The International Society for Military Ethics in Europe
Leadership. Ethics. Service.

Annual Conference 2024: What makes European military ethics distinctive?

Venue: Tallinn, Estonia
Date: 22-24 May 2024

Download Programme here


Euro-ISME was created specifically to be a European forum for the promotion of both theoretical and applied military ethics. This was partly a response to a belief that a pan-European view of military ethics was distinctive and therefore needed to be evaluated and debated as widely as possible.

The ethical codes of most European armed forces are broadly similar, well-articulated and reinforced by sound training programmes. It has therefore proved difficult to define a definitive ‘European’ view that goes beyond seeking a lowest common denominator solution.

Furthermore, there are strong similarities to the ‘European’ view in the approaches to military ethics taken by countries as geographically distinct as the USA, Canada and Australia. Indeed, the key texts used by many European institutions for teaching are written by authors from those countries.



So is it therefore correct to talk about a ‘European’ view, or should we think in terms of a view that is common to many democratic developed countries and is independent of geography, even if there is a shared root in European philosophical and religious traditions?

We should also consider how such a view differs from other identifiably different views of military ethics. For example, such as Chinese, with its Confucian roots, Muslim with theocratic roots, Jewish with its Rabbinical roots, African with roots in traditional Ubuntu teachings and others and whether those differences matter.

What, if anything, does this mean for the conduct of future military operations? And what does it mean for the political appreciation of just cause, risk and necessity when leaders must decide whether to enter armed or other forms of conflict?

These questions were already assuming heightened relevance in the light of both Russia and China’s demonstrated antipathy to the established liberal world order and their desire to assert their influence within what they see as their own spheres of influence. The consequences of this approach for the avoidance, conduct and resolution of conflict at the strategic level are clear. But within this turbulent defence and security framework, can we assume that the primacy of just war doctrine as the yardstick for assessing the moral justification for conflict will be both universal and permanent?

These considerations are assuming even greater significance with the outbreak of a second war – between Israel and Hamas – a conflict riven with profound ethical issues, on Europe’s doorstep.

We should therefore anticipate a robust challenge to the traditional just war centric view of military ethics. This is a question that will be of importance for the world. It would therefore be a good starting point to define not only whether the European view of military ethics is indeed distinctive, and if it is, to learn its relevance to address the types of crises that we are now facing. and how best to defend it against the coming challenges.

Tartu. Picture Ireen Trummer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dates and venue

The conference will take place in Tallinn, Estonia.

On the eve of the conference, Tuesday May 21st, 2024 we will have an informal reception for all conference participants and their partners in the picturesque old inner city of Tallinn. The actual conference will take place at the Hotel Nordic Forum just outside the inner city of Tallinn; both locations are within a walking distance of each other. The conference will begin on Wednesday morning May 22nd, and it will end on Friday May 24th, around lunch time.

Tallinn is itself a popular venue for both tourists as well as other conferences and their participants. Thus, persons planning to participate in EuroISME’s conference are advised to book their hotel rooms at their earliest convenience. Hotels for which EuroISME has received a booking code with the possibility of a discount for participants, are:

  • Nordic Hotel Forum**** The Nordic Hotel Forum offers a 20% discount on the daily rate to attendees of the ISME Annual Conference 2024. This discount is applicable for stays between May 20th and May 27th, 2024. Bookings can be made directly via this online link choosing “ISME 2024 Special” or contacting us via e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. mentioning promotional code “ISME 2024”.
  • Hotel Tallink City****, standard room, one person, three nights € 99,- per night, booking code EUROISME24
  • Hotel Tallink Spa****, standard room, one person, three nights € 99,- per night, booking code EUROISME24

Please be advised that, if you book a room with the booking code and cancel later, then any potential cancellation fees charged by the hotel will be yours, not EuroISME’s. All discounts offered are subject to availability.


Please download the programme here (PDF). Be aware that it is still provisional and may be subject to minor changes.


Please register via the online form available at

Assistance with travel costs

EuroISME has a limited budget available for prospective presenters at our conference, who cannot attend for financial reasons. Details concerning the application for financial assistance can be found here Applicants shall bear in mind that all applications must be made before the deadline for submissions expires: 1 February 2024. Applicants will be informed of the decision by EuroISME whether the application has been accepted.

Visa and travel restrictions

Estonia is an EU member and part of the Schengen Area. Conference participants from outside the Schengen Area who need a formal invitation from EuroISME to apply for a visa, are advised to contact Ms. Ivana Gošić (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) bilaterally. Such participants are strongly advised to ask for a formal invitation from EuroISME no later than eight weeks in advance and to start their visa application as soon as possible. If you encounter problems with a visa application, then please contact us without delay, so that we can assess whether we can assist. Participants travelling from Russia should contact Ms. Ivana Gošić as soon as possible – certainly more than eight weeks in advance.

All participants are urged to check the COVID-19 regulations before travelling.


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