Successful opening of Mid-Winter Meeting

CIOR today opened its Mid-Winter Meeting (MWM), which normally takes place in Brussels. This time, however, the meeting took place on Zoom. The attendance was “record breaking”.

By: Roy Thorvaldsen, Lt. Col (R), Norwegian Army/ CIOR Public Affairs.

CIOR has excisted for 73 years, working tirelessly for international friendship, peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic area – representing the interests of up to 1,3 million reservists within the NATO alliance and beyond. Twice a year the member associations’ representatives meet on a large scale – during the Summer Congress, rotating between member nations, and the Mid-Winter Meeting, normally taking place at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

This time, due to Covid-19, the meeting was all virtual – for the first time ever. Nevertheless, more than 70 attendees had tuned in to participate in, or to follow, the deliberations of the CIOR Council, which consists of Heads of Delegations (formally known as Vice Presidents) from its 34 national, reservists’ organisations, supported by other delegation members. Other attendees include subject matter and activity organizing  committee chairmen.

This time, due to Covid-19, the CIOR Mid-Winter Meeting was all virtual – for the first time ever. Photo: Roy Thorvaldsen.

The opening speech of the CIOR President, German Navy Captain Jan Hörman, naturally focused on the special circumstances in which the organisation currently operates. Many reservists in the member associations’ home countries have been actively helping out during the pandemic, be it as border guards assisting the police, as medics – in military or civilian capacities – or otherwise.

Left meeting due to Mobilization

In fact, the UK Head of Delegation had to leave the meeting after the opening remarks, himself been mobilized to aid national relief efforts.

Anniversary Planning

Furthermore, the attention was on CIOR’s 75th anniversary coming up in 2023 – during the next, Estonian presidency. The organisation is one year older than NATO. Founded in 1948 by the reserve officer associations of Belgium, France and the Netherlands, CIOR is a NATO-affiliated, non-political and non-profit umbrella organization of member nations’ national reserve officer associations.

Celebrations should among other key efforts focus on publishing an anniversary book, and on developing an exhibition, to tour member nations’ capitals before being permanently put on display at NATO headquarters or another prominent place, the meeting suggested. To establish an anniversary medal of merit being another, along with a souvenir medal.

Developing key Partnerships

Two major partners of CIOR, NATO’s National Reserve Forces Committee (NRFC) and the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Non-Commissioned Officers (CISOR) presented their view on further developing relationships with CIOR, fostering mutually beneficial partnerships in the interests of both the individual reservists and the member nations’ reserve forces.

NRFC Chairman Michael H. Busse, Rear Admiral German Navy, on NRFC priorities.

– The CIOR president and I have very similar ideas, and I am keen to deepen the cooperation significantly, NRFC Chairman Michael H. Busse, Rear Admiral German Navy, said, during his remarks. – We’re on a path to success together, he said.

– NATO has two important driving factors, resilience and enablement, and all member nations have an increased dependency on reserve forces, Busse said.

Multinational Reserve Network

One project where NRFC has requested CIOR to consider taking over the responsibility for the Multinational Reserve Network (NMRN), iniated by Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation – one of NATO’s two strategic commands.

This initiative “contributes to effective utilisation of Alliance resources, leads to the development of improved reserve capabilities across NATO and promotes the meaningful contributions of national Reserve forces. Additionally, increased collaboration among multiple NATO Members’ Reserve forces further enhances the exchange of best practices/lessons learned and leads to the development of improved reserve capabilities across NATO. The Committee’s Members support this initiative and some of them provide reservists on a voluntary basis to the identified NATO requirements.”

CIOR’s stand on this is that it currently cannot take on such a large commitment alone, and assesses that the initiative is best served with a cooperation between CIOR and NRFC.