Security in the Black Sea Region. Shared Challenges, sustainable future. Focus on Europe and its neighbourhood

The Security in the Black Sea Region. Shared Challenges, sustainable future. Focus on Europe and its neighbourhood event took place in Bucharest, Romania, during May 22-26, 2023. The course was organised in residential format by the “Mihai Viteazul” National Intelligence Academy, under the aegis of the European Security and Defence College and with the support of the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.

The event comprised a large number of international lecturers and speakers, academics, EU and NATO representatives, representatives of security and intelligence state institutions, civil society organisations etc. whose contributions received overall very good feedback from the participants.

In total, the activity was attended by 61 participants from the EU and Eastern Partnership countries, to which there were added 18 lecturers, moderators and exercise facilitators. Participants were generally entry/mid-level staff (military, diplomatic, police, intelligence and civilians) from Member States and EaP countries with some experience in security policy matters.

The course featured lectures, debates and interactive exercises on the topic of the challenges faced by the Black Sea region and the policy responses which supra-national, national and regional decision-makers can adopt in order to combat them. While lectures and panel debates were held in the morning of each day, the afternoons were dedicated to life skill sessions, where participants had a chance to learn through serious games, skills of active listening, positive communication and feedback, leadership and teamwork development skills. The life skills sessions were followed by an extensive 5 stage exercise in which participants had a chance to interact and exercise problem solving and analytical skills in rapidly changing teams and circumstances. The format provided the opportunity for young and senior leaders in EU Member States and Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries to meet, share ideas and debate on how to build secure societies in the future. The programme aimed to foster cooperation in the region, increase state and societal resilience and to contribute to the development of a common strategic culture between Member States and EaP countries.

Topics such as

  • The EU Strategic Compass – how it changes security strategy and envisioned outcome,
  • Mapping the strategic environment in which the EU is operating,
  • Main challenges ahead – from climate change to AI impact on hybrid warfare development,
  • Mapping the typology of hybrid threats to security in BSR

were addressed by academic and institutional lecturers that set the frame of debates and provided substantial evidence and food for thought to be integrated and translated into actionable points during the afternoon related exercises.

François Fischer, Director of the Permanent Secretariat, presented the ICE goals, objectives and achievements before highlighting the role of the Intelligence College in Europe in strengthening resilience and the common strategic culture in the Black Sea region. It was the second time, after a first participation to the 2019 edition, that he had the pleasure to intervene and to interact in this strategic regional conference.

Panel debates extended the perspective and offered participants multiple angles of investigation and understanding, while exercise sessions allowed them not only to work gradually with all other participants, but also create a toolkit of policy recommendations and actionable points ready to be followed at national and European level.