“After the latest Paris attacks, terrorism must become the priority of a common security agenda in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East”. With this call, the President of the Atlantic Treaty Association, Prof. Fabrizio W. Luciolli, introduced the International Conference Cooperative Security and Interconnected Threats, organized in Brussels, at Palais d’Egmont, on November 19.  

The event took place on the occasion of the 61st ATA General Assembly “to promote common solutions to the common challenges and threats to the security of NATO countries and partners”, as stated by President Luciolli.

The Conference was opened on November 18 by a Keynote Speech of NATO Deputy Secretary General H.E. Amb. Alexander Vershbow addressing NATO towards the Warsaw Summit.

High Government and NATO authorities, personalities from the political, diplomatic, military, academic, and economic fields, along with the 300 Delegates of the 37 ATA national Atlantic Councils participated in the proceedings, which were also attended by officials of international organizations, experts, researchers, and professionals, representatives of the civil society and the private sector, journalists and media operators.

The Conference aimed to

– Promote a scientific debate on the security threats interconnecting the Euro-Atlantic and Mediterranean-Gulf regions;

– Raise awareness on the indivisibility of security in the area;

– Enhance cooperation between decision-makers, officials, and experts from Europe and the Middle East;

– Endorse the implementation of cooperative security strategies between allies, partners and international organizations;

– Pave the way to future projects and initiatives on the security of the Euro-Atlantic and Mediterranean-Gulf regions.

The event was carried out by ATA and the Italian Atlantic Committee in cooperation with Abhath – Al Thuraya Consultancy and Researches and the Mediterranean-Gulf Forum, with the support of the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, the US Mission to NATO and United Technologies Corp. Special thanks go to the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Atlantic Council of Belgium.


November 19    Opening Session

Today the security threats are more interconnected than ever. From the East to the Mediterranean and Gulf area, terrorism, hybrid warfare, mass migrations and other non-military instability factors are making our security “indivisible”. Therefore, enhanced “cooperative security” strategies and a proactive and coordinated engagement are necessary to implement timely and effective counter-measures and bring about “common solutions to the common challenges” undermining peace, stability, and socio-economic development.        

09.00      Opening Address

              Prof. Fabrizio W. LUCIOLLI
              President, Atlantic Treaty Association


              Mr. Ted WHITESIDE
              Acting Assistant Secretary General, PDD, NATO

              Maj. Gen. Joseph GUASTELLA
              Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Intelligence, SHAPE

              H.E. Minister Mustafa Bakir FALAH
              Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Kurdistan Regional Government – Iraq


10.00        Break


First Session
Terrorism is the priority of a common security agenda in the Euro-Atlantic and the Mediterranean-Gulf area. The tragic attacks in Paris proved that the terrorist threat in Europe remains high and very difficult to eradicate. The migrant emergency carries with it the danger of extremist militants penetrating into the European territory, compounding the thorny issue of the “foreign fighters”. At the same time, the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq is at a critical juncture, although ISIS has also spread across the broader region, particularly in Libya. The session will assess the level of the terrorist threat in the Euro-Atlantic and Mediterranean-Gulf area. The ISIS hybrid techniques and the related counter-measures will also be examined, indicating the way forward to step up cooperation and partnership relations in the fight against terrorism.

10.30       Chairman and Introduction

               Mr. Brooks TIGNER
Chief Policy Analyst, Security Europe


               Mr. Peter SPOOR
               Advisor to the European Union Counter-Terrorism Coordinator

               H.E. Ely Ould Mohamed VALL
               Former President, Islamic Republic of Mauritania

               H.E. Mohammed DAHLAN
               Former Minister and National Security Advisor, Palestinian National Authority

               Mr. David HOBBS
               Secretary General, NATO Parliamentary Assembly

11.20       Q/A

11.40       End of the First Session


11.45       Remarks

               H.E. François DE KERCHOVE D’EXAERDE
               Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council, Belgium
               NATO TODAY

Second Session
During the Wales Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government restated the centrality of collective defense and the relevance of the cooperative approach to security. In this framework, the security of the member countries more affected by the fallouts of the crisis in Ukraine has been strengthened, including with the set-up of the NRF “Spearhead Force” and an effective ballistic missile defense system. New programs for partner countries have also been launched, such as the Defense Capacity Building Initiative. The exercise Trident Juncture, in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, reflects NATO’s determination to successfully face the current security challenges and threats. However, the commitment of the European NATO members to meet the 2% threshold of their GDP for defense spending, even in a time of financial constraints and growing technology costs, is essential to guarantee the interoperability in crisis management operations both among allies and with partners. Looking to the next Warsaw Summit, the session will focus on the current multinational programs aimed at maximizing synergies and developing defense capabilities and capacities facing terrorism and hybrid warfare. The strategic areas where a bolstered industrial cooperation is a major requirement will also be identified.

12.00        Chairman and Introduction

                Prof. Julian LINDLEY-FRENCH
                Senior Fellow, Institute of Statecraft


                Mr. Robert BELL
                Senior Civilian Representative of the Secretary of Defense in Europe & Defense Advisor,
                US Mission to NATO

                Sen. Gen. Awani AL ADWAN
                Former Chairman of the Joint Task Force, Operation ‘Eager Lion’, Armed Forces of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

                Mr. Rudy PRIEM
                Senior Government Relations Manager for Security & Defense, United Technologies Corp.

                Mr. Martin HILL
                Chairman of the NATO Industrial Advisory Group

12.40        Q/A

13.00        End of the Second Session

14.45        Remarks

                Mr. Thomas EYMOND-LARITAZ
                Senior Director, Head of APCO Global Solutions



Third Session
The unceasing state of turmoil in the Mediterranean and the Middle East is also dependent on root causes of non-military nature. In particular, the nexus between food, water, energy, and climate is emerging as a major strategic challenge with a significant impact at a socio-economic, political, and security level. The rise in energy consumption and environmental degradation, along with the population growth, will increasingly affect the availability of resources in the upcoming future, exacerbating instability and conflicts, mass migrations and humanitarian emergencies. The session will address the long-term trends related to the food-water-energy-climate nexus. The relevant cooperation programs promoted in the Mediterranean and the Middle East by regional actors and international organizations, particularly by NATO, will be examined, along with the most innovative solutions to prevent new food and water crises.

15.00       Chairman and Introduction

                Mr. Theodossis GEORGIOU
                President, Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation


                Mr. Nicola DE SANTIS
                Head, Middle East and North Africa Countries Section, PASP, NATO

                Dr. Ebtesam AL KETBI
                President, Emirates Policy Center

                H.E. Fouad MAKHZOUMI
                Executive Chairman, Future Pipe Industries

                Mr. Julius GRUBLIAUSKAS
                Deputy Head of  Energy Section, Emerging Security Challenges Division, NATO

15.50        Q/A

16.10        End of the Third Session

16.15        Concluding Remarks

                Prof. Fabrizio W. LUCIOLLI
                President, Atlantic Treaty Association