Strategic Foresight


Hybrid Conflict and the Future European Security Environment

20 Sep 2018 - 10:52

This Strategic Alert focuses on hybrid conflict and the future of European Security Environment. 

Russia remains the most active and aggressive hybrid threat actor confronting Europe. Information Confrontation, including targeted disinformation and propaganda, remains the central element of Russia’s hybrid activities, enabled by sophisticated cyber operations. Over the past year, Moscow has demonstrated a growing willingness to employ high-risk and even lethal hybrid actions, to include the use of an advanced chemical nerve agent on European soil. A heavy Russian hybrid focus on its so-called ‘near abroad’ is likely in the near future. Moreover, Russia will almost certainly employ hybrid tools against Western Balkan states, especially the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in a targeted effort to discourage or delay its accession into the Euro-Atlantic institutions.

China’s hybrid activities, on the other hand, are more discreet and mostly emphasize technology theft and intelligence gathering. However, China’s growing economic presence in Europe and its desire to shape international norms creates the potential for Beijing to become a much more significant hybrid challenge over the long term. It is anticipated that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will continue to pose only a limited hybrid threat against Europe.

Our Strategic Alerts are part of the Strategic Monitor Programme, which receives funding from the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence.