Event reports

Any Chance for the Iran Nuclear Deal?

On the 24th of February 2021, Dr. Werner Fasslabend invited Ambassador Ali Soltanieh, former ambassador to Iran within the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and Dr. Heinz Gärtner, Austrian think tank director and professor at the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna, to the online AIES Talk, to discuss the prospects of an Iranian nuclear deal, OSCE achievements, opportunities as well as challenges, and future aspects.

Relevant topics of the talk were the challenges and achievements in the negotiating process thus far, what can be done to bring the major actors back to the negotiations, and whether the Abraham Accord changed Tehran's position. Moreover, they looked at the impact of the Coronavirus on the likelihood of reaching a solution.


Crisis in Belarus

On march 16th 2021 AIES President Dr. Werner Fasslabend and AIES Director Velina Tchakarova, M.A., hosted Valery Kavaleuski, the Representative of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's Cabinet on international affairs, to discuss the Belarus crisis. Current developments in Belarus, with special attention to the protests, as well as possible prospects for the future were covered.


Strategic Review on Global Hotspots

On the 28th of January 2021, AIES President Dr. Werner Fasslabend discussed strategic challenges in global hotspots for 2021 with seven guest speakers. The event was opened by the Director of the Diplomatische Akademie Wien, Dr. Emil Brix. Afterwards, experts Martin Sajdik, Wolfgang Pusztai, Walter Feichtinger, Herbert Traxl, Nikolaus Scholik, Alfred Gerstl, and Ralph Thiele shared their insights on strategic trends in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East, India, China, Southeast Asia, and Space.

Among other things, the experts highlighted that in Eastern Europe, countries are still struggling with the consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Besides, in Africa and the Mediterranean, countries are facing key challenges regarding demographic development, corruption, environmental degradation, and economic collapse. Furthermore, in the Middle East, Israel is no longer the number one threat, but Iran is. Meanwhile, the Indo-Pacific, including the South China Sea, has become a crucial region when it comes to global economic and political affairs, in which China, India, the US, and Southeast Asian countries play a vital role. Finally, space is increasingly becoming a domain of competition and conflict, in which Russia and China have made rapid technological improvements in their security and defence systems, while the EU and NATO countries have to level up their innovation.


The EU's Geopolitical Role 2021

Vienna (APA) - EU Commission representative Martin Selmayr pointed out that Europe must first and foremost re-establish a good transatlantic relationship with the US under President Joe Biden in order to play a role geopolitically. Second priority, he said, must be a clear and serious relationship with China, and third ought to be a stable neighbourhood, with countries such as Britain, Turkey and Russia.

On Monday, January 25th 2021, Dr. Werner Fasslabend invited EU Commission Representative Dr. Martin Selmayr to a digital conversation. During this conversation, Dr. Selmayr not only stated that the European Union bears considerable influence due to its economic power and thus sets standards worldwide, but also that under President Biden it must reconnect with the US as a self-confident and responsible partner. For the future direction of Europe, Dr. Selmayr noted that a realpolitik approach must be chosen in order to find a "modus vivendi" even with difficult countries such as India, or Turkey.


EU-SAARC Think Tank Summit – Building Cooperation between European and South Asian Think Tanks

On January 20th, 2021, AIES President Dr. Werner Fasslabend participated in the opening plenary of the EU-SAARC Think Tank Summit. Organized jointly by the Kathmandu-based Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (AIDIA) and the Brussels-based South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), this two-day virtual conference primarily addressed the multiple challenges but also benefits in inter-regional cooperation between the EU and South Asia. Among other things, President Fasslabend especially highlighted the reciprocal value that deeper relations between Europe and South Asia had, as Europe possessed over enormous experience when it comes to political integration whereas South Asian nations were highly adept in navigating the India-China relationship, which would both be critical aspects in the establishment of a future regional order. He furthermore stressed the geopolitical significance of South Asia, as it was located at the "center of the central region" in world politics of the 21st century, which is the Indo-Pacific.


The US and Europe under President Biden

On the 9th of December 2020, Dr. Werner Fasslabend invited Johannes Pollak, Rector of the Webster University in Vienna, to talk about the US and Europe under incoming US-President Biden.

Together, they discussed the increasing polarization within the US, Biden's political priorities, as well as the potential future of the transatlantic relationship. The also touched upon likely future focus of the United States on the Indo-Pacific region, and the role of Europe as actor in the international system.


