Europe’s strategic choices 2023

The 2023 conference aims to understand the complex set of challenges facing Europe in security, economic competitiveness, trade, technology and global influence.

Special event
27 November 2023 TO 28 November 2023 — 8:00AM TO 5:00PM
Europe Strategic Choices Conference Background Image

The ninth Europe’s strategic choices conference, jointly developed and hosted by Chatham House, the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University (ISPK) and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, aims to understand the complex set of challenges facing Europe in the areas of security, economic competitiveness, trade, technology and global influence.

This year’s conference takes place against the backdrop of Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine, a rise in geopolitical competition and pressure on European economies in the face of high living costs and inflation. The conference will ignite new ideas on how European countries can best respond to common challenges to strengthen peace, stability, and economic security, alongside the need to de-risk and rethink international cooperation, in a competitive geopolitical environment.

The conference will be hosted in hybrid format to enable speakers and participants to join in person and allow others to engage virtually via the Conference Plus digital platform. Plenary sessions will be available to all participants, while breakout sessions will be in-person only.

Who attends


Monday 27 November (All timings are in CET and subject to change)

Welcome remarks

Given by Chatham House, ISPK and KAS


Keynote address


Plenary Session One | Rethinking European defence cooperation

Can Europe’s response to Russia’s war in Ukraine deliver lasting change in its ability to defend itself? What are Europe’s strategic goals concerning Ukraine? How might Ukraine’s post-war integration into the EU and NATO impact on European defence?

What lessons can be drawn from the Nordic Defence Cooperation between Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark to enhance European defence cooperation more widely?


Networking break


Plenary Session Two | Europe’s political, economic and security future order: Is EU enlargement the answer?

How can we minimise the threat that the Russian state poses to the territorial integrity of neighbouring countries? Beyond enlargement, what other choices exist to safeguard future European security against the influence of Russia and China?

Would Europe be able to hold together its current governability and values, or are reforms needed to facilitate enlargement? What role for the UK in this changing order and what would be the consequences of not having the Western Balkan states on Europe’s side?


Breakout sessions | Round 1

Session A | Geopolitical volatility and the energy transition

  • How is the EU’s response to the US Inflation Reduction Act and increasing geopolitical tensions recalibrating Europe’s energy transition?

  • How can supply chains be diversified to reduce dependencies on specific regions, particularly in relation to critical raw minerals and energy security?

  • What needs to happen at COP28 to deliver a just energy transition globally?

Session B | China’s military build-up: A challenge for Europe?

  • How can Europe respond to an increasing Chinese military footprint in Europe’s vicinity?

  • How can Europe arrive at a coherent Indo-Pacific strategy?

  • What risks for Europe does an arms race in the Indo-Pacific pose?

Session C | Turkey’s role in Europe

  • Does Turkey represent an obstacle for NATO enlargement? How can Turkey’s expectations be addressed?

  • To what extent can it be considered a reliable partner, given its relations with Russia and China?

  • What is Turkey’s role in managing the migration and the refugee crisis?

  • How can Europe contribute to stability in the Asian hotspots?


Networking lunch


Plenary Session Three | A forward look at the transatlantic relationship

How would a Republican administration reshape transatlantic relations? Where does Europe’s strategy differ from the US, for example in the Indo-Pacific? Can Europe offer aspects of deterrence complementary to the US in potential conflict zones?

Will NATO enlargement and a greater Polish/Baltic/Nordic focus within NATO result in greater transatlantic alignment?


Breakout sessions | Round 2

Session A | Protecting critical infrastructure

  • How should critical infrastructure be designed to withstand acute shock and potential vulnerabilities?

  • Why is enhancing security of undersea infrastructure such as gas pipelines and fibre optic cables increasingly important?

  • How can cyber resiliency be boosted in the face of rising attacks?

  • What emerging threats from state-aligned group should we be looking out for?

Session B | Relations between Europe and the Middle East

  • How can Europe and Middle East better coordinate to tackle migration issues?

  • Where is Europe is supporting conflict and peace building?

  • Should, and how can, Europe provide better engagement to end the humanitarian crises in Syria, Libya, and Yemen?

  • Will future relationships weaken as countries continue to decarbonise their economies?

Session C | Iran and Russia: An axis of revisionist powers?

  • What steps need to be taken to counter the growing strategic cooperation between Iran and Russia?

  • Could the emerging Iran, Russia, and China triangle become one of the greatest threats to peace in the Middle East and Europe?


Plenary Session Four | Europe’s relationship with China

To what extent are European powers converging or diverging on China relations? How far can China’s peace plan for reaching a settlement in Ukraine go? What will the trajectory of US politics post the 2024 Presidential election mean for Europe’s relations with China?

What would a de-risking, rather than a de-coupling, trade strategy from the Chinese economy look like in practice?


End of day one


Tuesday 28 November (All timings are in CET and subject to change)

Keynote address


Plenary Session Five | Europe’s next strategic choice: A future shaped by technology

How is technology reshaping the global order? Which nations and actors will emerge victorious, and at what cost? Is Europe’s response to the US-China strategic technology competition adequate?

What strategies and policies can middle powers such as UK, India, Brazil, Japan etc. adopt? What choices does the West need to confront about the defence implications of AI and its technology influence?


Networking break


Breakout sessions | Round 3

Session A | Which countries are best placed to lead on AI governance and regulation globally?

  • Who are the most important international partners in developing an AI regulatory framework?

  • Can AI be governed by companies, individual countries or communities, or is a global framework the only way forward?

  • How can countries be better prepared for the changes that such technologies will bring?

Session B | Weaponisation of information

  • How are hostile actors using disinformation campaigns to achieve their goals?

  • How can Central and Eastern European countries caught in the cross hairs be better protected?

  • What can be done to mitigate the impact of information operations intended to damage confidence in state institutions and multilateral organizations such as the EU and NATO?

  • Are the private platforms facilitating disinformation effective stewards of the digital space?

Session C | Europe and Israel: Partners for defence technology cooperation

  • In what way is Israel positioned to contribute to Europe’s security after the Zeitenwende? 

  • Where do opportunities lie for cooperation in the air defence realm, including and beyond the European Sky Shield Initiative?

  • What next for German-Israeli cooperation in the area of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)?


Closing Dialogue | Ushering in a new era for Europe’s economic security

What new alliances might emerge to strengthen national security, reduce economic dependencies and facilitate the development of critical technologies? Can a competitive Europe that champions an open, rules-based international trade truly be maintained in the global shift towards more protectionist and industrial policies?

What steps need to be taken to protect strategic and sensitive supply chains? What version of Europe will emerge in next 5 – 10 years and does a role exist for the UK to forge more strategic economic ties with Europe in the process?


Closing remarks


Networking lunch


Close of conference




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