Vienna Secu­rity Round Table „Secu­rity Policy Chal­lenges for Europe in 2023“

VIENNA – The inter­na­tional round table „Secu­rity Policy Chal­lenges for Europe in 2023″ was held on March 30, 2023 in Vienna, in coope­ra­tion with the Vienna Asso­cia­tion of Acade­mics and the Center for Geostra­tegic Studies, with the parti­ci­pa­tion of poli­ti­cians and experts from Germany, Italy, France, Serbia, Poland, Syria and Austria.

This inte­res­ting discus­sion on the Ukrai­nian conflict, mass migra­tion, energy supply and current events was chaired by Patrick Poppel, an expert at the Center for Geostra­tegic Studies and a poli­tical analyst in Austria.

On the same day, in the Parlia­ment of Austria, the Freedom Party of Austria expressed its disp­lea­sure over Vladimir Zelenski’s speech via video link and left the session. MPs of this party believe that this is a direct viola­tion of the Austrian neutra­lity. The presi­dent of the Freedom Party of Austria, Herberg Kickl, said:

„As a neutral country, Austria gives its word to the presi­dent of a country that is at war. Then you could say that he is spre­a­ding Ukrai­nian, NATO or American propa­ganda here“.

The parti­ci­pants of the round table „Chal­lenges of secu­rity policy for Europe in 2023“ supported this posi­tion of the Austrian poli­ti­cians from the Freedom Party of Austria.

Chris­tian Zeitz, director of the Insti­tute for Applied Poli­tical Economy and member of the Vienna Asso­cia­tion of Acade­mics, welcomed the guests of the confe­rence and expressed his views and concerns regar­ding the current poli­tical situa­tion in Europe.








Andreas Mölzer, former Member of the Euro­pean Parlia­ment from the Austrian Freedom Party, opened the round­table with his presen­ta­tion on Euro­pean Secu­rity. He spoke about geopo­li­tical issues, Euro­pean secu­rity, the migrant crisis and the EU. He regretted that Europe does not have an alter­na­tive, i.e. an option other than Euro­pean inte­gra­tion, espe­ci­ally after the First and Second World Wars. After the fall of the bipolar world, Europe began to eman­ci­pate itself, but now this process has been perma­nently stopped. He said

Abge­ord­neter zum Euro­päi­schen Parlament

that we missed the oppor­tu­nity of the Russian-Ukrai­nian conflict to change our posi­tion or return to our previous posi­tions. The current conflict in Ukraine has shown that the EU has no geopo­li­tical ambi­tions. The EU is provi­ding mili­tary aid to Ukraine, and Austria is one of the last neutral count­ries. The problem in Europe is that the poli­tical struc­tures are not unified, for example the Alter­na­tive for Germany, the League and Meloni, which repre­sent Euro-Atlantic inte­rests instead of being right-wing. The Freedom Party of Austria is the only party that criti­cized Vladimir Zelensky’s appearance and speech in the parlia­ment. The EU has allowed itself to be margi­na­lized by the big powers. Mr. Mölzer also spoke about the problems related to the mass migra­tions in Europe that have occurred in recent years. He believes that the Euro­pean social and health systems cannot bear the costs of mass migra­tion. Poli­tical correct­ness will not help anyone, espe­ci­ally not us. A mistake was made by our and the German secu­rity system. But there is still a chance to limit the damage. Britain, for example, intro­duced a strict migra­tion policy after Brexit. The migra­tion crisis in Europe coin­cides with mass hedo­nism, the aboli­tion of culture and reli­gion, which desta­bi­lizes the situa­tion even more, and on the other hand, migra­tion is used as a means of pres­sure by the great powers.

The EU will not play a signi­fi­cant role in the geopo­li­tical sense. „I don’t support the SMO, but at the same time I don’t think that Ukraine is fighting for Western values, rather this fight is being waged in Moscow.“

Karin Kneissl, former Federal Minister for Euro­pean and Inter­na­tional Affairs of the Repu­blic of Austria, presented her views on the combi­na­tion of the energy crisis and the Ukrai­nian crisis and the solu­tions available to Europe.

Kneissl spoke about Europe’s history of depen­dence on foreign products and energy, and the lack of atten­tion to energy secu­rity and afforda­bility in recent decades, with a focus on climate change. She high­lighted the importance of energy secu­rity and afforda­bility for house­holds and industry, and gave an example of how the Hunga­rian Prime Minister has taken steps to address this issue. Kneissl argued that decision-makers need to be more reali­stic and honest about what is and is not possible in terms of energy produc­tion, and move away from black-and-white thin­king. She also criti­cized the West’s atti­tude toward Russia and empha­sized the need for more mature beha­vior on the part of decision-makers. She stressed the need for more reali­stic and respon­sible decision-making.

Karin Kneissl agreed that the biggest problem is the conflict between desire and reality, espe­ci­ally in rela­tion to the current energy crisis and the economic war against Russia, calling it chil­dish beha­vior and saying that many Western govern­ments are not beha­ving maturely.

Dragana Trif­ković, director of the Center for Geostra­tegic Studies in Belgrade, spoke about the violent sepa­ra­tion of Kosovo and Meto­hija: „Last week was the twenty-fourth anni­ver­sary of the begin­ning of the NATO bombing of Serbia. The reason for the begin­ning of the NATO aggres­sion was the alleged viola­tion of the human rights of the Alba­nians in Kosovo and Meto­hija, that is, in the southern Serbian province, by the Serbian regime. Some even went so far as to speak of geno­cide. In fact, it was a fabri­cated guilt imposed by US offi­cials led by Bill Clinton, Made­leine Albright, Wesley Clark and so on, who used false accu­sa­tions and the main­stream media to create an alibi.

There is an excel­lent German docu­men­tary about this: „It Started with a Lie“, in which the truth is described lite­rally. The aim of the NATO inter­ven­tion was the opening of the largest American mili­tary base in Europe, on the terri­tory of Serbia, called Bond­s­teel, and not the protec­tion of the human rights of the Albanians.

Alba­nians in Kosovo and Meto­hija have rights guaran­teed by the Consti­tu­tion of the Repu­blic of Serbia, which concern the right to use language, culture and customs, the right to parti­ci­pate in all state insti­tu­tions, public and poli­tical life, the right to educa­tion in the Alba­nian language, media in the Alba­nian language, and so on. The former Yugo­slavia and Serbia have had a problem with Alba­nian terro­rism for decades, and this was precisely the trigger for the crack­down on Alba­nian terro­rists of the Kosovo Libe­ra­tion Army and Serbian secu­rity struc­tures. But the Western media portrayed it as a conflict between Serbian secu­rity forces and Alba­nian civi­lians, which has nothing to do with the truth.

Now we come to the ques­tion of the rights of Russian citi­zens in Ukraine. In fact, Ukraine has banned the use of the Russian language, the work of Russian-language media, as well as the work of oppo­si­tion parties. In 2014, after the coup in Kiev, the Ukrai­nian regime laun­ched a war against its own citi­zens in the east of the country. However, the US did not call this a viola­tion of human rights, but a viola­tion of demo­cracy. The policy of double stan­dards is clearly visible here. A comple­tely diffe­rent rela­ti­onship that speaks of the misuse of the issue of demo­cracy, the viola­tion of human rights, to achieve mili­tary and economic goals. You can hear the Western media talking about demo­cracy in Kosovo. To this day, more than 250 thousand exiled Serbs cannot return to their homes and cannot exer­cise their human rights, but are refu­gees in their own country. Every day, violence is perpe­trated against the Serbs who remain in Kosovo.

The only valid inter­na­tional docu­ment on the basis of which the Kosovo issue can be resolved is Reso­lu­tion 1244 of the UN Secu­rity Council. But the USA is persis­t­ently trying to solve its own project of Kosovo’s inde­pen­dence, igno­ring and viola­ting inter­na­tional law.

