Defence & Statecraft Forum

Thursday 06 October 2022, 15:00 to 18:30


Russia’s war on Ukraine has raised fundamental questions about European security. Although European countries have shown a high degree of solidarity with Ukraine, and intensified their defence cooperation through the European Union and NATO, how Europe will manage the threat from Russia over the longer-term is a critical question. On the one hand, Europe has supplied arms and technical support to Ukraine, it has collectively imposed historically hard sanctions on the Kremlin and bolstered its own defences in central and eastern Europe. On the other hand, the war has contributed to a precarious economic context where the challenge of energy and resource security tests Europe’s resolve.

The return of war in Europe should, however, be seen in the wider context of strategic competition. Indeed, both NATO and the EU recognise that Europe must rapidly and comprehensively adapt to a world where American power is being called into question by China. Sino-American competition increasingly touches most aspects of geopolitics and geoeconomics: in addition to military power, supply chains, digital technologies, global transport networks and outer space are the hallmarks of this looming era of competition. How Europe adapts to such a world is of vital importance to maintaining European security.

In this first “Defence and Statecraft Forum” by the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy, the aim is to delve into the main challenges and themes currently facing European security. With the presence of leading experts and personalities, this online meeting will seek to answer the following questions:

  1. Is Europe a more credible military power today following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?
  2. How will an era of strategic competition affect the nature and extend of the transatlantic partnership?
  3. Does Europe need to fundamentally rethink how it engages with geopolitics and geoeconomics?


The conference will take place online, please click here to register.




15:00 – 15:10    Welcome remarks by Prof. Luis Simón, Director, CSDS, Brussels School of Governance, VUB

15:10 – 15:30    Welcome address – In defence of Europe by Prof. Karel De Gucht, President, Brussels School of Governance, VUB

15:30 – 16:45    Panel I – Europe and war: a new paradigm for an old continent?


Daniel Fiott, Head, Defence and Statecraft Programme, CSDS, Brussels School of Governance, VUB


Max Bergmann, Director, Europe Program and Stuart Center, CSIS

Rachel Ellehuus, Defence Advisor, US Mission to NATO

Justyna Gotkowska, Programme Coordinator, Regional Security, OSW

Alexander Mattelaer, Vice-Dean for Research, Brussels School of Governance, VUB

Daniela Schwarzer, Executive Director, Europe and Eurasia, Open Society Foundation

16:45 – 17:00    Break

17:00 – 18:15   Panel II - Strategic competition: statecraft for a multipolar age?


Daniel Fiott, Head, Defence and Statecraft Programme, CSDS, Brussels School of Governance, VUB


Benedetta Berti, Head, Policy Planning, Office of the Secretary-General, NATO

Hervé Delphin, Head, Policy Planning and Strategic Foresight, EEAS

Tim Rühling, Research Fellow, Technology and Global Affairs, DGAP

18:15 – 18:30    Closing remarks - Europe, defence and statecraft by Prof. Luis Simón