Europe’s Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood in Flux: War and Geopolitics from Ukraine to the Middle East 


18 December 2023




Egmont Palace, Place du Petit Sablon 8bis, 1000 Brussels 

Type of Event



Belgian Foreign Affairs and Egmont Institute

Belgian Foreign Policy Conference

Every year, the Belgian Foreign Policy Conference convenes the Belgian and wider Brussels-based strategic community to debate responses to the key challenges facing Belgium, the EU, and NATO. 2023 can rightly be called a “geopolitical year”. War in Ukraine, the Caucasus, the Middle East, and North Africa forced European decision-makers to focus once again on geopolitics as one of the drivers of strategy. The 2023 Belgian Foreign Policy Conference will analyse the fundamental geopolitical implications of these events and propose strategies for the future.




14.30-15.00   Registration


15.00-15.30   Keynote Speech by Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, introduced by Pol De Witte, Director-General of Egmont


15.30-16.30   Panel 1: War and Geopolitics to the East


Chair: Jeroen Cooreman, Director-General for Bilateral Affairs, Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs

  • Dr. Sven Biscop, Director ‘Europe in the World’ at the Egmont Institute & Professor at Ghent University
  • Lieutenant-General Frederik Vansina, Vice Chief of Defence
  • Dr. Olesya Tkacheva, Associate Professor, Department of International Affairs and Center for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy, Brussels School of Governance, Vrije Universiteit Brussel


16.30-17.00   Coffee


17.00-18.00 Panel 2: War and Geopolitics to the South


Chair: Prof. Dr. Nina Wilén, Egmont Institute & Lund University

  • Bernard Siman OBE, Egmont Institute & Belgian Royal Military Academy
  • Joost Hiltermann, MENA Program Director, International Crisis Group
  • Dr. Michel Liégeois, Professor International Relations, Université catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve


18.00-18.15   The European Perspective by Ms Maryem van den Heuvel, Director General for External Relations, EU Council’s General Secretariat



Egmont Palace, Place du Petit Sablon, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

See the itinerary