Helsinki, 14 July 2017 – Today, Secretary of State of the Republic of Estonia Heiki Loot together with the representatives of Norway and Spain signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats in Helsinki. With that, Estonia became a founding member of the Centre of Excellence.
“The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats helps strengthen security in Estonia and the whole of Europe. Estonia is ready to actively contribute its knowledge and experience to the work of the Centre and to developing the capability for countering hybrid threats. I hope the Centre will further strengthen the cooperation between NATO and the EU in this sector,” Secretary of State Loot said.
The main activity of the Centre of Excellence, which will start its work in the second half of 2017, is developing strategic level dialogue and consultation between its member states, the European Union and NATO. The Centre will conduct research into hybrid threats and the methods to counter such threats, and also exercises to improve both the individual capabilities of its member states and interoperability for countering hybrid threats. The Centre is guided by a Steering Board composed of the representatives of member states.
Estonia was actively involved in the establishment of the Centre. The countries that participated in the discussions leading to the forming of the Centre of Excellence can join it at the moment it suits them, and they will be considered founding members.
Besides Finland, the members of the Centre of Excellence also include Sweden, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, France, Germany, the United States, Spain and Norway. Austria, the Netherlands, Italy and Denmark participated in the consultations for preparing the establishment of the Centre, but have not joined it yet.
Activities for countering hybrid threats are a part of the broad-based national defence that is coordinated by the Government Office in Estonia.