In September 2022, BASIC held a track 1.5 workshop in Sofia to discuss risk and threat assessments in South-eastern and Northern Europe. The workshop is part of the two-year project ‘Phase 2: Applying a Systematic Approach to NATO-Russia Risk Reduction’ that BASIC is undertaking in collaboration with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Phase two complements and builds upon the lessons of Phase one (2019-2020) that explored risk and threat assessments in relation to the potential nuclear and conventional escalation primarily among Western NATO member-states. The main finding in Phase one was that the political tensions between Russia and NATO members were at the core of the current and near-future nuclear risks in Europe.
Phase two set out to continue this work of mapping and exploring risk assessments and risk reduction steps in two strands of track 1.5 dialogues with experts and officials from NATO’s North-eastern and South-eastern flank countries and Russia. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, BASIC has not engaged Russian government officials, although we have maintained our cooperation with Russian experts.
The workshop was held under Chatham House Rule and was attended by official representatives and experts from Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Finland and Sweden. BASIC would like to thank all participants for taking the time to share their thoughts and assessments with us.