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European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats established in Helsinki

Government Communications Department 11.4.2017 15.30
Press release 159/2017

The Memorandum of Understanding for establishing the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats was signed today in Helsinki. The signatory states are Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, France, Germany and the United States. Representatives of the European External Action Service and NATO were also present.

Finland has been preparing the establishment of the Centre with 15 other countries within a very tight timeframe. Additional countries will sign the Memorandum at a ceremony in July after completing their national decision-making processes. Other EU and NATO Member States may also apply for membership in the Centre. The European External Action Service and NATO Secretariat were actively involved in the preparatory activities of the Centre and will participate in its operation but will not become members of the Centre.

The Centre will engage in strategic level dialogue, research, training and consultations. It will also conduct practical training exercises aiming to improve readiness to counter hybrid threats. The purpose of the Centre is to raise awareness of hybrid threats and societies’ vulnerabilities that can be exploited in hybrid operations. The aim is also to help foster the resilience of societies.

The Centre will be based in Helsinki and will form a network of experts for the participating countries. The Centre will operate under the guidance of the Steering Board composed of representatives of Member States. The Steering Board will hold its first meeting in Helsinki on 12 April. The Board will appoint a director for the Centre at the meeting.

The annual budget of the Centre is at the initial phase around 1.5 million euros. Half of the budget is to be covered by membership fees (around 700,000 euros) and the host country will provide the other half (around 700,000 euros). As the host country, Finland will cover the costs for the premises and telecommunications and, in part, for human resources.

Photos

Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini at the event

Inquiries: Jori Arvonen, State Under-Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 320, Prime Minister's Office and Matti Saarelainen, Project Manager, tel. +358 295 160 451, Prime Minister’s Office.