Central European Perspectives

The Center for Strategic and Defense Studies was running the ‘Central European Perspectives’ workshop series between 2013-2018. The two expert meetings organized annually in cooperation with Central European partner institutions from 15 countries offered a forum for discussing security and defense policy issues of mutual interest. At these events policy analysts, independent experts, government officials and diplomats exchanged their ideas and experience from various ‘Central European perspectives’. The series included the following events:


Transatlantic Relations after the Brussels NATO Summit

September 21, 2018

Since 2014 all NATO allies have reinforced their commitment and cooperation in terms of dedicating more resources to defense, thus providing more security to allies (and partners) – instead of consuming security and free-riding on more capable allies. The Wales Defense Pledge, the Readiness Action Plan, the Enhanced Forward Presence of NATO, the Warsaw Adaptation Initiative, the NFIUs established in 8 Eastern Flank member states – and many more steps have been taken in the past 4 years that had come to a momentum of evaluation at the July Brussels Summit. The September 2018 Central European Perspectives expert workshop aims at exchanging regional views about the balance of these years and the latest summit – has it lived up to expectations in terms of continued adaptation, further increasing readiness, resilience and responsiveness and maintaining vigorous partnerships? How do regional allies see the upcoming period in terms of challenges and suitable answers? How do they evaluate the strength of the Transatlantic bond? We hope to find comparative answers from experts across the region to these urging questions at our workshop.

Program of the workshop


Central European Military Balance, 2008-2018

March 21, 2018

10 years after that the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic recession hit Central and Eastern Europe particularly hard and running up to NATO’s next summit in Brussels in July 2018, it is time to map up and draw conclusions regarding the national efforts of Central and Eastern European countries to strengthen their militaries. The aim of the workshop is to understand what has been lost and what has been regained regarding military capabilities, readiness and interoperability? What new capabilities have been established as reactions to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine? Have we witnessed fundamental security sector reform across the region? The meeting offers an opportunity to gain summarized conclusions on these questions from Central European defense policy experts.

Program of the workshop


German elections and the Future of Europe

06 November, 2017

The aim of the workshop is to understand how the Central European member states see the future of European security and defense in the context of expected European institutional reforms. Special emphasis will be on the expected implications of the 2017 September German elections, which can fundamentally affect the European integration process. Our meeting on November 06, 2017 offers an opportunity to gain comparative views of German of foreign and security policy, as well as Central European defense policy experts.

Program of the workshop


German Answers to a Deteriorating Security Environment

09 December, 2016

The aim of the seminar is to gain a more detailed picture and thorough understanding of German foreign and security policy in the European dimension, with a special emphasis on Central Europe. As vigorous political discussions have occasionally turned into heated debates in the past couple of years regarding various security-related issues, like Germany’s possibly changing role in NATO and EU security policy, crisis management in Ukraine, our stand towards Russia, etc., our meeting on December 09, 2016 offers an opportunity to gain comparative views of German experts of foreign and security policy, as well as Central and Eastern European political and social scientists.

Program of the workshop


Understanding threats – Explaining threat perceptions

08 December, 2016

The 7th event of the Central European Perspectives workshop series focuses on the subjective perception and objective content of the threats and challenges that Central European countries face. These can be accounted for as a result of Russia’s resurgent great power stance, long-term effects of the economic crisis, the direct and indirect challenge of mass migration flows and the increased potential of terrorism. As public opinion polls suggest, Central European societies seem to perceive such threats to a significant extent, even though their exposure to them is different. Participants of the workshop are to explore the patterns and their underlying causes in a comparative manner.

Program of the workshop


From Newport to Warsaw – Measuring Central European contributions to NATO

20 May, 2016

The aim of the workshop is to review how NATO’s Wales decisions have been implemented by Central European countries, mapping up how these countries have responded to current threats and challenges, and contributed to collective defence, burden sharing and efforts of capability development within NATO.

