Belgium is set to join the NATO Cooperative Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) as a sponsoring nation, the alliance said Friday.

A delegation from Belgium visited the center in Tallinn, Estonia, beginning last week to start accession negotiations.


The center is a NATO-accredited knowledge hub based in Tallinn, Estonia, that focuses on interdisciplinary applied research and development. It includes consultations, trainings, and information-sharing among NATO, allies, and partners in cyber defense.

“Belgium is a key contributor to European cyber security. In addition to hosting several international institutions, they are fundamental to several cyber defense cooperation efforts in NATO and the European Union,” Sven Sakkov, Director of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, said in a statement.

“We warmly welcome Belgium’s decision and hope for an expeditious accession process,” Sakkov added.

Belgian government respresentatives also looked forward to fully joining the CCDCOE.

“Belgian Defense is honoured being accepted as a member of the CCDCOE. Cyber defense is a top priority of the Belgian Government,” Col. Gunther De Kerpel, a member of the Strategic Affairs Department of the Belgian Defence Staff, said.

“Belgian Defence will very soon add deeds to words by sending a proficient cyber defense specialist to Tallinn,” De Kerpel added.

The CCDCOE is staffed and financed by sponsoring nations and contributing participants. Membership is open to all NATO members with sponsoring nations currently including the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Contributing participants, currently consisting of Austria and Finland, is the status available for non-NATO members to join the center.