In recent years, European armed forces have had to reconsider their engagement priorities, placing more emphasis on tasks in support of other ministries on their national territories in order to contribute to the security of populations: terrorism, effects of climate change, migration, pandemics. The health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic provides an illustration of this evolution and reveals how public authorities can resort to armed forces in order to resist great dangers falling outside the sheer military scope. In Europe, the health crisis shows us that, depending on the country, the deployment of military means takes more or less time and is organised in a different manner. The current context, marked by new threats surging in the short term, encourages us to rethink our armed forces’ main missions and the scope of Defence.

Are the resources of the defence ecosystem of European countries designed to respond to a health crisis? Should public health assignments become a new strategic priority for European armed forces? What were the strengths but also the weaknesses of the Medical Component of the Belgian Defence in the fight against the COVID 19 pandemic? What should the future of military health services look like in order to cope with epidemics in Europe, but also beyond its borders?

In order to provide an answer to these questions, we are pleased to welcome Dr Jean-Baptiste WATELET, medical reserve major of the Medical Component of the Belgian Defence and head of clinic at Ghent University Hospital, as well as Dr Édouard JOLLY, researcher at the French Institute for Strategic Research at the Military School (IRSEM), who will present us their analysis of the mobilisation of armed forces in Europe in the fight against this pandemic.

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Research lines: Belgium ; Europe

© BE Defence

Evening conference

The fight against pandemics:
a new strategic priority for European armies?

Doctor Jean-Baptiste WATELET
Doctor Édouard JOLLY

Moderator : Estelle HOORICKX

Languages: Dutch and French
Simultaneous Interpretation in English, French and Dutch

16 December 2021, 17:00 – 18:30
In the conference room at campus Renaissance
> 16:30 – Registration
> 17:00 – Conference
Online through the platform Skype
> > From 16:00 – Registration –
connection to online conference
> 17:00 – Conference

Conference videos:
> Doctor Édouard JOLLY
> Doctor Jean-Baptiste WATELET

Campus Renaissance
Rue Hobbema, 8
1000 Brussels

Participants in the conference room at campus Renaissance must be able to present
a Covid Safe Ticket and a face mask.