The conference was opened by the chairman of the European Security Round Table (ESRT) Christoph Raab and the conference president Michael Gahler MEP, who has a long standing experience as European Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) expert for the EPP group in the European Parliament. Gahler was responsible for the EP’s report on the European defence technological and industrial base and has favored during his speech to launch a preparatory action on defence research.
The different speakers and panels approached European security challenges from different angles, going from cyber-crime, illegal migration, terrorist threats to military conflicts e.g. in Northern Africa, the Middle East and above all Ukraine. Concerning the latter, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin summed up the current situation in his opening keynote.
Further high ranking speakers and panelists were the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, former Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier and the head of the European Defence Agency Claude France Arnould. Europe’s strategic priorities were discussed against the background of a newly elected European Commission and the EU’s High Representative Federica Mogherini, as well as the European Defence Council in December 2013 and budgetary constraints throughout the crisis that push member states to deeper integration in armament and cooperation.
It was the first time that the conference took place in this format. Due to the success of the event, a new edition is already scheduled for October 2015.
CESI and its Defence Trade Council have been member of the ESRT since 2014 and advocate the promotion of human rights of armed forces.