Van Orden made clear that BREXIT was a decision by the British people, which will be fulfilled by the UK government. Being critical of current developments in European Defence, he pointed out that Europe is already being defended successfully by NATO. Therefore, one must ask the question, why new instruments are needed. PESCO and similar initiatives will only create duplication and division.

The next keynote speech was held by H.E. Seyed Kamal Kharazi, the head of Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations. Speaking about the EU, the US and the current sanctions of president Trump, he reflected on the changes in US policy, which sees globalization as a threat, the EU as a rival and targets the Iranian people with its new sanctions. H.E. Kharazi considers the Middle East as another challenge for the EU. When it comes to the US, he pointed out that formal meetings can only occur after the US administration has returned to the JCPOA.

The last panel discussion of the day was called "Southeastern Europe and its role for the EU stability". Radmila Shekerinska, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Republic of Macedonia, Igor Crnadak, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Jadranka Joksimovic, Minister of European Integration of the Republic of Serbia followed the invitation of the AIES to speak on the matter.

Deputy Prime Minister Radmila Shekerinska talked about the Balkans as a region of conflicts and as such it must not be underestimated, when it comes to crises there. Adding to this, progress is not a given. Since stability is the root of success, democracy and market economy should go hand in hand. The Republic of Macedonia was able to make progress in terms of media freedom and also with neighbouring countries. In international matters NATO delivered more than the EU.

The capacity of the Balkans to produce trouble was also the topic of Minister Igor Crnadak's speech. After talking about the political difficulties and divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he pointed out that more sincerity and openness is needed, when it comes to regional cooperation, but also the EU. Clear criteria for the integration process are necessary and need to be applied accordingly. A uniting factor in BiH is becoming an EU member state.

Minister Jadranka Joksimovic made clear that the EU is quite capable of generating problems when it comes to the Balkans. A failure of the CSDP is the lacking enforcement of the agreements from the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue. Since peace is crucial for the region and also the way to prosperity, Serbia needs to know it has credible and reliable partners. Serbian citizens are in favour of joining the EU and the country itself is doing better financially than some EU member states.

This year's 22nd European Forum attracted close to 200 people, with even more following online. You can watch the recordings of the conference online.


The Future of Transatlantic Relations

On October 1, 2018, AIES organised a public talk with AIES Associate Fellow Stanley Sloan on „The Future of Transatlantic Relations under the Trump Administration Implications for the EU and NATO“ at the Diplomatische Akademie Wien. Stanley Sloan talked about the US relations with the EU after Trump came to power as well as the consequences for the transatlantic relations.


Austria and the CSDP – External Border and Crisis Management in Europe’s Vicinity

On 27 June 2018, the AIES together with the Federal Ministry of Defence organized the inaugural event for the Austrian EU-Presidency entitled 'Austria and the CSDP – External border and crisis management in Europe's vicinity' in the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.

Wolfgang BAUMANN, Ivan KRASTEV, Markus TSCHANK, Sylvia HARTLEIF, Gertraud AUER BOREA D'OLMO, Caspar EINEM, Gudrun KRAMER, Wolfgang WOSOLSOBE and Werner FASSLABEND talked among others about the development and dynamic of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSDP) and its added value for Austria, the political development within the EU and the priorities of the Austrian EU-Presidency 2018.


Talking Europe: Austria's Role in Europe

On June 18, 2018, the Shabka Think Tank, in cooperation with the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy organized a three-part panel discussion "Talking Europe: Konferenz & Diskussion zur regionalen Rolle Österreichs in Europa" which took place at the Bruno Kreisky Forum in Vienna. The participants discussed the future of Austria's foreign policy with regard to Austria's EU Council Presidency and it's regional role in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Focus was laid on the topic of migration as well as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The Conference has clearly shown that Austria will have to deal with various challenges during its Council Presidency.


Iran and the EU after the new US sanctions

On June 21, 2018, AIES organised a public talk with the Deputy Minister for Finance and Economy of Iran, H.E. Mohammad Khazaee, on „Iran and the EU after the new US sanctions - Consequences and Perspectives" at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna.

Mohammad Khazaee talked about the relations with the EU after the US withdrawal from the Iran Deal as well as the possible consequences. He urged the EU to be more proactive, take an independent look on Iran despite the US sanctions and help to re-establish the trust and credibility of the international community so that Iran can meet its commitments.


Pakistan's New Role Between China and Europe

From left to right: Oberstleutnant Rai Kashif Amin, military secretary to President Sardar Masood Khan, Dr. Werner Fasslabend, Former Minister of Defence, President of the AIES, S.E. Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Kashmir, Brigadier Dr. Walter Feichtinger, Ambassador Dr. Herbert Traxl.

On May 30, AIES organized a round table with H.E. Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Kashmir on "Pakistan's New Role Between China and Europe. Opportunities and Challenges of China's Silk Road Projects" at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna.

In combination with the public event Pakistan's New Role Between China and Europe the day before, a number of researchers and military officials were given the opportunity to discuss certain matters with his excellency Sardar Masood Khan. The topics ranged from Pakistan's neighbourhood in South Asia to the changing international Security Landscape. The guest speaker talked about the current developments and challenges regarding China's Belt and Road Initiative as well as the implications for Europe.


The Europe-China relationship

On May 28, AIES organized together with the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) an international Expert-Workshop on "The new developments of the Europe-China relationship and tripartite cooperation in 16+1 Cooperation" in Vienna.

Dr. Werner FASSLABEND, Former Minister of Defence, President of the AIES, Dr. YANG Jian, Vice President, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) und Prof. XU Mingqi, President of Shanghai Institute of European Studies (SIES) talked about the recent developments in the bilateral relations between the EU and China as well as between China and the European countries that are part of the 16+1 Initiative. The participants also discussed the Austrian and the Western Balkans perspective, whereas experts from Austria and the region elaborated on the prospects and challenges in the bilateral relations.


Russia 'not trying to split EU', says Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking ahead of a visit to Austria, has said he does not want to divide the European Union. Statement by AIES Head of Institute Velina Tchakarova.

Watch the video here, statement starts at 1:00 min.


Prospects for European security autonomy

On 17 May 2018, the AIES together with the University Center for Peace Research organized an international symposium entitled 'Prospects for European security autonomy' in Vienna.

Prof. Gary Bittner, Bgdr Dr. Walter Feichtinger, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Vienna, Nerys Jones and AIES president Dr. Werner Fasslabend talked about Donald Trump's relations with Europe and Russia, the development of European Defense Policy and the expectations from the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) as well as the implications from Brexit.


Towards A New EU Defense Identity

Yordan Bozhilov (Sofia Security Forum), Anu Anguelov (former Minister of Defense, Bulgaria), Werner Fasslabend (former Minister of Defense, Austria, AIES), Ursula Von der Leyen (Minister of Defense of Germany), Lt General Esa Pulkkinen (EUMS), Thorsten Geissler (KAS). Photos: Sofia Security Forum.

On 4 May 2018, the AIES in close cooperation with the Sofia Security Forum, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies organized an international conference entitled 'Towards A New EU Defense Identity' in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The distinguished guests included the Minister of Defense of Germany, Ursula VON DER LEYEN, former Minister of Defense of Bulgaria, Anu ANGUELOV, the Director General of the EU Military Staff (EUMS), Lt. General Esa PULKKINEN, Ambassador Philip REEKER from the U.S. State Department, Deputy Chief of Defense in Bulgaria, Vice Admiral Emil EFTIMOV, the Minister of Defence of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Radmila SHEKERINSKA, Daniel FIOTT from the EU Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), Sven BISCOP from the Egmont - Royal Institute for International Relations, Alessandro MARRONE from the Instituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Dick ZANDEE from Clingendael – the Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Professor Jolyon HOWORTH and the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, H.E. Rose GOTTEMOELLER.

Alessandro Marrone (IAI), H.E. Atanas Zapryanov (deputy Minister of Defense, Bulgaria), Dick Zandee (Clingendael), Sven Biscop (Egmont), Joris Van Bladel (AIES)

Botschafter Philip Reeker (US State Department), Vizeadmiral Emil Eftomov (deputy Chief of Defense, Bulgaria), Radmila Shekerinska (Minister of Defense, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Prof. Jolyon Howorth, Daniel Fiott (EUISS), Sofia Maria Satanakis (AIES)

During the conference many topics and issues were discussed, including the current state of European Defense, the expectations from the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the EU-NATO relationship and Europe's path towards 'strategic autonomy' as well as the future of the Western Balkan countries and their relationship with the European Union.