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Preventing and countering hybrid threats

The EU member states and institutions continue to face multidimensional hybrid threats designed to be difficult to detect and attribute. It is important to strengthen the EU’s capabilities in countering hybrid threats and building resilience at the level of both the EU and the member states. We need to act together in a structured and coordinated way in order to tackle these challenges.

Finland’s Presidency aims to develop awareness of and resilience to hybrid threats in the EU. Finland will organise scenario-based policy discussions for ministers, working groups and experts. The scenarios will be based on fictitious threats.

Finland’s Presidency aims to

  • ensure the right kind of organisational structure in order to fulfil the policy objectives set by the European Council and further develop institutional mechanisms and tools
  • strengthen EU−NATO cooperation 
  • maintain a high level of cybersecurity in rolling out 5G technology and enhancing critical infrastructure, and promote cybersecurity knowledge and capacities.

General background: Long-term challenge for the EU’s societies and for unity

Hybrid threats combine conventional and unconventional activities and tools used in a coordinated manner by state or non-state actors to achieve specific political objectives. Hybrid activities aim to influence our policy-making, weaken our societies and undermine the unity of the EU. Methods include cyber attacks, election interference and disinformation campaigns.

Three milestones in the history of countering hybrid threats: 

  1. In April 2016, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy adopted a joint framework on countering hybrid threats and fostering the resilience of the EU. 
  2. The first EU−NATO Joint Declaration was signed in July 2016.
  3. The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, which promotes cooperation on hybrid threats, was set up in Helsinki in 2017.

Read more about hybrid threats and how to counter them

EU2019FI-backgrounder: Common action to counter hybrid threats 

European External Action Service: Europe that Protects: Countering Hybrid Threats

European Commission press release, 06/04/2016 EU strengthens response to hybrid threats 

European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats