Conference: The Defence of Europe: What If…


2 May 2024




Campus Renaissance, Rue Hobbema 8, 1000 Brussels

Type of Event


On invitation only


Egmont Institute, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and the Royal Higher Institute for Defence

On the occasion of the publication of the 2024 edition of The Military Balance, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Royal Higher Institute for Defence, and the Egmont – Royal Institute for International Relations have the pleasure of inviting you to a conference

Contrary to what many think, the purpose of strategy is not to predict. But having defined one’s interests and decided on ends, ways, and means, whenever something happens, one can more readily assess whether it affects that strategy, and action has to be taken, or not. Prudent assumptions can and must be made, however, to try and craft a strategy that enables one to safeguard one’s vital interest in every scenario.

Which prudent assumptions ought to underpin the defence policies of the Member States of the EU / European Allies of NATO? First, that Ukraine will require massive military support for the long term. Second, that US military support for Ukraine will be reduced. Third, more controversially, that US commitment to the Allies themselves might not remain as strong as it is today.

What if these assumptions are proven right, and perhaps even too optimistic? Does Europe have the military capacity to deter or defend against all threats? If not, can that capacity be created?



16.30-17.00      Registration

17.00-17.15       Welcome & Introduction

  • Major-General Filip Borremans, Director-General, RHID

17.15-19.00       Panel Debate

  • Chair: Prof. Dr Sven Biscop, Egmont & Ghent University
  • Dr Bastian Giegerich, Director General & Chief Executive, IISS
  • James Hackett, Head, Defence and Military Analysis Programme,
  • Tom Waldwyn, Research Associate for Defence Procurement, IISS
  • Dr Jan Joel Andersson, EU Institute for Security Studies

19.00-20.00    Drinks Reception