(c) Hartmut Voigt

Event Reports

2nd Australia-Germany Cybersecurity Dialogue, Berlin and Brussels, June 24 – 28 2019

by Katja Theodorakis
After the success of our first Australia-Germany Cybersecurity Dialogue in Canberra in 2018, for this year’s dialogue we took a group of Australian experts to Berlin and Brussels. The delegation engaged in theme-focused roundtables and bilateral meetings at relevant ministries and institutions in Berlin and Brussels to examine current challenges and how to best manage them based on multifaceted approaches and bi-lateral/multi-lateral cooperation.

The Australian experts included Dr Leslie Seebeck - Chief Executive of the Australian National University’s (ANU) new Cyber Institute; Fergus Hanson - Director of the Austyralian Strategic Policy Institute’s (ASPI) International Cyber Policy Centre; Rachael Falk - Chief Executive of the Australian Cyber Research Council; & Prof Lyria Bennett Moses - Director of the Allen's Hub for Technology, Law & Innovation at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). They analysed current challenges and discussed them with their German-European counterparts through a variety of bilateral meetings and roundtables at relevant institutions and ministries. The focus was on how to best manage these emerging challenges based on strategic assessments and solutions that are responsive to the respective geopolitical, socio-political and economic contexts from which they arise. One key objective was to assess how Australia and Germany/Europe may take similar or different approaches, due to the varied circumstances they encountered in these 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 role of so-called ‘high/risk’ vendors like Huawei. 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.

For this reason, a variety of institutions and viewpoints were selected – in Germany this included relevant government departments, the Bundestag, think tanks and industry:

  • Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (BDI)
  • Bundestag (with MP Tankred Schipanski, Digital policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU faction)
  • The Federal Chancellery
  • The Federal Foreign Office (with Cyber Ambassador Dr. Thomas Fitschen)
  • Think Tank “Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik” (SWP)
  • Think Tank Stiftung Neue Verantwortung“
  • Ministry of Defence
  • Digital Society Institute (at the ESMT), roundtab;e with experts that also included speakers from the BSI)
  • Ministry of the Interior (Parliamentary State Secretary Prof. Dr. Günther Krings)

In Brussels, meetings were held with:

  • The Office of the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
  • Digital Europe ( Trade Association representing the digital technology industry in Europe)
  • European Commission (Directorate-general Communications Network, Content and Technology)
  • Various policy experts, academics and government and also industry representatives
  • NATO headquarters (Cyber Defence Section)

The challenge of cybersecurity therefore requires interconnected, holistic perspectives and approaches. Germany and Australia are well-positioned to take these discussions further in order to build strong partnerships in this area.

Contact Person

Katja Theodorakis

Programme Manager Foreign/Security Policy and Counter/Terrorism