Defending Democracy in an Age of Sharp Power. Countering Hybrid and Technological Threats to Democracy

A new era calls for a new coalition. Democracies need to talk to each other and figure out a more joint approach to foreign interference by ‘sharp power’: authoritarian regimes seeking to undermine our democracies from within and constraining our policy choices by the weaponisation of everything. Ahead of key European elections, Defend Democracy is therefore launching the Coalition for Democratic Resilience (C4DR), bringing together governments and civil society from current and future EU and NATO countries, who are all facing challenges of sharp power – also known as ‘hybrid threats’.

This event is co-organised with the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, whose priorities include defending democracy, strengthening EU resilience and protecting its interests and values. ‘Safeguarding our citizens necessitates discussions on the future of European security, moving towards a more integrated Union approach.’ ‘The Presidency will pay particular attention to bolstering the EU’s resilience to crises and to new and hybrid challenges.’

The conference Defending Democracy in an Age of Sharp Power is taking place in collaboration with the European External Action Service and under auspices of the Belgian Presidency in Brussels on Wednesday 29 May.

Speakers (more to follow):

  • Benedetta Berti, Head of Policy Planning in the Office of the Secretary General at NATO
  • Peter Booms, Chair of the EU working party on Enhancing Resilience and Countering Hybrid Threats, Belgian EU Presidency
  • Jim Dratwa, Head of the European Group on Ethics in Science & New Technologies Office, European Commission
  • Jutta Juliane Meier, Founder & CEO, Identity Valley
  • Daniela Morari, Ambassador of Moldova to the EU
  • Paul Nemitz, Principal Adviser, European Commission
  • Adrian Niță, coordinator CoI ‘Resilience of communication systems and new technological ecosystems’, Euro-Atlantic Resilience Centre
  • Arnoldas Pranckevičius, Ambassador of Lithuania to the EU (tbc)
  • Benedikta von Seherr-Thoss, Managing Director Peace, Security & Defence, European External Action Service
  • Kim van Sparrentak, Member of European Parliament
  • Alice Stollmeyer, Founder & Executive Director, Defend Democracy
  • Meredith Whittaker, President of Signal and Chief Advisor to the AI Now Institute (tbc)
  • Jana Zikmundova, Chair of Defend Democracy and former Belgian Ambassador to Ukraine and Colombia

Draft program (check back in for updates):

  • Welcome & introduction by the Belgian Presidency and Defend Democracy
  • Opening key note by Benedikta von Seherr-Thoss, EEAS
  • Panel 1: Countering Hybrid Threats to Democracy
  • Bridging key note by Paul Nemitz, EU Commission
  • Panel 2: Countering Technological Challenges to Democracy
  • Closing key note by Benedetta Berti, NATO
  • Networking lunch

This event is supported by: