Whereas, until recently, the war in former Yugoslavia went down in history as the most risky conflict on European soil since the Second World War, the Russian invasion of Ukraine – which took Europe and the world by surprise on 24 February 2022 – is on its way to become a new watershed with significant ramifications for European security and the world order.

After the Cold War, collective defence gradually faded into the background and the centre of gravity of Western defence shifted to collective security. While in the past few decades expeditionary operations outside EU and NATO territory started to become the new normal, the current Russian invasion of Ukraine proves that the importance of collective deterrence and defence must never be underestimated and should remain a constant feature of our policy. Considering the recent geopolitical shifts, European states – including Belgium – are compelled to significantly increase their contribution to EU and NATO deterrence and defence.

This requires in-depth research on the challenges and consequences for Western capabilities. Are our capabilities still sufficiently adequate and up to date to ensure collective deterrence and defence? Which areas allow for closer collaboration and which capabilities should remain a national responsibility? To what extent can we improve collaboration with the industry and to what degree can the latter play a greater role in developing the necessary capabilities?

In order to provide an answer to these questions, we will be honoured to welcome several prominent experts: Lieutenant General Marc Thys, MSc Eng (VCHOD Belgian Defence), Brigadier General Hans Damen, retd (Royal Netherlands Army), Mr François Michel, MSc Eng (CEO John Cockerill), Prof. Dr Alexander Mattelaer (Free University of Brussels, VUB) and Mr Nicolas Gosset (RHID). Jens Franssen (VRT) will moderate the panel discussion.

Evening conference

The challenges of Western military capabilities in the light of the Ukraine crisis

Lieutenant General Marc Thys, MSc Eng
Brigadier General Hans DAMEN
Mr François MICHEL, Msc Eng
Prof. Dr Alexander MATTELAER
Mr Nicolas GOSSET

Moderator : Jens FRANSSEN (VRT)

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

21 September 2022, 17:00 – 19:00
In the conference room at campus Renaissance
> 16:30 – Registration
> 17:00 – Conference
> 19:00 – Reception
Online through the platform Zoom
> From 16:45 – Registration –
connection to online conference
> 17:00 – Conference

Campus Renaissance
Rue Hobbema, 8
1000 Brussels