Internal security and combatting hybrid threats
Finland aims to promote a coordinated and comprehensive cross-administrative discussion on hybrid threats in order to ensure that EU Member States benefit from cooperation within the Union as much as possible and to improve their capacity to combat hybrid threats. Although Member States themselves bear prime responsibility for combatting hybrid threats, many of them face common threats that can be addressed more effectively through a coordinated response at EU level.
Hybrid influencing techniques may be employed by state actors, but also by various other players and groups, including terrorist organisations, organised crime groups and other coalitions that instigate instability. When it comes to hybrid threats, internal and external security are closely linked. Very often, these threats are found where internal and external security intersect.
Those responsible for internal security, such as the Police and border authorities, can help strengthen social sustainability and counter various attempts to exert influence. Should a hybrid threat turn into something requiring concrete action, the police (and other law enforcement authorities), and border and rescue authorities will play a key role in their capacity as the competent authorities in charge of addressing the situation.
Addressing CBRN threats and strengthening the protection of critical infrastructure
During its Presidency, Finland will seek to strengthen the capacity of the EU and its Member States to respond to threats involving chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents that may be linked to the use of hybrid methods. Finland’s objective is to identify existing capability gaps and future needs regarding protection against CBRN threats.
The Member States’ critical infrastructure, including power stations and banking systems, are a potential target of hybrid influencing. During its Presidency of the Council of the EU, Finland aims to advance discussions on protecting critical infrastructure.
Countering disinformation is important
Disinformation campaigns and fake news, which are orchestrated by state and non-state actors, are spreading on social media across Europe. Disinformation campaigns take advantage of various networks and platforms and the new media environment with the purpose of creating an alternative reality.
In the EU, a number of actors are cooperating to reduce the negative effects arising from deliberate or misleading dissemination of false information, for instance in connection with elections. The EU has also adopted an Action Plan against Disinformation.
Finland’s Presidency will highlight the importance of fact-based official communications as a way of preventing the spread of disinformation, hate speech and other threats, and of mitigating their harmful effects.
Hybrid threats and disinformation will be dealt with in working groups and ministerial meetings convening during the Finnish Presidency.
Ministers of the Interior to hold a scenario-based discussion
Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Ministers will hold an informal meeting in Helsinki on 18 July. In their scenario-based discussion, Ministers will focus on enhancing their awareness of the fact that the use of hybrid methods also threatens internal security. They will also seek ways for reinforcing EU decision-making concerning situations requiring response to acute hybrid threats from the perspective of internal security.
Tiina Ferm, Head of Hybrid Issues, Ministry of the Interior, tel. +358 50 4560 055 [email protected]
- Joint communication from the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Joint Framework on countering hybrid threats: European Union response
- Joint report from the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the Joint Framework on countering hybrid threats: a European Union response
- Joint communication from the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Increasing resilience and bolstering capabilities to address hybrid threats
- European External Action Service: Action Plan against Disinformation