European Union External Action

Strengthening European Crisis Response - EU concludes Hybrid Exercise 2018

23/11/2018 - 15:45
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Hope for the best but prepare for the worst! This motto is more than ever relevant in today's complex and contested world. Therefore the European Union just conducted a comprehensive, week long exercise simulating a fast evolving, transboundary crisis of a ‘hybrid’ nature, affecting fictitious EU partner countries and the EU itself.

Hybrid threats combine conventional and unconventional, military and non-military activities that can be employed by state or non-state actors to pursue their goals. Often they are difficult to detect and attribute particularly if targeting several countries and sectors. Quickly recognising hybrid threats  through "situational awareness" is of key importance for quick and effective counter measures.

Hybrid threats have become more frequent and challenging in recent years. For example, the number of cyber-attacks has multiplied and their potential or actual negative impact on economic, political or social life steeply increased.

The exercise focussed on four main areas:


The EU and its Member States dispose of various mechanisms to respond to crises.  The exercise now concluded served to test and train these mechanisms, their coordination and the seamless cooperation amongst the various stakeholders.

This was the largest hybrid crisis management exercise ever conducted and led by the EU. It will now be assessed and evaluated over coming months. The objective is to identify lessons for further improvements of the EU's capacity to respond fast and effectively to hybrid threats.

Following the conduct of the first EU - NATO parallel and coordinated exercises in October 2017, both organisations coordinated this year again parallel exercises. This allowed for strong interaction between EU and NATO staff, in line with earlier declarations on closer cooperation.

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