An EU’s Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats will soon open its doors in Helsinki.

The Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Timo Soni, is hailing the decision as significant in building resilience towards hybrid threats but also for boosting cooperation between the EU and NATO. “We believe that Finland has something to offer in this multinational co-operation to counter hybrid threats and to develop resilience,” Soini affirmed on Tuesday.

Founding members

Following a signing ceremony on Tuesday, Finland will lead an eight-state initiative of EU and NATO member states, that is, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, the U.K, and the USA. The total budget of the center will be €1,5 million, of which half be provided by member states and half by the host state.

Seven more states are expected to join, while the center is open to NATO and EU member states.

The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats will consolidate a series of initiatives in countering hybrid warfare, including strategic dialogue, research, training, and consultation, according to a press release from the Finnish Government. It will also focus on designing awareness raising campaigns as well as developing capacity building modules in strategic communication.

NATO Cooperation

In the first half of 2016, the EU and NATO began drafting a “playbook” for cooperation in dealing with hybrid warfare challenges, to ensure complementarity between the two organizations. The “playbook” ensures a clear allocation of tasks and establishes response protocols.

At every level, the EU’s strategy develops in parallel with NATO’s counter-hybrid strategy, as hybrid warfare focuses on security threats with a military and political dimension. According to Soini, that may include interference with elections, steering migration flows, or other forms of subversive activity that put social cohesion, openness, and democracy to the test.