Now, Serbia is being offered a Franco-German plan for the solu­tion of Kosovo, which is actually Ischinger’s plan for the inde­pen­dence of Kosovo from 2007. This plan is modeled on the reco­gni­tion of two Germa­nies after the Second World War. Serbia is being asked to reco­gnize the so-called inde­pen­dence of Kosovo, give up the terri­tory and absolve the USA of respon­si­bi­lity for bombing Serbia. In fact, it is a violent rede­fi­ni­tion of borders where the US is pursuing its own inte­rests by control­ling the conflict. If we comple­tely abolish inter­na­tional law and accept the right of a power, in this case the United States of America, to redraw borders in Europe accor­ding to its own needs, we will find ourselves in a very dange­rous situation.

An inde­pen­dent Kosovo can be estab­lished anywhere in Europe because there are so many poten­tial conflicts that could be used for such a thing. Espe­ci­ally after the great migra­tions from Africa and the Middle East to Europe. It is clear that Europe is now burdened with many other problems, but in this sense the case of Kosovo should not be ignored. It really opened Pandora’s box.

The solu­tion is to return to the frame­work of inter­na­tional law and inter­na­tional insti­tu­tions, where dialogue should take place. If we talk about the Ukrai­nian crisis, we have seen that the agree­ments reached in Minsk were not respected, which was finally acknow­ledged by the former German Chan­cellor Angela Merkel.

Euro­pean offi­cials told us that they had no inten­tion of respec­ting the peace agree­ments reached, but that they only served to arm Ukraine for the war that was being prepared.

Dragana Trif­ković believes that the idea of waging war with Russia, even if it is a hybrid war waged through Ukraine, is a very dange­rous idea for the whole of Europe. For this reason, Dragana Trif­ković believes that the supply of weapons to Ukraine should be stopped imme­dia­tely and the diplo­matic field should be moved, but with full respect for inter­na­tional law and with the inten­tion of imple­men­ting the agree­ments reached.

Paolo Grimoldi, a former member of the Italian parlia­ment and head of the Italian dele­ga­tion to the OSCE, spoke about the double stan­dards involved in Europe supporting regional sepa­ra­tism in some cases and not in others. We have had a series of orga­nized color revo­lu­tions, as well as failed attempts to orga­nize them. The US admi­nis­tra­tion has proven itself inca­pable of brin­ging peace to the world. Paolo Grimoldi stated that he was recently aware of the case that Tunisia started to act to prevent illegal migra­tion to Europe, but the US criti­cized it. It is obvious that the USA supports mass migra­tion and does not want it to stop. Grimoldi believes that the US is poli­ti­cally black­mai­ling many count­ries in Europe, inclu­ding Italy. Many count­ries like Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, China, Russia are criti­ci­zing the US policy.

Jacques Hogard, colonel of the French Special Forces Task Group under NATO command in Kosovo and author of a book about his expe­ri­ences entitled Europe Died in Pris­tina, discussed the conse­quences of NATO’s aggres­sion against Serbia and the handing over of Kosovo to Alba­nian mafia groups under a joint NATO-EU protec­to­rate. The war caused physical, mate­rial, moral and psycho­lo­gical suffe­ring to the popu­la­tion, the death of many young people and massive destruc­tion of infra­struc­ture, which will have serious economic and social conse­quences. The author disagreed with a jour­na­list who blamed Russia and Vladimir Putin for the war. His father, a former French army general, believed that the United States was working against France and that after the collapse of the USSR, NATO had become an anti-Slavic and anti-Russian offen­sive tool at the heels of American inte­rests alone. His father even left the French army because of this.

The Euro­pean Union is bank­rupt, anti-demo­cratic and corrupted by an estab­lished caste. Its disas­trous manage­ment has led to the costly and criminal support of the war in Ukraine, the cata­stro­phic hand­ling of the covid pandemic, and the absence of a protec­tive policy in the face of migra­tory surges. Other criti­cisms include the promo­tion of wokeism and the ques­tio­ning of tradi­tional values inhe­rited from the Greek and Roman civi­liza­tions shaped by Chris­tia­nity, as well as serious attacks on the iden­tity of the peoples of Europe. The fate of France is also worrying.

