In 2023, the CEDC Presidency is held by the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic holds the CEDC Presidency in 2023, at a time of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Despite the challenges posed by the launch of the Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2022, the previous Austrian Presidency successfully guided us through the past year thanks to its hard work, proactive approach and ambitious efforts.
As the presiding country, the Czech Republic will emphasize topics and issues in line with the CEDC vision approved by CEDC Ministers of Defence in December 2022. The efforts of the Czech Presidency will build on 12 years of partnership within CEDC. Overall, the Czech Republic will focus on the continuation of existing projects, identification of synergies in strategic coordination regarding EU agenda, exchange of experience at expert level in areas of common interest and, last but not least, continuous outreach to the Western Balkans region. The Czech Presidency also plans to further discuss ways how to support Ukraine.
Strengthening and deepening of practical cooperation
Practical cooperation has a long tradition within CEDC. The Czech CEDC Presidency continues in this direction, its programme include several events dedicated to deepening ties between CEDC countries and its Western Balkans partners such as logistics courses, Emergency Response Awareness Course (ERAC) organised by Austria, or STEINFELD Exercise 2023, carried out by Austria´s Military Academy.
Cooperation in the field of languages
In 2019, the first meeting of the heads of the armed forces of the CEDC countries was held to deepen cooperation in the field of training, terminology, interpretation and translation as well as testing in languages. In order to facilitate closer exchange and mutual understanding in this field, CEDC Defence Ministers therefore set up a CEDC Language Platform. Several meetings of the CEDC Language Platform will take place in 2023, some of which will be hosted by the Czech Ministry of Defence and others by Austrian Ministry of Defence. These meetings should serve to find further synergies in what is already very useful segment of CEDC cooperation.
The Western Balkans region
During the Czech Presidency, the CEDC will continue its outreach to the Western Balkans region. With the intention to put attention to some of the areas which are in common interest of the CEDC member states and their Western Balkan partners. Two topics have been identified in this regard. In order to expand cooperation in the field of countering hybrid interference, the Czech Presidency will organise a conference, which will offer various perspectives as well as an open discussions on this issue. Taking into account an importance of the EU tools in regards to the Western Balkans partners, the Czech Presidency also plans to host an expert workshop on implementation of projects under the European Peace Facility (EPF). Furthermore, the Western Balkan Defence College (WBDC) project will stay in the centre of CEDC´s attention in 2023.