Program of the workshop


Reactions to Europe’s Deteriorating Security Environment

22 October, 2015

Reflecting on recent unfavourable developments in the European neighbourhood and emerging crises, the aim of the workshop is to share and discuss both official national stances and experts’ opinion, specifically reflecting on the Ukraine crisis and the threat posed by the so called ‘Islamic State’ (IS). The expected outcome is mapping up those issues that trigger either converging or diverging actions on behalf of Central European countries along specific national interests. The workshop highlights the case-specific patterns of cooperation versus opting-out, comparing and contrasting the degree of alignment with international action undertaken.

Program of the workshop


Sharing Best Practices of Institutional Development for Defense Policy Think Tanks

05 February, 2015

On 01 February 2015 a new Faculty of International and European Studies had been established at the National University of Public Service, to which the Center for Strategic and Defense Studies also belongs. On this occasion CSDS invited some of its Central European trusted partners in the field of defense policy research for sharing best practices in institutional development. The purpose of the workshop was to compare respective working models with partners in order to reposition CSDS within the new faculty. Furthermore, the workshop offered an opportunity to elaborate upon our current cooperation and identify those concrete areas where the partners could cooperate within the next 1-3 years, including cooperation in joint research, publications, co-funded projects and exchange programs.

Program of the workshop


Regional Multilateral Defense Co-operation in Europe

17 September, 2014

The past couple of years have seen a proliferation of newly formed regional multinational co-operations in Europe, as well as the resurgence of traditional frameworks for cooperation. Hungary is also actively involved and engaged in such entities, including the Visegrad Battle Group to be created by the Visegrad countries, the Central European Defence Initiative (CEDI), a multinational coordination forum of 5 Central European countries, and the Defence Co-operation Initiative (DECI), a regional co-operation framework promoted by Italy among countries of Central Europe and the Western Balkans. Elaborated research on regional multinational co-operations in Europe, aimed at uncovering the drivers and dynamics of cooperation, is therefore also a relatively new field of study. In order to learn best practices and lessons identified in this field, CSDS hosts young experts from France, Belgium and the United Kingdom, accompanied by Hungarian experts who share the Central European regional specificities of defense co-operation.

Program of the workshop


Exchanging Views on Security Perception and Possibilities of Enhancing Co-operation in Central Europe

28 February, 2014

The shared desire of Central European countries for democratization and modernization have been embodied in Euro-Atlantic integration throughout the past two and a half decades. The period of peace, stability and prosperity these peoples have never enjoyed before was successfully achieved by means of deepening cooperation. However, the financial crisis that has hit some countries in the region particularly hard, intensified societal tensions and strengthened the desire to pursue diverging short term interests, giving rise to nationalist, populist and extremist tendencies. Recalling the lessons learnt from regional cooperation as opposed to confrontation, we firmly believe that Central Europe must react to these challenges with boosting cooperation among our societies and political elites, as well as experts. As there are plenty of opportunities in this regard even in the specialized fields of security and defense, the Center for Strategic and Defense Studies invited esteemed researchers of political and social sciences, as well as security policy experts from Hungarian and regional partners to a workshop in Budapest on 28 February, 2014. The aim of the workshop was to exchange views on security perception in our respective countries and on possibilities of enhancing cooperation in Central Europe.

Program of the workshop


Expert Workshop on Capability Development among the V4 countries – ‘How to Tailor Needs to Deeds?’

27 August, 2013

International experts have been paying ever growing attention to multinational forms of defense cooperation and capabilities development since the financial crisis hit the defense sector in Central Europe with an austerity not seen since the end of the Cold War. The need for innovative ideas that tailor needs to deeds and provide deliverable options is great. However, expert papers are mostly limited to comparing strategic cultures, security identities or national security documents, thus are unable to dig deep and formulate open-minded, ambitious – though realistic – proposals for capability development options.

After the defense dimension of the Visegrad Cooperation was relatively fruitless for two decades, 2011-2012 brought V4 countries to a new level: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia decided to establish a joint EU Battlegroup. Still there is a long way to go to make the V4 BG a reality, but there seems to be considerable space left for other capability development initiatives as well. Therefore, the Center for Strategic and Defense Studies building on the momentum provided by the ongoing Hungarian V4 Presidency organized an expert workshop on August 27, 2013. The aim of the workshop was to openly discuss capability gaps and identify potential options and concrete proposals for multinational cooperation in this field.

Program of the workshop