Hybrid threats


In recent years, Belgium, along with the EU and NATO, have been confronted with a significant number of new so-called "hybrid" threats internally and in their part of the world. Hybrid threats include, among other things, cyber attacks, interference in electoral processes, disinformation, use of chemical weapons (e.g. Salisbury), terrorism, the use of economic/financial pressure.

Belgium is committed both at the national and European levels, and within NATO, in the context of a comprehensive approach to security by working in a strategic, coordinated and coherent manner in all relevant policy areas. As such, in order to confront these challenges, EU Member States are encouraged to focus on civil preparedness to enhance their national resilience.

The Political-Military Cases and Hybrid Threats M1 Directorate in charge of following up this issue ensures the coordination of the Belgian position within the various national, European and NATO working groups. The M1 Directorate is also involved in the preparation of the work of the Horizontal Working Party on enhancing resilience and countering hybrid threats in the EU Council, as well as in European and NATO exercises on countering hybrid threats and strengthening resilience. As the fight against disinformation is an integral part of these threats, the M1 Directorate also monitors Belgium's European commitments in this area. In this context, Belgium has designated its official contact point for the "early warning system" against disinformation (Crisis Centre of the FPS Home Affairs) which constitutes a platform for sharing data and information on attacks and disinformation campaigns implemented in the framework of the European Action Plan against disinformation.

In this area, Belgium actively participates in the two horizontal working parties of the Council of the EU: 1) Horizontal Working Party on enhancing resilience and countering hybrid threats and 2) Horizontal Working Party on Cyber Issues.

Alongside the efforts of the Member States, the EU and NATO have also committed to close and constructive cooperation. Since 2017, the EU and NATO have jointly established the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, which aims to help participating states and institutions understand hybrid threats and defend against them. Since the summer of 2018, NATO has also set up Counter hybrid support teams, which provide targeted and adapted assistance to Allies at their request to prepare for and respond to hybrid threat activities.

Cyber diplomacy