The speaker, who comes from a family of French resis­tance figh­ters during the Second World War, now considers himself a disciple of General de Gaulle and dreams of a quick exit from the inte­grated command of NATO and the disap­pearance of this American impe­ria­list tool. He believes in the cons­truc­tion of a real Euro­pean secu­rity system from the Atlantic to Vladi­vostok, inclu­ding Poland, Central Europe and the Baltic count­ries. The speaker urged the peoples of Europe to free them­selves from what he sees as the American yoke and regain control of their destiny before it’s too late, citing Hungary as an example.

Petr Bistron, a member of the German Bundestag from the Alter­na­tive for Germany party, spoke about the Ukrai­nian crisis. He believes that the conflict in Ukraine marks the end of the mono­polar world and the begin­ning of the multi­polar world. Ukraine is the new red line on which the new divi­sion of Europe will be drawn. Europe is going to be divided into two parts. This is actually a new divi­sion of the whole world. This conflict simul­ta­neously marks the end of US domi­nance and hegemony and the arrival of new forces that act toge­ther: China, India, Russia, Brazil and other BRICS count­ries, Africa is joining this alli­ance as well as Iran. This alli­ance is very attrac­tive for many African and Asian count­ries. The Euro­pean states and the USA are constantly repea­ting a false narra­tive and are trying to mark Russia as an aggressor through the thousand times repeated lie that Russia’s mili­tary action in Ukraine is the first viola­tion of inter­na­tional law in Europe since the Second World War. This is not true, because the first viola­tion of inter­na­tional law was the bombing of Belgrade, NATO’s aggres­sion against Yugo­slavia in 1999. So the first aggressor among other NATO count­ries was Germany.

Konrad Rekas, poli­tical expert, geopo­li­tical analyst from Poland, held a lecture on the topic: „Displa­ce­ment or Migra­tion: The Move­ment of the Ukrai­nian Popu­la­tion after 2/24/22 as a Factor of Desta­bi­liza­tion in Central Europe“. He spoke about concerns about migra­tion to Poland, espe­ci­ally from Ukraine, and the poten­tial impact on the country’s economy and cultural values.

In February 2022, many Poles spon­ta­neously helped those they believed to be refu­gees fleeing war and immi­nent danger, although most of the arri­vals came from areas not affected by war. Over the course of 13 months, Poland received at least 4.8 million Ukrai­nian immi­grants, repre­sen­ting nearly 14% of Poland’s pre-war popu­la­tion. This unpre­ce­dented popu­la­tion shock, combined with a lack of border control, opened the country to the possi­bi­lity of mafia and terro­rism, as seen during the 1999 Kosovo war. Rekas believes that this was another inva­sion orga­nized and directed by the Anglo-Saxon occu­p­iers under the guise of „huma­ni­ta­rian aid“.

Rekas examines the migra­tion crisis at Poland’s borders and compares it to the Kosovo conflict and NATO’s 1999 aggres­sion against Yugo­slavia. He also points out that Russia has accepted a signi­fi­cant number of refu­gees from the eastern, Russian-spea­king part of Ukraine and is bearing the costs of the imposed war without complai­ning or calling for amnesty.

He then argues that the influx of immi­grants is strai­ning the Polish welfare system and that revi­ving the economy through immi­gra­tion is not feasible. Rekas also expresses concern about the cultural indoc­tri­na­tion of Ukrai­nian immi­grants with Nazi ideo­logy and criti­cizes the current Ukrai­nian state and govern­ment for its neo-Nazi character. Rekas sees the mass migra­tion of Ukrai­nians to the Euro­pean Union as a desta­bi­li­zing factor and a threat to Euro­pean nations, and calls for action to counter what could be seen as a resur­gence of Nazism.

