European Union External Action

The European Initiative for the Exchange of Young Officers (EMILYO)

30/05/2018 - 17:44

Under the aegis of the European Initiative for the Exchange of Military Young Officers, Athens hosted young officers from all over Europe during the week of 23 to 27 April 2018. Both the Hellenic Air Force Academy and the Hellenic Naval Academy organised a common module, gathering more than one hundred cadets from Member States and third countries.

The European initiative for the exchange of young officers (EMILYO) was launched in 2008 under the auspices of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU and started to take shape with the creation of a dedicated Implementation Group in 2009. Inspired by Erasmus, the aim of EMILYO is to develop exchanges between armed forces for future military officers, and their teachers and instructors, during their initial education and training. Conducted by the Member States on a voluntary basis through the Executive Academic Board of the European Security and Defence College, the initiative helps to promote a common defence culture by harmonising the training of young military officers. This is achieved through a system of equivalence and common training sessions such as the International Semester and 35 common modules.

From 23 to 27 April, the Hellenic Air Force Academy and the Hellenic Naval Academy each organised a common module, gathering together more than one hundred cadets from Member States and third countries. Through the system of equivalence, each common module offered 2 ECTS credits in the curriculum. Over the five day course, cadets from various academies attended lectures given in English by well-known experts from academic institutions and European organisations. The common modules were also open to some civilian students studying international relations at the Universities of Athens and Thessalonica.

Source: Hellenic Navy Academy – Icebreaker on the Georgios Averof
Source: Hellenic Navy Academy – Icebreaker on the Georgios Averof


A. Hellenic Air Force Academy common module on CSDP


In the Hellenic Air Force Academy in Tatoi, cadets from air force academies took part in the common module on the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), a general module designed to expand the young officers' knowledge of the European Defence Policy and their awareness of common security threats. While the programme included a theoretical part covering the history of the CSDP, European defence cooperation, EU external relations and the future of the CSDP, the cadets also received practical training through lectures on the European crisis management structures and European military capabilities.

To put that knowledge into practice, a full-day simulation game was conducted by the Institute of Research and Training on European Affairs, giving cadets the opportunity to experience crisis resolution within the European crisis management structures. Divided into five groups representing the CPCC, the CMPD, IntCent, the European Commission and the geographical MD, the cadets had to work together, coordinating between the different institutions, to come up with a proposal for an EU mission which best fitted the requirements of the emerging crisis. 

ESDC – Simulation Game
Source: Anne-Claire Grossias, ESDC – Simulation Game


B. Hellenic Naval Academy common module on 'Maritime Security'

For the third year in a row, the Hellenic Naval Academy in Piraeus hosted the 'Maritime Security' common module for young officers from naval academies not only of Member States but also of third countries such as Egypt, which sent four participants. Some civilian students from the Panteion University also participated.

Hellenic Naval Academy – Family picture
Source: Hellenic Naval Academy – Family picture

Through a full programme of lectures on topics including maritime law, EU-NATO cooperation against piracy, the geopolitics of energy in the Mediterranean, migration issues and transport security, the cadets had the opportunity to improve their awareness of EU maritime security policy and the new challenges facing the European Union and its Member States. The module also included some practical courses such as working groups, case studies and a simulation game. On Monday evening, the Hellenic Naval Academy organised its icebreaker on the century-old battle cruiser 'Georgios Averof', which participated actively in both world wars.

Anne-Claire Grossias, ESDC
Source: Anne-Claire Grossias, ESDC

C. Hellenic Army Academy hosting the Military Erasmus International Semester

For its part, the Hellenic Army Academy is hosting the Military Erasmus International Semester on its premises from 26 February to 13 June 2018.

Based on the Erasmus model, the International Semester has been developed over the last few years as a leading activity of EMILYO with the objective of creating an environment that favours a common security and defence culture. The Hellenic Army Academy is one of the three military academies organising the International Semester this academic year, together with the Polish Military University of Land Forces and the Romanian Land Forces Academy. To that end, five cadets from the Hellenic Army Academy have been sent to Poland, and ten to Romania, using Erasmus+ funding, while 38 cadets are being hosted by the Hellenic Army Academy.

During the week, representatives from the Austrian Theresan Military Academy, the European Security and Defence College and the Hellenic Army Academy met to exchange points of view and affirm their desire to go further with this initiative. The Implementation Group will promote, in particular, the extension of the International Semester to the naval and air force academies.

Hellenic Army Academy
Source: Hellenic Army Academy


Following the week in Athens, the fourth Olympiad took place in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, from 21 to 25 May 2018, hosted by the Vasil Levski National Military University. Part of EMILYO, the Olympiad is a competition on CSDP understanding that brings together cadets from Member States to present their essays on various topics related to CSDP.