Transnistria conflict and current developments in the region

On the 2nd of December, AIES President Dr. Werner Fasslabend invited Ambassador and OSCE Special Representative, Thomas Mayr-Harting, to discuss the Conflict in Transnistria and current developments in the region.

Relevant topics of the talk were the origins of the conflict, the current situation in Transnistria, as well as potential solutions to solve the conflict. The role of the EU and Russia in this regard was discussed as well. In the end, Mr. Mayr-Harting also talked about the relevance of the EU Eastern Partnership, as well as the potential influence of China on the region and Transnistria and Moldova specifically.


Terrorism in Europa

On 18.11.2020 AIES President Dr. Werner Fasslabend, invited terrorism expert Mag. Dr. Nicolas Stockhammer to talk about terror in Europe. During the conversation, Mag. Dr. Stockhammer addressed the recent terrorist attack in the center of Vienna on 02.11.2020. He emphasized that Vienna offers an international arena due to the numerous international state-connecting organizations, which are established in the capital, and thus comes into the focus of terrorist groups. The timing of the attack was by no means random; the resources of Austrian security agencies were tied up by the Covid-19 pandemic and the priority to fight it. In addition, the attack could have the consequence that conflicts from the Middle East begin to spill over into the heartland of Europe. In order to prevent future terrorist attacks, Dr. Stockhammer sees a need for reform in the cooperation between the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and counterterrorism.


US-Election 2020 – Pre-Night Debate

On November 2, the Vienna Hub of the Young Transatlantic Initiative together with the Think-Tank Shabka and the Austrian Chapter of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA) organized a Pre-Night Debate regarding the US-Election.

AIES Research Fellow Sofia Maria Satanakis took part and spoke about the transatlantic relations under President Donald Trump and the security policy implications of the upcoming US presidential election.


Salon Shabka – European Security and Defence: A story of progressing integration and the Space Race 2.0

On October 9th, 2020, AIES Research Fellows Sofia Maria Satanakis and Christoph Schwarz were invited by the Viennese Think & Do Tank "Shabka", to share their insights about the latest developments in the Common Security and Defence Policy of the EU (CSDP) and linkages to recent trends of an increasingly militarized space domain, as elaborated in the recent AIES Fokus Paper "Space Race 2.0".

Although ample progress in the past decade has been made in the area of CSDP, the message was, further integration and coordination among EU member states is essential for the EU to become a respected and capable actor in global affairs. Regarding space, the bottom line was that while Europe needs to better protect its own space assets from hostile interference, it is of utmost importance for the EU to advocate for and establish new treaties governing the peaceful use of outer space in the 21st century.


Migration Workshop Greece 2020

Sofia Maria Satanakis, AIES Research Fellow, participated in a two-day workshop on migration in Thessaloniki.

The Multilateral Dialogue KAS office in Vienna organized for the second time an expert workshop on migration and border security on October 19 and 20. Among other things, current migration developments, third-country agreements and external border protection as well as the asylum and migration pact proposed by the EU Commission were discussed. Furthermore, the most important challenges were pointed out and potential solutions were explained.


Will Joe Biden be the next US President?

On the 13th of October 2020, Velina Tchakarova invited Stanley R. Sloan, Founding Director of the "Atlantic Community Initiative", to discuss if former Vice-President Joe Biden could become the next US president.

They acknowledged that, according to the polls, Biden was leading in all key states. The polls also suggested that Biden had a winning margin in both, the popular vote as well as the electoral college. They further discussed the likely positive impact of a Biden win on the transatlantic relationship and NATO, as well as his handling of other emerging actors, such as China.


Why can Trump still win the Elections?

On October 5th, 2020, Dr. Werner Fasslabend invited Jan Surotchak, Senior Director at the "International Republican Institute", to explore why Trump could still win the US elections.

One of the key messages of the conversation was that the political party systems that have formed across the transatlantic region and the European continent over the last 70 years are slowly breaking down. This phenomenon is characteristic of all societies. The election of Trump as president 4 years ago, reflected the dissatisfaction of the American people with the political and economic situation at that time. Jan Surotchak predicts that due to the large core electorate President Trump will be re-elected in the upcoming presidential election.


