Can Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBMs) Help Manage European Crises?

Military security in Central Europe is strongly influenced by the geopolitics of great power relations. However, even in a time of heightened tension and minimal trust, it is not too early to start thinking about how local actors can increase their agency and devise ways to coexist in the space they need. share forever. The decisions taken by the governments of Belarus, Poland and Ukraine, the collective decisions of NATO, Belarus and Russia will increase the number of armed forces in Central Europe, regardless of the outcome of the war in Ukraine.

After 2000, Belarus, Poland and Ukraine signed bilateral agreements to increase the transparency of military exercises and created consultation procedures to answer any questions arising from military activities. While recent events suggest that these measures are limited in the extent to which they can protect particularly exposed states from the consequences of a problem they did not create, before abandoning local measures, it would be useful to reflect seriously about how they could be strengthened.

This article by Dr Ian Anthony examines the strengths and weaknesses of smaller-scale discussion formats between local actors in Europe and offers ideas on how to strengthen these formats.

Even in a time of heightened tension and minimal trust, it is not too early to start thinking about how local actors can increase their agency and devise ways to coexist in the space they must share at perpetuity.

To strengthen smaller-scale discussion formats, this paper offers some key ideas: a) make military-to-military contacts more frequent and link military-to-military consultation to parallel meetings between national security advisers, b) within the framework of existing bilateral relations agreements, consider further lowering notification thresholds, expanding the geographic scope of coverage and bringing in other types of security forces, c) exploring a tailored agreement on the prevention of activities dangerous military personnel, and (d) reinstate meetings of National Security Advisors and expand meetings.

Read the guidance note

The opinions expressed above represent the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Leadership Network or any of its members. The aim of the ELN is to encourage debates that will help develop Europe’s ability to meet the pressing challenges of our time in foreign policy, defense and security.

Image: Flickr, manhhai

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