Countering Hybrid Threats on Agenda of Finnish Council Presidency
Finland, which took up the Council Presidency on 1 July 2019, plans to increase awareness of hybrid threats and to reinforce the EU’s common response to them. At the informal meeting of the home affairs ministers of the EU Member States in Helsinki on 18 July 2019, the Finnish Presidency presented a fictious scenario involving hybrid threats and invited the ministers to hold a policy debate about how capacities for the mutual assistance of EU Member States can be strengthened.
Hybrid threats are methods or activities that are multidimensional, combine coercive and subversive measures, use both conventional and unconventional tools and tactics, and are coordinated by state or non-state actors. They include cyberattacks, election interference, and disinformation campaigns. Nowadays, social media platforms are often used for such manipulations.
In a background paper, the Finnish Presidency states that “rapidly evolving hybrid threats are a challenge to security in Europe. They often target wider areas than a single member state and can undermine the unity of the EU.”
In this context, Finland would like to strengthen resilience, build up awareness, foster coordination and comprehensive responses across administrative boundaries, and increase cooperation with partners (e.g., the NATO). The goal is also to integrate the various actions and cooperation mechanisms that the EU institutions and the Member States have already started in different policy fields over the last several years. Therefore, further scenario-based debates are planned during the Presidency, involving other policy fields, such as finance, defence, and external relations, besides home affairs.