Korea-Europe Next Generation Policy Expert Network

Foto: Sunyu / Pexels

Michael Zinkanell, AIES Research Fellow, participated at a three-day online conference elaborating the EU-Korea relations. For the fourth year, the renowned Think Tank Chatham House and the Korea Foundation organised the "Korea-Europe Next Generation Policy Expert Network". Against the background of the political implications of the COVID-19 crisis and the growing rise of nationalism, the theme of the 2020 forum emphasised sustainable international cooperation.

A total of 15 European policy experts participated at the interactive workshops and discussions and seized the opportunity to discuss future means of cooperation and to deepen their knowledge on EU – East Asia relations in general and EU – South Korea relations in particular. Amongst the senior experts and lecturers was the former EU Ambassador to South Korea Michael Reiterer.


Will the USA remain the global number one? AIES Talk with Roland Freudenstein

On July 2, 2020, Dr. Werner Fasslabend invited the director of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, Roland Freudenstein, to the digital AIES Talk to discuss the future of the USA.

Relevant topics of the AIES Talk included the main characteristics of the USA as a superpower as well as the conflict with China and its further development after the presidential election in November 2020. The strengths and weaknesses of Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and their respective chances of winning the election were discussed as well. In this context, the factor of disinformation in the election campaign and the corona pandemic was also addressed.


Security after COVID-19

Sofia Maria Satanakis and Michael Zinkanell discussed the Covid-19 security implication with Lukas Wank, co-director of the Think Tank Shabka. Relevant topics of the discussion included the relationship between the European Union and NATO and its future prospects. The second central topic concerned the challenge of cybersecurity on international and national level as well as the security impacts of disinformation campaigns and fake news.


­Deceive and Disrupt: Disinformation as an Emerging Cybersecurity Challenge

AIES Research Fellow Michael Zinkanell, MA. invited Arthur Liederkerke, MA. to a digital conversation on cyber security on 07/07/2020. Mr. Liederkerke, MA. emphasized that the targeted dissemination of disinformation has become a powerful tool to significantly influence individuals as well as organizations due to increasing digitalization. The mass of information disseminated through digital networks makes it difficult to control what is published and to distinguish correct information from disinformation. Threat actors use this to their advantage and therefore increasingly employ disinformation campaigns. For this reason, combating disinformation campaigns plays a central role in digital security.

This talk was based on the AIES study:
Deceive and Disrupt: Disinformation as an Emerging Cybersecurity Challenge


Can Germany lead Europe out of the crisis?

On 25.06.2020 AIES President Dr. Werner Fasslabend invited former Federal Minister Head of the Office Multilateral Dialogue of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Vienna Dipl. Ing. Claudia Crawford to a digital conversation about Germany's role in crisis management. Dipl. Ing. Crawford emphasized that Germany, among others, plays an important role in the EU through its Council Presidency and, in order to be able to cope with the crisis, must rely on a pan-European strategy that strengthens the cohesion of the member states. In addition, the Brexit deal plays a central role in crisis management, as it will have a significant impact on future cooperation between the European Union and the United Kingdom, including in the area of security policy.


AIES Talk with Univ. Prof. Dr. Christoph Badelt

On June 18th 2020, Dr. Werner Fasslabend invited the director of the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) Univ. Prof. Dr. Christoph Badelt via video conference to the digital AIES Talk to discuss the economic crisis after Covid-19.

We are in middle of the most difficult situation since the Second World War - in a unique, new kind of crisis that has never hit us in this form before. Due to its size, coverage and cause, we cannot rely on historical facts and data, we cannot determine when we will experience an economic recovery. The measures taken by the Austrian Government, as well as by the European Union were discussed; both speakers came to the same conclusion: a single nation state cannot cope with an economic crisis of this dimension. Christoph Badelt criticised the lack of European solidarity in this respect, looked at past political decisions and explained how an economic future could look like after Covid-19.


Strategic Partnership China and Russia – AIES Talk with Dr. Walter Feichtinger

On June 10, 2020, Dr. Werner Fasslabend invited the President of the Center for Strategic Analysis (CSA) Brigadier General (retd.) Dr. Walter Feichtinger to discuss the strategic partnership between China and Russia, which plays a crucial role in the field of security policy.
The partnership between Beijing and Moscow is built upon a shared rejection of the US-led global system. On the one hand, the cooperation between the two countries has, in recent years, gained not only in intensity, but also in diversity. On the other hand, structural tensions have emerged in the Sino-Russian relationship. In particular, Russia fears that it might lose influence on Central Asia to China.


