Several NATO Allies and European Union members came together in Helsinki on Tuesday (11 April 2017), formally agreeing to establish a European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats in the Finnish capital. At a ceremony attended by Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini, officials from NATO and the European Union welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the Centre, which will open later in 2017.
In total, nine nations signed the Memorandum: Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Other NATO and EU nations are expected to join the Centre in the near future. While not signatories themselves, NATO and the EU will participate actively in the Centre’s activities.
Countering hybrid threats is a priority for NATO, as they blur the line between war and peace - combining military aggression with political, diplomatic, economic, cyber and disinformation measures. NATO’s counter-hybrid strategy includes strengthened coordination with the European Union, and also involves our new Intelligence Division, more training and exercises, and our work to actively counter propaganda with facts.
Other Centres of Excellence already contribute to NATO’s efforts to counter hybrid threats, including the Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Riga, Latvia; and the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia. Centres of Excellence are international research centres, which are nationally or multi-nationally funded and staffed. They work alongside and contribute knowledge and expertise to the Alliance, but they are not NATO bodies.