A European Zeitenwende? Russia’s war of aggression and evolving Strategic Cultures in Europe

kutsutilaisuus · SEMINAR · 22.03.2023 10:00 - 11:30


The return of war on the continent has prompted European governments to rethink their security and defence policies. Last year, for example, Germany announced a sizeable investment into its armed forces, Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership and the EU took a historic step to fund national provisions of arms and other lethal material through the European Peace Facility to support Ukraine. At the same time, however, the Russian illegal war of aggression also laid bare how dependent Europe remains on US security support and guarantees. For some countries, the adjustment to new security realities is slow. Given these dynamics, how far-reaching and sustainable is the European Zeitenwende in defence? What is the prospect for an emerging European strategic culture in the wake of the war?  

This FIIA seminar invites leading security and defence policy experts to address these questions and to offer insights into the national debates of Finland’s partner countries. The seminar marks the launch of the Academy of Finland-funded research project “Transforming strategic cultures in contemporary Europe – STRAX” – a joint project by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Tampere University, and the Finnish National Defence University.  


Opening remarks:
Hanna Ojanen, STRAX consortium leader & Research Director, Tampere University


Heiko Biehl, Research Director, Center for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr 

Olivier de France, Senior Research Fellow, The French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs 

Malena Britz, Head of Research, Swedish Defence University 



Bastian Giegerich, Director of Defence and Military Analysis, International Institute for Strategic Studies 

Mai’a K. Davis Cross, Dean’s Professor, Northeastern University



Niklas Helwig, Leading Researcher, FIIA


Opening remarks

Hanna Ojanen

STRAX consortium leader & Research Director, Tampere University

Hanna Ojanen leads the STRAX consortium. She works as Research Director at the Faculty of Management and Business at Tampere University. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Warfare at the Finnish National Defence University. She holds a doctorate in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute (EUI). Her research interests focus on European security and defence, EU-NATO relations and Nordic countries’ security policy.

Her publications include ‘Finland and Sweden in NATO: the potential of new security providers’. Policy Brief 18, NATO Defence College (2022), "NATO and the EU’s Strength Lies in Their Unity" Carnegie Europe (2022), and, together with Päivi Leino-Sandberg, "Time for Military Integration in the EU? Armed aggression and the scope of Article 42 TEU", Verfassungsblog (2022).

She is also the author of "The EU’s engagement with international organisations. NATO’s impact on the making of EU security policy", with Roberta N. Haar, Thomas Christiansen, Sabina Lange and Sophie Vanhoonacker (eds.) in Routledge (2021), "The Making of European Security Policy. Between Institutional Dynamics and Global Challenges" in Routledge (2021), and "The EU’s Power in Inter-Organisational Relations" in Palgrave Macmillan (2018).


Heiko Biehl

Research Director, Bundeswehr Center of Military History and Social Sciences

Heiko Biehl is the Acting Head of Research at the Bundeswehr Center of Military History and Social Sciences in Potsdam. His fields of interest include military sociology, political sociology, public opinion, and strategic cultures. He has recently published "Just Paying Lip Service? Public Trust and Public Support for Armed Forces in Germany" in Armed Forces & Society (2023) and co-edited "Empirical Social Research in and on the Armed Forces. Comparative and National Perspectives" with M. Elbe, M. Steinbrecher and H. Biehl in Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag (2022).

Olivier de France

Senior Research Fellow, The French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs

Olivier de France is a Senior Research Fellow at The French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs. He is also a Dahrendorf Scholar at Saint Antony’s College, Oxford, where he specializes in European political theory. De France teaches courses on European geopolitics at the Sorbonne and political theory at Paris VII University. He was educated in the humanities at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and has previously held scholarships at Balliol College, Oxford as a Fontenay Scholar, and at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge as a Corpus Christi Scholar. His first book, "The Geopolitics of Europe", was published by Eyrolles and was shortlisted for the Jacques Delors Prize for Better Understanding of Europe.

Malena Britz

Head of Research, Swedish Defence University

Malena Britz is the Head of Research at the Swedish Defence University. She holds a PhD from Stockholm University (2004) and is Associate Professor in Political Science at the Swedish Defence University, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of Research.

Her areas of research include different aspects of European security policy, Europeanisation, and Nordic co-operation. She has studied different aspects of security policy from defence industry policy, development of EU security and defence, European states' participation in international operations, as well as international aspects of civil protection.


Bastian Giegerich

Director of Defence and Military Analysis, International Institute for Strategic Studies

Bastian Giegerich is the Director of Defence and Military Analysis at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), where he leads the research team that produces the IISS annual flagship publication "The Military Balance", oversees the development of the Military Balance+ online database, and contributes to research and consultancy work. From 2010–15, Bastian worked for the German Federal Ministry of Defence in research and policy roles while also serving as the IISS Consulting Senior Fellow for European Security. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Potsdam and a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He is the author of several books on European security and defence matters, most recently, with Maximilian Terhalle, "The Responsibility to Defend: Rethinking Germany’s Strategic Culture" (Routledge, 2021). Bastian held a Fulbright Fellowship during the 1999–2000 academic year, which he spent at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD.

Mai’a K. Davis Cross

Dean’s Professor, Northeastern University

Mai'a K. Davis Cross is the Dean’s Professor of Political Science, International Affairs, and Diplomacy and Director of the Center for International Affairs and World Cultures at Northeastern University. She is the author or editor of six books, including “International Cooperation Against All Odds: The Ultrasocial World” (Oxford University Press, in press), “European-Russian Power Relations in Turbulent Times” (University of Michigan Press, 2021) and “The Politics of Crisis in Europe” (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Her second book, “Security Integration in Europe: How Knowledge-based Networks are Transforming the European Union” (University of Michigan Press, 2011), is the 2012 winner of the Best Book Prize from the University Association of Contemporary European Studies. Professor Cross has published on a wide range of topics related to European politics, especially foreign and security policy, the transatlantic relationship, diplomacy, and public diplomacy. She holds a PhD in Politics from Princeton University and a bachelor's degree in Government from Harvard University. She is also a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Niklas Helwig

Leading Researcher, The Finnish Institute of International Affairs

Niklas Helwig is a Leading Researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. He is also an Adjunct Professor in International Relations at Tampere University. His research focuses on EU foreign and security policy, German foreign and security policy, as well as EU-US relations. He currently leads an Academy of Finland-funded sub-project on “Transforming strategic cultures in contemporary Europe” (STRAX).

He worked at various think tanks in Europe and the US, including the RAND Corporation in Arlington VA, the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin and the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels. He was a DAAD Fellow at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies in Washington D.C. in 2018.

Niklas has published extensively in peer-reviewed academic journals and served as editor of special issues of German Politics and European Foreign Affairs Review. He has written policy analyses for government and non-profit organisations including the US Army and Air Force, the Finnish and German Government, and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. His journalistic articles appeared for example in Die Zeit, Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft, War on the Rocks and Euractiv.

Niklas completed his PhD on the transformation of European foreign and security policy after the Lisbon treaty at the Universities of Cologne and Edinburgh. He holds a Master in Economics from the University of Cologne.