AIES Talk – German Security Policy

On May 28th, 2020, AIES President Dr. Werner Fasslabend hosted the member of the German Bundestag and former Federal Minister Christian Schmidt (CSU) for an interview to discuss European security policy from a German perspective. One of his key messages related to the need for Germany to assume a greater leadership role in Europe in terms of security policy. He also sees an increasing convergence of German and French positions in this area. Another important task is to strengthen the European pillar within NATO and to prepare NATO politically for future scenarios. Increased EU engagement would be needed above all in the Balkans and in Africa, because Europe would otherwise run the risk of leaving the field to other players.


Turkey and Europe – AIES Talk with Dr. Cengiz Günay

On 4 June 2020, Dr. Werner Fasslabend invited the Vice-Director of the Austrian Institute for International Affairs (oiip), Dr. Cengiz Günay, via video conference to the sixth digital AIES Talk to discuss Turkey and its relationship with Europe.

Relevant topics of the Talk included the relationship between Turkey and the European Union as well as the future course of the EU accession process. The changes in Turkish foreign policy, the country's domestic political orientation and the current coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the already weakened turkish economy were also discussed.


Geopolitical upheavals and Europe

On 20 May 2020, Dr. Werner Fasslabend invited the former Austrian Foreign Minister, Dr. Karin Kneissl, via video conference to the digital AIES Talk to discuss the current geopolitical upheavals.

The talk focused on the European Union and its relationship with China, the USA as well as the African continent. In addition, Karin Kneissl made it clear that Europe's relationship with China has changed and that the conflict with the USA will become even more critical. Furthermore, they discussed the role of the European Union in the Middle East and its efforts to be more active at geopolitical level. In summary, Karin Kneissl sees the European Union as a background actor on the world stage and would prefer that the EU clearly defines its common interests and act with a common language in geopolitics.


The crisis in Libya and its consequences for Europe – AIES Talk with Wolfgang Pusztai

On May 14, 2020 Dr. Werner Fasslabend invited the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the "National Council on U.S. Libya Relations" and AIES Senior Advisor, Wolfgang Pusztai, for the third digital AIES Talk to discuss the crisis in Libya and its consequences for Europe. The development of the crisis in Libya is of great importance for the security of South-Eastern Europe, particularly due to the country's geostrategic location.

AIES President Dr. Werner Fasslabend and AIES Senior Advisor Wolfgang Pusztai

At the centre of the current conflict in Libya lies the historically founded de facto division of the country into an Eastern and Western part. On the one hand there is the internationally recognised government - the Government of National Accord (GNA) - which is supported by militias and on the other hand the Libyan National Army (LNA) under the command of Khalifa Haftar. The conflict has taken on another international dimension through the support that both parties receive from different regional powers, such as Turkey and Russia. Lastly, this digital AIES talk has also touched upon the future role of the EU in Libya's stabilisation process.

Watch the YouTube video


France’s role in the European Union – AIES Talk with Dr. Hans Dieter Schweisgut

On May 7, 2020, Dr. Werner Fasslabend invited Ambassador retd. and Secretary General of the „Austro-French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe", Dr. Hans Dieter Schweisgut, via video conference for the second digital AIES Talk, to discuss the role of France in the European Union.

Relevant subjects of the AIES Talk were, among others, the proposals of President Macron for the reorganization of the European Union. According to experts, the implementation of some of Macron's ambitious visions will take up to 10 years. The current crisis requires a revision of the budget allocation and the associated shift in priorities. The Franco-German relationship is currently regaining attention and a central point is security and defense policy, since France is the major military power of the Union – a striking difference to Germany can be seen here.

Watch the YouTube video


The European Union after Covid-19 – AIES Talk with Prof. Dr. Martin Selmayr

Foto: Europäische Kommission

On the 28th of April 2020, AIES President Dr. Werner Fasslabend hosted the EU's Permanent Representative to Austria, Prof. Dr. Martin Selmayr, in a video conference for the first-ever digital AIES Talk. The topic of discussion was the current state of the European Union in the face of the coronavirus crisis, as well as future prospects for the time beyond.