Marco Ghisetti, Ph.D. in World Poli­tics and Inter­na­tional Rela­tions and Philo­sophy, contri­butor to Eurasia maga­zine and director of the Clas­sici series at the Italian publisher Anteo Edizioni, aims to provide a macro-conti­nental perspec­tive on the crisis unfol­ding in Europe and the chal­lenges facing Euro­pean states. He believes that Europe is facing a process of deger­ma­niza­tion, which is dama­ging the economic engine of Germany and the stra­tegic and poli­tical auto­nomy of Europe and the EU. He argues that this process is taking place at a time when Russia and China have formed an alli­ance, and if Germany’s center of gravity shifts east­ward, it could under­mine American unipo­la­rity. The speaker also mentions the war in Ukraine and the rise of popu­list move­ments in Europe that are anti-German but pro-American.

Ghisetti notes that the current process of deger­ma­niza­tion in Europe is not the first time in Euro­pean history. He cites two previous ruined instances of Germa­niza­tion: the first was in the run-up to World War I, when Germany attempted to unite the Euro­pean space under its economic and poli­tical influence through initia­tives such as the Berlin-Byzan­tium-Baghdad railway. This led to the destruc­tion of many Euro­pean powers in a kind of Euro­pean civil war. The second instance was just before World War II, when Nazi Germany attempted to build a conti­nental bloc that included the Soviet Union and Japan against the Anglo-Saxon Empire. This also led to the even­tual destruc­tion of Germany and Europe as a whole.

The speaker further argues that after World War II, Europe became a poli­tical object and lost its agency due to its depen­dence on foreign powers such as the United States and the Soviet Union. The speaker notes that the current economic engine of Europe is Germany, and there is a strong push to move east­ward, which is being met with pres­sure from the United States. The speaker warns that if Europe is cut off from the economic processes of Eura­sian inte­gra­tion, it will lose all economic power and poli­tical agency, leading to its even­tual irrelevance.

Hans-Thomas Tilschneider, a member of the state parlia­ment from the Alter­na­tive for Germany party, spoke on the topic: „Islam in Europe, a factor of resis­tance or inse­cu­rity“. Accor­ding to him, since the USA declared war on terro­rism on September 9, 2001, the Islamic factor has been used as a tool for geopo­li­tical stra­te­gies. The U.S. goal is to weaken Europe through the Islamic factor, which Huntington sees as a cultural divide. The globa­list criti­cism of Islam is that it is not modern. On the other hand, there is a criti­cism of Isla­miza­tion, and these are two diffe­rent issues. The Islamic factor in Europe should not be seen as a weak­ness, but as a strength. Because most Muslims in Europe oppose American moder­nism and criti­cize US poli­cies. Muslims do not want a war with Russia and are against sending weapons to Ukraine. Ther­e­fore, the Islamic factor is not a weak­ness, but can become an advan­tage. Europe’s problems can be solved by cutting Europe’s ties with the USA. We should leave the American sector.

Stephan Ossen­kopp, a Schiller Insti­tute fellow from Germany, spoke on the topic: „Will Germany tole­rate deindus­tria­liza­tion or join global secu­rity and deve­lo­p­ment initia­tives?“ The U.S. is pushing for sanc­tions against Russia, which seem to have no effect because Russia is coope­ra­ting with China. Euro­pean sanc­tions have not hurt the Russian economy. Recently, a very important meeting was held in Moscow between Russian Presi­dent Vladimir Putin and Chinese Presi­dent Xi Jinping, where a number of agree­ments were signed between the two count­ries. The Russia-Africa Summit was also held in Moscow, attended by many presi­dents and offi­cials of African count­ries. So Russia is not isolated. It is neces­sary to return to sove­reignty and initia­tives for a new secu­rity archi­tec­ture. The German economy is suffe­ring enormous damage.

