It is with great pleasure that I introduce this latest edition of our Periscope to you. As value partners, Germany and Australia share a similar overall approach based on their common value basis but how ’cybersecurity is done’ at the policy level varies – and it is important to examine the key differences in these approaches in order to capture the nuances and multi-facetted nature of these perspectives.
This focus is especially salient against the backdrop of a globalised and interdependent world, where economic well-being, political stability and security are interlinked.
After the success of our first Australia-Germany Cybersecurity Dialogue in Canberra in 2018, for the 2019 dialogue we took a stellar group of Australian experts to Berlin and Brussels. The delegation engaged in various thematic roundtables and meetings at relevant ministries and institutions to examine current challenges and explore possible solutions based on bi-lateral and multi-lateral cooperation. The focus was on how to best manage emerging challenges based on multifaceted approaches, strategic assessments and answers that are responsive to the respective geopolitical, socio-political and economic contexts from which these arise. For this end, a variety of institutions and viewpoints were selected – in Germany this included the relevant government departments, the Bundestag, think tanks and industry. In Brussels, meetings were held at the EU level, such as the European Commission (Directorate-General Communications Network, Content and Technology), with various policy experts, academics and also industry representatives as well as the Cyber Defence Section at NATO headquarters.
In particular, one key objective was to assess how Australia and Germany/Europe may take similar or different approaches, looking at the varied circumstances they may encounter in specific areas. Accordingly, the value of the meetings lies in an exchange of perspectives especially when there are diverging approaches such as for example in the German and Australian policy responses to the rollout of 5G and the management of so-called ‘high/risk’ vendors.
This is especially important seeing that liberal democracy is under pressure globally, from systemic challenges to existing values and orders which translates into a waning faith in multilateralism and international institutions. In responding to such challenges, there is an increased need for cooperation between like-minded nations who can work together to uphold the principles underpinning the liberal architecture.
This is done by devising frameworks and policies that reflect this normative foundation and offer solutions to the pressing problems of our time.
On the European level, it is more important than ever that the new EU Commission has taken up its work with a clear ‘geopolitical dimension’ and quest for ‘strategic autonomy’, also having to face new regional security challenges such as climate sustainability and digital transformation. Likewise, for Australia – as a key player in the Asia-Pacific – questions of regional leadership, institution-building and integration are of paramount importance to ensure continued geopolitical and geo-economic stability, security and prosperity.
The Konrad Adenauer Foundation is committed to enhancing understanding of the drivers of these global developments and promote knowledge-sharing and dialogue among key stakeholders in the political process. It is my hope that our latest Periscope edition actively contributes to this goal.