The central themes were the measures taken by the EU to combat the crisis, as well as the further road map to accomplish the revival of the European economy. Above all, Selmayr praised the excellent cooperation between the EU Member States, which, despite some initial difficulties, have decided to act together in this difficult time. Important issues, such as climate protection, digitization and the advancement of the CFSP/CSDP should not be lost out of sight despite the ongoing health crisis, the former Secretary General of the EU Commission explained. The EU must also ensure stability in the European neighborhood, which is why aid, especially for the African continent, is desperately needed.

Watch the YouTube video


Coping with Coronavirus – Euro-Gulf Perspectives

On 19 March 2020, a conference was held online on "Coping with Coronavirus - Euro-Gulf Perspectives". AIES Institute Director Velina Tchakarova participated as a panelist. Despite the current situation due to the COVID-19 virus, the panelists had a stirring discussion on the global impact of the virus.

"We will probably witness the next great shock to the global system, only comparable to the global financial crisis in 2007/8, if not even worse in terms of implications."
Velina Tchakarova

Read the full report of the conference at:

Further reports on the global impact of Covid-19 and other issues can also be found on Velina Tchakarova's blog, at: medium.com/@vtchakarova/the-global-covid-19-system-crisis-d8d803fade50


The Geopolitical Impact of Nord Stream 2.0 on European Energy Security

On February 26, 2020, the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES), the Centre for Democratic Integrity (CDI) and the Vienna School of International Studies organized a panel discussion on "The Geopolitical Impact of Nord Stream 2.0 on European Energy Security".

Prof. Dr. Johannes Pollak (Director at Webster University), Dr. Andreas Umland (Senior Fellow at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation), Ana Otilia Nutu (Policy Analyst on energy and infrastructure at Expert Forum) and Dr. Anton Shekhovtsov (External Lecturer at the University of Vienna) discussed different perspectives of Nord Stream 2.0 and highlighted positive and negative aspects of the project. Several essential questions were raised about the intentions and goals of the construction of the pipeline, its impact on the economies of several states affected by the project as well as its contribution to energy security.


Drifting Apart? Why the United States needs Europe – And what can be done now

Panel discussion on the future of the transatlantic relations

On March 6, 2020, the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES) organized a panel discussion at the Vienna School of International Studies, in which the current dynamics and challenges of the transatlantic relationship were extensively discussed. Moderated by AIES Head of Institute Velina Tchakarova, the three speakers, Sascha Arnautovic (AIES Associate Fellow), Jakob Wiedekind (Research Fellow at the Leibniz University Hannover) and political advisor Andreas Schwenk shared the findings of their most recent publications on the European-American relationship.

The current crisis in the transatlantic relationship should be seen as an opportunity for Europe to increasingly emancipate itself in the field of security and defense, but without striving to be completely decoupled from the United States in the long run. Global challenges of the 21st century such as migration, climate change or the digital revolution can only be mastered in European-American lockstep.


Vision and Reality – Where is Europe headed?

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the accession of the Republic of Austria to the EU, the AIES invited former Austrian Federal Chancellor Dr. Wolfgang Schüssel to give a lecture on "Vision and Reality - Where is Europe headed?" on February 17, 2020, at the Vienna School of International Studies.

The former Chancellor gave an overview of the most pressing issues and challenges the European Union is currently facing. Among the focal points of his speech were structural questions concerning the EU, especially regarding further EU integration and enlargement policy. He also discussed the EU's emancipation efforts in the field of security and defense, which will have an impact on how the Union deals with important global actors such as China or Russia. With a view to the future, the correct handling of digitalization played a vital role in his remarks.


Geopolitics in the Middle East and Europe’s Role

On February 5, 2020, the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy invited AIES Senior Associate Fellows Robert Cutler and Michael Tanchum, as well as Mitchell Belfer, President and Director of Research at the Euro-Gulf Information Center (EGIC), to speak about geopolitics in the MENA region and Central Asia. The event was moderated by Velina Tchakarova, AIES Head of Institute. The main focus was placed on current geopolitical strategies of regional and international powers and the role European powers currently play or could play in the future. Changing geopolitical dynamics and the fact that conflicts in the MENA region are reaching the southern border of Europe make it more important than ever to draft new European policies that enable Europe to act based on its own interests.


Raisina Dialogue 2020

In January 2020, the Raisina Dialogue was organized for the fifth time by the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in New Delhi. AIES President Dr. Werner Fasslabend again took part in the conference and participated in one of the senior-level panel discussions.

