From 08 to 09 of November the Defence Policy Directors of the CEDC and the Western Balkan countries met in the Chateau Rothschild in Reichenau an der Rax. The meeting was organised on behalf of Director General Arnold Kammel and the head of the defence policy directorate Brigadier General Peter Vorhofer. It was the second DPD Meeting of Austria’s CEDC Presidency.
Meetings in different formats
The CEDC + format is an established format used by the CEDC to include the countries of the Western Balkans to its events. While there are many shared topics for all of the countries, meetings took place in different formats in order to be able to discuss regional challenges and update each other on ongoing-shared projects. The Chateau Rothschild with its many rooms offered a beautiful scenery for two very productive days. In addition to the meetings, several bilateral meetings took place.
Update on joint initiatives with Austria and the Western Balkan countries
Austria’s DPD Arnold Kammel updated the DPDs of Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina about the success of the “Regional Strategic Leadership Course”, as it just wrapped up for the first time. The course is open for military and civil professionals and intends to foster international exchange and optimise cooperation. It takes place over the course of the year and invites participants to different countries. It is planned that the first module of the “RSLC” always takes place in Austria while the other two rotate in countries of the Western Balkans.
Ongoing and future projects of the CEDC
After three workshops on the working level, it was finally time to update the Defence Policy Directors on the CEDC projects. They discussed the next steps with a special focus on the CEDC initiative to establish a Western Balkans Defence College. This was followed by a fruitful discussion on the implications of current security challenges in Europe. Strengthening the Western Balkans is one of the top priorities of the CEDC. It is therefore important to continue promoting initiatives and projects in this direction in order to send positive signals to the population of the region, especially as the EU accession process takes time.
Scrutinizing regional cooperation through an outside perspective
Mr. Bence Nemeth, assistant professor at the King’s College in London, held the keynote speech on “CEDC Quo Vadis 2030” which was followed by a discussion with both the CEDC DPDs and the DPDs from the Western Balkan countries. Mr. Nemeth highlighted the key elements of a regional defence cooperation and his views on defence budgets, including consequences thereof.
The CEDC DPD Meeting officially ended in the format of the CEDC +, where representatives of the CEDC countries as well as of the Western Balkan countries shared their views on the CEDC and its initiatives.