The CSDP Olympiad was created in 2012 with the aim of improving cadets' understanding of the CSDP through their participation in a European-level competition. The CSDP Olympiad - held for the fourth time in 2018 - is considered to be the flagship of the European Initiative for the Exchange of Young Officers. It was first held in Cyprus in 2012, in Greece in 2014 and in Slovakia in 2016, and the 4th edition took place in Bulgaria under the auspices of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The competition is composed of three categories. First of all, a design competition is launched for the cover page of the event. One year before the Olympiad, the cadets start drafting their essays on a CSDP‑related topic of their choice, for which they receive an initial score. On the first day of the Olympiad, the cadets present their essay orally and receive a second score which is added to the first score they have already received. Then, the 10 best cadets meet for a second round to decide on the winner of the essay competition. For the final competition, the cadets are grouped into teams and must answer 25 questions about the CSDP, with 2 minutes allowed per question. Afterwards, the winning team cadets and the winner of the essay competition meet during the final - individual - round, answering 15 questions on the CSDP. The person who comes out top is the winner of the Olympiad.
For this fourth edition, the historical city of Veliko Tarnovo and its Vasil Levski National Military University hosted 38 cadets from 13 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain). Nikola SAVIC, from the Theresan Military Academy in Austria, was awarded first place for the cover page competition. Matthias KERN, from the same academy, won the essay competition on the first day of the Olympiad with his paper entitled 'The role of CSDP in Border Protection'. When evaluating the paper and the presentations, the evaluators took particular account of the following criteria: scientific approach and method, grammar, structure, and the ability to summarise and present the essay clearly and orally. The winner of the 4th CSDP Olympiad is Kacper KASPRZAK from the Military University of Technology in Warsaw with his paper entitled 'The current state of the European energy security supply'.
In the margins of the competitions, the cadets and officials took part in cultural activities and festivities that were superbly well organised by their Bulgarian hosts. For example, between the icebreaker and the official dinner, participants also had an opportunity to visit the historical Arbanassi village and attend the festivities of the Day of Bulgarian Culture and Slavonic Alphabet.
The Olympiad also provided an opportunity for the Implementation Group of the initiative to hold its 38th meeting in the premises of the Vasil Levski Academy. During this meeting, the members discussed the implementation of the common modules and the international semester, as well as ways to take the initiative forward. The organisation of upcoming events was also on the agenda of the meeting, in particular the 10th Anniversary of the Military Erasmus that will take place from 8 to 12 November in Athens.