Dr. Werner Fasslabend, President of the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy, attended for the third time the Raisina Dialouge in the Indian capital New Delhi. With over 2,000 high-ranking participants and guests from politics, business and civil society, the most pressing issues of our time were discussed with sophisticated competence and expertise at the largest multilateral conference in India.

At the panel discussion on "Competing Nationalisms, Universal Norms: Street Power in 21st Century Diplomacy", Dr. Werner Fasslabend shared his views on this exciting issue with the world public along with other experts such as the Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs or the Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran Seyed Kazem Sajjadpour.

"The rapid speed of globalization and digitalization, as well as a deterioration of familiar structures in our communities, is creating a global sentiment of uneasiness and a search for security." – Dr. Fasslabend

Werner Fasslabend with India's Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar


AIES 23rd European Forum

The AIES 23rd European Forum took place on November 8, 2019 at the Vienna School of International Studies and was organised together with the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies and the Political Academy of the Austrian People's Party. The event was supported by the Vienna School of International Studies, the State of Lower Austria, the Federal Ministry for Defence, the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs as well as the European Security and Defence College. The topic of the European Forum was "Europe's Role in the Face of Increasing Global Power Shifts" and the hall was fully occupied by more than 150 guests.

AIES-President Dr. Werner Fasslabend and the Director of the Vienna School of International Studies Ambassador Dr. Emil Brix pointed in their welcoming speeches towards the challenges of European security and invited the visitors to join the debate and develop new ideas about Europe's role in the international system.

The Federal Minister of Defence Thomas Starlinger provided an insistent warning about hybrid threats towards Austria and the EU, which can only be repelled comprehensively and within a system of international cooperation and coordination. Therefore, it is essential for Austria to engage more closely within the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the EU in order to ensure European prosperity and sovereignty together with EU-partners. As a result, an increase in military spending is essential and inevitable for Austria.

Karoline Edtstadler, Member of the European Parliament, condemned the rise of extremism and anti-Semitism in Europe and praised the increasing public interest in EU-politics. She demanded a return to basic European values and more reciprocal understanding between Europeans. The former speaker of the European Parliament and Chairman of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Dr. Hans-Gert Pöttering was pleased by the Austrian engagement in the CSDP and by its support for the accession of central and eastern European countries to the EU. The EU-Ambassador to Austria and former Secretary-General of the European Commission Dr. Martin Selmayr gave deep insights into the decision-making processes of the EU: over the last five years the EU has developed into a serious geopolitical actor, and Europe's main capabilities in foreign policy rely on the attractiveness of the European project and its internal coherence.

In the following panel Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, former EU Ambassador to China, Jamie Shea, Professor of Strategic Studies and former NATO Director, Jolyon Howorth, Visiting Professor Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center and Roland Freudenstein, Policy Director at Wilfried Martens Centre, discussed the EU strategy towards China and Russia as well as the future of the CSDP and NATO.


The Foreign Policy of the U.S. Administration under Donald Trump

Peter Rough, a political expert at the Hudson Institute, elaborated on November 21 on the invitation of the U.S. Embassy Vienna in front of a full audience on the Foreign Policy of the U.S. Administration under Donald Trump, with a special focus on the Middle East. AIES head Velina Tchakarova moderated the public event.


The Current State of EU-Russia Relations in Various Policy Areas

On 29 November 2019, the 3rd AIES-KFIBS Junior Conference for European and Security Policy researchers took place in Vienna. This year, the conference was held in cooperation with the office of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) in Vienna under the title 'The EU-Russia Relations in Various Policy Areas'. The speakers examined a variety of topics, including the economic relations between the EU and Russia, the security relations in the Arctic region and an overview of European expertise on Russia.

Since 2017, the AIES in cooperation with the Cologne Forum for International Relations and Security Policy (KFIBS e.V.), has been organizing annual conferences on current European policy topics, primarily aimed at young academics. This initiative has been led by AIES Research Fellow Sofia M. Satanakis.


AIES presentations during the International Security Policy Summit 2019

AIES Head of Institute Velina Tchakarova and AIES Research Fellow Michael Zinkanell held two lectures during the International Security Policy Summit 2019 in Vienna, organised by the World Youth Academy. While Velina Tchakarova presented global systems transformation, Michael Zinkanell focussed on the developments and challenges of the political EU-integration. After the presentations, the participating 25 young academics from various European countries and the United States had the opportunity to engage in an interactive debate with both AIES experts.


