Challenges to European security: Parliamentary perspectives and responses

BGIPU and Wilton Park jointly hosted an international seminar on challenges to European security from 15 to 17 February 2016, bringing together approximately 50 UK and international parliamentarians, government officials, NGO representatives, and academic experts. The three-day residential seminar in West Sussex included plenary discussions, smaller workshop-style debates, expert presentations and networking opportunities.

Parliamentarians participated from a wide range of European countries, engaging both with each other and the subject matter experts around the conference table. Discussion focussed on those challenges facing European security; increasing migration, a Russia seeking to degrade European cohesion, and the continued need for robust parliamentary democracy.

In working groups and concluding sessions parliamentarians were able to put forward actionable proposals that they can take back to their capitals for implementation.

Key questions raised at the conference included:

  • How do parliamentarians help build national resilience to increasing and uncertain security threats, in particular regarding hybrid conflict in new and emerging conflicts which don’t fit into outmoded security paradigms?
  • What role can parliamentarians play in countering hybrid threats, and providing compelling alternatives to Russian propaganda?
  • How can parliaments address the shortcomings in the ability of western governments to address a method of conflict that will not just blend conventional and irregular capabilities and tactics, but also incorporate political, economic, information, humanitarian and other non-military instruments?
  • How can the complex dynamics of nationalist movements, minority rights and shifts in the socio-economic fundamentals be unpacked and understood? How do these trends play elsewhere in Europe and with its near neighbours?
  • What is the balance to be struck between internal and external threats to national resilience? Are they mutually exclusive or does building national resilience spill over to collective resilience?
  • What is the role for parliamentarians in the future of European security policy, institutions and mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation?

See here for the Conference Programme

See here for the Conference Report

For more information see the Wilton Park website.

BGIPU