Kevork Alma­sian, an award-winning poli­tical commen­tator from Syria, spoke about the geopo­li­tics of Eurasia. In 2014, he was an anchor and producer at a media company in Lebanon. At that time, his imme­diate super­visor was a professor of inter­na­tional rela­tions and an expert in geopo­li­tics, prof. Jamal Vakim. When the Obama/Biden admi­nis­tra­tion staged a coup in Kiev, Vakim told him that „if World War III happens, it will start in Ukraine. Kevork Alma­sian began rese­ar­ching to under­stand the nature of the conflict and why Ukraine matters, and in 2015 he had the oppor­tu­nity to travel to Donetsk to see for himself. He wants to sum up the struggle for Ukraine in one word: it will be Eurasia. Today, attempts at Eura­sian unity outside the US umbrella are based on three pillars: Russia, China and Iran. One of the steps towards Eura­sian unity is the 1996 Shanghai Coope­ra­tion Orga­niza­tion, which covers about 60% of Eurasia. And with the process of Iran’s full member­ship in the SCO, which began in 2021, the three pillars of Eurasia have been completed. Kevork Alma­sian then talked about NATO, which was formed after World War II as a mili­tary alli­ance aimed at defea­ting the Soviet Union and forcing it to with­draw from East Germany and Eastern Europe. After the collapse of the USSR, contrary to James Baker’s promise to Mikhail Gorba­chev, NATO expanded east­ward, espe­ci­ally into the former Soviet states, to the borders of present-day Russia. Attempts to isolate the U.S., first from the USSR and then from Russia, did not stop in Eastern Europe. Kevork Alma­sian finally turned to Ukraine, which he believes is the most important geopo­li­tical conflict of our modern times, because it repres­ents one of the four bridges, inclu­ding France, Germany, and Poland. This bridge gives the USA access to the hearth of the world. On the other hand, Russia without Ukraine becomes a regional power and loses its Euro­pean dimen­sion, accor­ding to Brze­zinski. That is why Ukraine’s entry into NATO is a red line for Russia, because Ukraine will become the starting point for projec­ting US power into the heart of the world. Russia also believes that if Ukraine joins NATO or becomes a client state of the US, the latter will be able to project its power inside Russia and create internal conflicts and seek the balka­niza­tion of the Russian Federation.

Marco Filippi, an expert in crisis manage­ment and SME in AI and a mili­tary expert from Italy, deli­vered a message discus­sing the risks asso­ciated with the use of AI in Europe in the medium and long term due to the incre­asing reli­ance on AI in various areas during crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic. He mentioned the imme­diate threats to global secu­rity, such as the war in Eastern Europe and the poten­tial crisis in the Taiwan area, and the impact of the general senti­ment on the trai­ning of AI for commer­cial and specia­lized purposes in secu­rity forces, mili­tary and poli­tical decision making.

General senti­ment refers to the overall mood or feeling of a parti­cular group of people and can have a signi­fi­cant impact on AI trai­ning. If the senti­ment is nega­tive, it can lead to biased and flawed AI models. Incom­plete or biased data during times of crisis can also lead to flawed AI models, resul­ting in decis­ions that are not in the best inte­rest of those being helped. Senti­ment analysis is used in natural language proces­sing to extract subjec­tive infor­ma­tion from text, and it can also be used in mili­tary AI trai­ning to analyze senti­ment toward certain events or situa­tions. The use of senti­ment analysis in mili­tary AI trai­ning can be used to iden­tify bias in data, target propa­ganda to specific groups, and reco­gnize emotions in indi­vi­duals to predict behavior.

The use of AI in times of crisis raises ethical ques­tions about respon­si­bi­lity for decision-making and ensu­ring that decis­ions are made in the best inte­rests of society. It is important to consider the poten­tial unin­tended conse­quences of relying too heavily on AI, such as over­loo­king important factors that only human judgment can take into account, and losing the personal touch of essen­tial services when they are fully auto­mated. Filippi’s talk ended with the warning that once a light­ning strike occurs, it is too late.

In the final part of the round­table, final discus­sions were held on the migrant crisis and the Ukrai­nian conflict. The conclu­sion was that Europe should avoid American traps and confron­ta­tional poli­cies, but also take a diffe­rent approach to migra­tion policy. As for the Ukrai­nian conflict, the confe­rence parti­ci­pants believe that the US does not want a peaceful solu­tion for Ukraine and rejects peace initia­tives. They also believe that the supply of arms to Ukraine must stop and that Euro­pean count­ries should not be involved in fueling the conflict.




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