The AIES organised an ESDC-Training in cooperation with the AIT

Acting as a partner institute of the European Security and Defence College (ESDC), the AIES organised an ESDC-Training together with the Austrian Institute for Technology (AIT) with the title "Infrastructures in the Context of Digitalisation". AIES Research Fellow Michael Zinkanell and AIES Senior Advisor Ruth Gursch-Adam attended the three-day training course. Developing preventive and reactive measures to enhance the security of critical infrastructures against cyber-attacks was the key topic during the interactive training course.


Annual EuroDefense Network-Meeting in Bucharest

AIES President Dr. Werner Fasslabend and Research Fellow Michael Zinkanell attended the annual EuroDefense Network-Meeting, which took place in Bucharest, Romania. The AIES acts as the Austrian partner institute of the EuroDefense-Network, represented by Dr. Fasslabend and Mr. Zinkanell who hold the Board positions. The EuroDefense-Network was founded in 1994 as a pan-European initiative to promote and enhance the public discourse on the European security and defence. The current developments in the field of the Common Security and Defence Policy as well as new security challenges posed by cyber-security were discussed during this year's network-meeting. The AIES will host the upcoming annual meeting, which will take place during the second half of 2020 in Vienna.


NATO at 70: Old Dilemmas, New Security Challenges

On the 22nd of October 2019, the International Affairs and Foreign Policy Institute, INCIPE in collaboration with the Economic Forum and with the sponsorship of the Spanish Ministry of Defence organized an international conference on 'NATO at 70: Old Dilemmas, New Security Challenges' in Madrid, Spain. The AIES was represented by Sofia Maria Satanakis who talked about Europe as the backbone of NATO.


Thinkers Night: Vienna and the Silk Road – a threat or a blessing?

Fotos: Fachhochschule des BFI Wien

What impact will the mega-project New Silk Road have on the Austrian? How is China influencing the Austrian economy and logistics through its infrastructure initiative?

These and more questions were discussed with top-ranking panelists at the last big Thinkers Night of this year.

  • Keynote: Florian Krendl, Co-Founder of "Europe goes Silk Road
  • Moderation: Bernd Vasari (Wiener Zeitung)

On the podium:

  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Breinbauer, Rector of the FH of the BFI Vienna and Head of the Logistics and Transportation Management course at the FH of the BFI Vienna
  • Thomas Kargl, Member of the Board, ÖBB Rail Cargo Austria
  • Mag.a Marlies Stubits, MBA, MSc, Special Representative for International Financial Institutions, Austrian National Bank
  • Velina Tchakarova, M.A., Director of the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy


Discussion with students from Nanjing

The Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution Schaining (ASPR) recently organised an interactive discussion with Austrian experts and Chinese students from the University of Nanjing, in which Michael Zinkanell (AIES Research Fellow) participated.

During the academic exchange, the Austrian experts debated relevant topics of international politics and economy together with the students who came from the fields of political science, economics, and international relations. The strategic partnership between Austria and China as well as the Common Security and Defence Policy of the EU were at the core of the discussions.


"Rethinking Security and Defence

Fotos & Text: LVAk / Ref Medien

On October 17, a panel discussion on "Rethinking Security and Defence" took place at the National Defence Academy on the occasion of the anniversary celebration "20 Years of the Institute for Peacebuilding and Conflict Management" (IFK). Moderated by Brigadier Walter Feichtinger, the panel discussion included Brigadier Philipp Eder, Head of the Military Strategy Department, Christoph Fälbl, cabaret artist and actor, Stefanie Haring, IFK-Alumna, journalist Friedrich Orter and Velina Tchakarova, Head of the Austria Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES), who discussed current security issues and threats. The main topics were the subjective perception of security, the involvement of civil society in security-related issues, the interconnectedness of the international community, as well as the perception of wars and climate change.


AIES Fact-Finding-Mission China: Part III Shanghai

During their stay in Shanghai, the last destination of the 11-day long Fact-Finding-Mission to China, the academic exchange with universities was of main importance to Dr. Werner Fasslabend and Michael Zinkanell. During extensive discussions, with experts from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, the Fudan University, and the Shanghai Institute for European Studies amongst others, special emphasis was put on the characteristics of the EU-China relations as well as the role of China in current geopolitical developments. Additionally, the delegation visited the mouth of the Yangtze river, which flows into the East China Sea in the north of Shanghai's centre, giving the city its particular geostrategic location.


