Core Group Meetings

MSC Core Group Meeting in Minsk (2018)

Discussion among articipants at the Core Group Meeting in Minsk (Photo: MSC / Kuhlmann)

Mutual trust between East and West has eroded to the lowest point since the end of the Cold War. This has severe implications for countries in Eastern Europe – the so-called "in-between states" – and in the Western Balkans. Both regions are in many terms in limbo regarding their regional integration while the risk of escalation due to miscalculations or misperceptions is rising steadily. Offering a platform for informal dialogue in this tension-ridden climate, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) convened high-level decision-makers for its Core Group Meeting in Minsk, Belarus, on October 31 and November 1, 2018. Participants explored options for some of the region's most pressing strategic challenges, including the erosion of arms control agreements and the persistence of regional conflicts.

The select group of more than 100 prominent representatives of governments, militaries, the intelligence community, business, and academia included: Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus; Armen Sarkissian, President of the Republic of Armenia; Jacek Czaputowicz, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland; Thomas Greminger, OSCE Secretary General; Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiation; Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, and Gyde Jensen, Chairwoman of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid in the German Bundestag.

For more about the discussions at the Core Group Meeting in Minsk, read our summary report. You can find a selection of photo impressions from the event in our media library.

About the MSC Core Group Meetings

Besides its annual flagship conference in Munich, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) regularly organizes high-profile events around the world. In order to cover regional topics, the MSC links with national governments and prominent local partners to host its "Core Group Meetings" in capitals around the world.

Limited to a select group of high-level participants, the MSC Core Group Meeting provides an intensive setting for senior decision-makers from around the globe – including heads of governments and international organizations, ministers, leading parliamentarians, heads of NGOs, CEOs as well as journalists – to discuss regional security issues and foster personal relationships.

Previous meetings have taken place in Washington, DC (three times), Moscow, Beijing (twice), Doha, Minsk, New Delhi, Vienna, Tehran, and Addis Ababa.

Past Core Group Meetings

MSC Core Group Meeting in Washington (2017)

On May 9 and 10, 2017, the Munich Security Conference Core Group Meeting took place in Washington, DC, for the third time. The conference was an opportunity for senior European decision-makers and parliamentarians to discuss current transatlantic challenges in foreign and security policy with leaders from the Trump administration. In addition to NATO and transatlantic relations, the conference agenda featured security in Eastern Europe, the war in Syria, counter-terrorism and threats to liberal democracy in the digital age.

Among the high-level participants were the prime ministers of Montenegro, Duško Marković, and of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, as well as the foreign ministers of Estonia, Norway, Finland, Georgia, Latvia, Moldova, Slovakia, and Ukraine. The United States were represented, among others, by John Kelly (Secretary of Homeland Security), Dan Coats (Director of National Intelligence), Mike Pompeo (CIA Director) as well as by several senators and congressmen, including Senate Armed Service Committee chairman John McCain and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker. German participants included Ralf Brauksiepe, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Defense, as well as several members of parliament.

For further information and insights, read the concluding report and browse the photo gallery.

MSC Core Group Meeting in Beijing (2016)

At the invitation of the Chinese government, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) hosted a Core Group Meeting in Beijing on November 2 and 3. After 2011, this was the second MSC event in the Chinese capital. Topics of the Core Group Meeting, which was co-organized by the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPFIA), included regional security in the Asia-Pacific, China's role in the global security order, and the geopolitical implications of the "New Silk Road".

Chinese participants included Li Yuanchao, the Chinese Vice President, Zhang Yesui, the Executive Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fu Ying, Chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress, Jin Liqun, President of the Asian Infrastucture Investment Bank, and many others.

More infos on the event here: a conference report, a selection of photos as well as an opinion piece by MSC Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger on the occasion of the event.

MSC Core Group Meeting in Addis Ababa (2016)

On April 14/15, the MSC hosted the first Core Group Meeting on the African continent. The joint fight against violent extremism, the crises in Northern and Eastern Africa, as well as the dangers posed by epidemics and climate change were among the central topics of the two-day event in Addis Ababa.

Among the high-ranking participants from Africa, Europe, and the U.S. were Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, the Chairman of the Tana Forum Olusegun Obasanjo, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former German Federal President Horst Köhler as well as several foreign and defense ministers and leaders from NGOs and international organizations.

You may view a photo gallery with impressions from the event in our media library. Take a look at our storify summary, our conference report and selected speeches. To read an op-ed by former Nigerian President and Chairman of the Tana Forum Olusegun Obasanjo, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and MSC Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger, published by Project Syndicate on the occasion of the CGM, click here.

MSC Core Group Meeting in Tehran (2015)

On October 17, the MSC, together with the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) and in cooperation with the governments of Germany and Iran, hosted a Core Group Meeting in Tehran.


An exclusive group of around 60 participants, including German Foreign Minister Steinmeier and his Iranian and Lebanese counterparts Zarif and Gibran, debated the implementation of the Vienna agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, its implications from an economic and energy policy perspective, Tehran’s regional role as well as the war in Syria and the state of the security architecture in the Middle East.


For more info, take a look at our preview and our concluding report. Photos and videos, including a highlight video as well as the speeches by Foreign Ministers Steinmeier and Zarif, can be found in our media library and on YouTube. Follow this link for the full text of German Foreign Minister Steinmeier's speech.

MSC Core Group Meeting in Vienna (2015)

On June 16 and 17, senior leaders gathered in Vienna to discuss critical challenges to European security. The "MSC Core Group Meeting" was held in cooperation with the Austrian federal government and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Key topics included the Ukraine crisis as well as the future relationship with Russia. For more info about the Core Group Meeting, take a look at our report.

MSC Core Group Meeting in New Delhi (2014)

On October 21 and 22, the MSC hosted a Core Group Meeting in New Delhi in partnership with the Indian Observer Research Foundation. The conference focused on issues of global governance and regional security challenges, including the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. More info here.

MSC Core Group Meeting in Washington, D.C. (2013)

The Munich Security Conference continued its "MSC Core Group Meetings" with a conference in Washington, D.C. on November 5 and 6, 2013. The state and future of the transatlantic relationship was at the heart of the debate. More info in the conference report.

MSC Core Group Meeting in Doha (2013)

On May 22, 2013, the MSC Core Group held a meeting in Doha, Qatar, focusing on the wider Middle East. Participants included the Yemeni politician and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkul Karman as well as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani. More info in our conference report.

MSC Core Group Meeting in Beijing (2011)

The 2011 edition of the MSC Core Group meeting convened in Beijing on November 20 and 21, 2011 for a discussion of key issues in international security as well as global governance with senior participants from Europe, China and the United States. More info here

MSC Core Group Meeting in Moscow (2010)

The 2010 MSC Core Group Meeting in Moscow focused on discussions about a closer integration of Russia into European and global security architectures and the development of a Euro-Atlantic security community. For more info on the Core Group Meeting, take a look at our report.

MSC Core Group Meeting in Washington, D.C. (2009)

The inaugural MSC Core Group Meeting took place in Washington, D.C. in November of 2009 and focused on debates on the state and the future of the transatlantic relationship after the election of Barack Obama. More info here.