First meeting of the CEDC Defence Policy Directors during the Czech Presidency of CEDC 2023.
On 5 and 6 April 2023, Mr Martin Riegl, Czech Defence Policy Director, welcomed his counterparts from CEDC countries in Prague. The meeting was attended by delegations from Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and Poland. The working sessions were divided into two parts. The first part was aimed at presenting the priorities and planned events of the CZ CEDC Presidency. During this session, Austrian representative provided audience with a briefing on the status of the Western Balkans Defence College (WBDC) and its way forward. The second part focused on the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the situation in the Western Balkans region, and current issues related to European Peace Facility (EPF). All participants stressed that while the war in Ukraine is currently at the epicentre of attention, other regions, including the Western Balkans, can not be neglected. To this end, CEDC offers a useful platform for identifying synergies in practical cooperation with the Western Balkans partners.
Overall, the Czech CEDC Presidency will mainly aim to build on the recent CEDC activities. Its priorities are three in total – continuous focus on the Western Balkans region, identification of common interests within the EU agenda, and strengthening of practical cooperation. The Czech Republic also welcomed Austrian contribution to this year´s CEDC programme as Austria will be co-organising or hosting several events.
As for the planned events, the Czech Republic will organise a second Defence Policy Directors meeting in extended format with Western Balkans partners in November 2023. The Ministerial Meeting will follow the same format and will take place in December 2023. The Czech Republic also plans to organise two expert meetings – a workshop on the implementation of EPF project and an expert conference on hybrid threats, both probably in autumn 2023. Other events that will take place during the CZ CEDC PRES include education and training courses as well as events organized by CEDC Language Platform.