Alpbach dialogue in Vienna

As part of the Alpbach Dialogues, AIES Institute Director Velina Tchakarova and Austrian military Brigadier Walter Feichtinger discussed possible future scenarios for Europe in a multi polar world between Russia, China and the United States. The debate was moderated by the editor of "The Diplomat", Franz Stefan Gady in a hall filled to the last chair in the Vienna Konzerthaus. Feichtinger outlined the military-technical and strategic trends of this decade and Tchakarova focused on the "real political" decision-making basis and different geopolitical perspectives. Both pleaded for strengthening the lately toothless Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).


iSCAN Kick-Off Event

On October 15, 2019 the official launch of the International Security and Conflict Analysis Network (iSCAN) took place in Vienna.

AIES Research Fellow Sofia Maria Satanakis, introduced iSCAN as a new partner of the institute and Billy Batware and his team talked in depth about the origins and objectives of iSCAN.


Lecture on the Indo-Pacific Region

Dr. Nikolaus Scholik, Ullrich Tiedt, Regionalkreisvorsitzende der Clausewitz-Gesellschaft

Dr. Nikolaus Scholik, AIES Senior Advisor, presented the current geopolitical maritime developments with focus on the Asian region at the Clausewitz-Gesellschaft Hamburg.

The lecture entitled "The Indo-Pacific Region – The Hotspot of the 21st Century" encompassed the increasing geostrategic relevance of the maritime area spreading from the Indian Ocean to the Western Pacific and analysed the emerging political actors in the region. Questions concerning the leadership in the Indo-Pacific and the strategic interests of single stakeholders – all topics of great importance and actuality for global security – were scrutinised against this backdrop.


Visit to China: Part II Nanjing

Fotos © Peter Buchas

During the second research destination in China, the AIES team, consisting of Werner Fasslabend and Michael Zinkanell, led in-depth discussions in Nanjing with representatives from the University, including experts from the Institute of Global Governance. The main emphasis was laid on the current EU-China relations, in order to elaborating the complex political tensions as well as stressing the great potential for economic cooperation. As a result, the Chinese 17+1 Initiative and the Belt and Road Initiative were at the centre of the dialogues. Furthermore, the institutional background and academic expertise of the AIES were presented, focussing on the Think Tank structure, the analytical research activities, and the international network of the Institute.


ETNC Meeting in Den Haag

AIES Director Velina Tchakarova and AIES Associate Fellow Adam Urosevic participated in the European Think Tank Network on China's (ETNC) semi-annual meeting from 30.09 to 01.10 at the Clingendael Institute in The Hague, Netherlands.

The key focus of the two-day meeting were discussions on the upcoming 5th annual ETNC report. ETNC has published an annual report since 2015, reviewing the state of Europe-China relations focusing on one specific topic each year. Coinciding with the People's Republic of China's 70th anniversary, discussions ranged from Hong Kong and the social credit systems to EU member states' China strategies (or lack thereof) and national 5G debates.


Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia

AIES Associate Fellow Adam Urosevic attended the Bled Strategic Forum from the 30 August to 3 September 2019 in Ljubljana/Bled, Slovenia.

Lively discussions were held amongst participants and notable speakers primarily on the return of Geopolitics, though also on topics such as democratisation, the advancement of human rights, sustainable development, women's empowerment, counter-terrorism and addressing climate change. The "fireside chat" on governance issues in the Amazon rainforest with H.E. Ms María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, were widely considered a highlight of the Forum.

Adam Urosevic was further invited to moderate a working group that aimed at formulating policy recommendations on Cyber Security education, which were then presented to H.E. Dr. Jernej Pikalo, Slovenian Minister of Education, Science and Sport.


Balkans Summer University in North Macedonia

AIES Associate Fellow Adam Urosevic was invited by the Centre International de Formation Europeenne (CIFE) to lecture at their Balkans Summer University, held from 9 to 14 September 2019 at the University St Kliment Ohridski in North Macedonia. The programme was attended by approximately 20 students from eight different European states.

Adam Urosevic held lectures on the challenges the European Commission faces in the Western Balkans' rule of law reforms as well as on the development of regional cooperation in the region. He further provided workshops for students on writing job applications and conducted their final exams. Other lectures covered topics such as multilateral economic and environmental governance and the role of technology in the Western Balkans' insurance market.