The European Values Center for Security Policy was founded in 2005 by a group of friends who wanted to publicly comment on the direction of European policy and the formulation of Czech interests after the accession of the Czech Republic to the European Union. The very first project of the European Values Center was an international petition campaign rejecting accession negotiations with Turkey. The lack of a strategic debate on the interests of the Czech Republic in the area of foreign and security policy following its joining the European Union and NATO also motivated its founders.
The growth of the European Values Center from a group of motivated students into a professional security center took place in three phases, during which the organization has hired and trained 500 employees.
Between 2005 and 2010, at the beginning of its work, the young team in addition to developing public debates, conferences, and summer schools, focused on European activities within the European Values Network, which taught young people to formulate specific political recommendations for the European Union. A small team consisting mainly of volunteers, with an annual budget of around three million crowns, sought mainly to contribute to the education of European policy and to the cultivation of Czech public debate.
Next, between 2011 and 2014, a generational change in the European Values Center welcomed young Czech experts with an array of individual sectoral backgrounds to research topics within the range of Czech membership in the European Union. The European Values Center nurtured the professional development of dozens of young people in the areas of European Values Center institutions, internal security and issues related to migration, radicalization, terrorism, and foreign and security policy. Many of them now work in Czech or international institutions.
We have strategically reconsidered our activities since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014. We have also established an intrinsic security specialization in radicalization, illegal migration, and terrorism, but in particular have established the Kremlin Watch Program, which draws attention toRussian influence and disinformation in its myriad forms. Our success in this security agenda was confirmed in 2016, when Czech security institutions invited us to audit national security institutions and co-authored Czech national policy addressing the influence of foreign powers.
Thanks to our focus on the hostile foreign pressure on European democracies, we have begun to build extensive expertise in this narrowly specialized agenda. Since 2016, our analysis and recommendations have been utilized by our allies’ security institutions, and for example were quoted by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We are regularly consulted by the largest global media, have briefed the NATO Political Committee, and host government representatives every year from more than 30 states at our programming for community specialists. Naturally, we have attracted the ire of those who support Russian interests in the Czech Republic, such as President Miloš Zeman, which only confirmed that our activities have an impact that bothers the enemies of Czech sovereignty.
Since 2019, we have run a new Security Strategy Program and the Red Watch, both obviating Chinese influence in Europe. We have grown in staff and transformed from a small group of students to a professional security center. Thanks to its narrowly profiled area, it has blossomed into one of the largest and most influential in Europe. European Values Center have come to this position not only thanks to the commitment of dozens of motivated young experts, but also thanks to the strategic vision of the generation of founders.
At the beginning of 2020, the European Values Center for Security Policy is one of the leaders in countering Russian and Chinese influence in Europe with activities and programming in Central Europe, Georgia, Ukraine, and the Western Balkans.