European Defence Series

European Defence Roundtable Berlin (2017)

Over 50 senior decision-makers and experts gathered for the European Defence Roundtable in Berlin on November 30 (Photo: MSC / Kuhlmann)

"The time of hot air in the European debate on defense is coming to an end," MSC Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger, referring to recent progress in European defense cooperation, said at the outset of the MSC's public event on European defense integration, which was attended by more than 300 interested members of the public.

To contribute to this debate, the MSC, in cooperation with McKinsey & Company and the Centre for International Security Policy at the Hertie School of Governance, released a report titled "More European, More Capable and More Connected: Building the European Armed Forces of the Future". By looking at and behind the numbers, the report includes in-depth analyses and policy recommendations for decision-makers in terms of spending defense budgets more efficiently (read the full report here). The MSC's public launch event for the report served to present its key findings and discuss them with a number of distinguished panelists.

Pre-release coverage of the report included a feature article in Der Spiegel and a piece by Politico. MSC Chairman and former McKinsey executive Frank Mattern also authored an op-ed in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on the report's implications, an english version of which is in our November Monthly Mind column.

Following the public discussion, in the off-the-record European Defence Roundtable, about 50 representatives from politics, the military, think tanks, and the defense sector came together to discuss the current state and prospects of European defense cooperation. Notable participants included Nathalie Tocci, Director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali, and author of the EU's Global Strategy, Sir Christopher Harper, former Director General of the International Military Staff of NATO, Norbert Röttgen, foreign policy expert of the CDU and Member of the German Bundestag, Horst-Heinrich Brauss, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defense Policy and Planning, and Tomasz Szatkowski, Undersecretary of State in the polish Ministry of National Defense.

European Defence and the MSC

Besides its annual flagship conference in Munich, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) Foundation regularly organizes high-profile events around the world. These events include summits and roundtables dedicated to a particular thematic focus like European Defence, Energy Security, Cyber Security, and Health Security.

The future of European defence has traditionally been one of the major topics of the Munich Security Conference. In 2013, the MSC, together with its knowledge partner McKinsey & Company, launched a conference series of the same name. Since then, numerous events have addressed European defense challenges and have contributed to debating the goal of a deeper, much more impactful European cooperation in security and defense.


European Defence Summits

A centerpiece of the MSC's defense activities is the European Defence Summit (EDS), a 24h discussion format for approximately 150 senior decision­makers from politics, the military, the private sector as well as leading researchers. The first European Defence Summit took place in 2013 in Berlin. You may download a McKinsey & Company analysis on savings potentials through more pooling and sharing of military assets, prepared for the 2013 summit, here. Also read an op-ed by Wolfgang Ischinger, "A Make or Break Moment for European Defense and Security," written during the launch of the MSC's European Defence Series.

In September 2015, the second EDS brought together senior leaders in Brussels to discuss the future of European defence in the face of numerous conflicts and crises in and around Europe. Photos and videos from the event can be found in our media library. For more info, take a look at our press release, the full text of the EDS opening statement, the concluding report and an opinion piece by Wolfgang Ischinger on the occasion of the summit.


European Defence Roundtables

The EDS is complemented by European Defence Roundtables (EDR), taking place in different cities throughout Europe and gathering not more than 35 senior representatives from politics, the military and the defence industry. As with other MSC roundtables, discussions at the EDR are private and off the record, facilitating an open debate in an intimate atmosphere. A series of roundtables in Berlin in 2013 and 2015, and on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference 2016 have offered the opportunity to discuss issues of European defence cooperation from a German perspective. Members of parliament, representatives of the federal government, the armed forces, defense industry representatives as well as independent experts debated how security and defense policy in Europe can be organized more effectively and more sensibly. The last three European Defence Roundtables took place at the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Warsaw on July 7, 2016, during the Munich Security Conference 2017, an on April 25, 2017, in Malta.


Other Activities on European Defence

In addition, European defence cooperation also plays an important role at other MSC activities. Particularly during the annual conference in Munich, it has regularly taken center stage at panel discussions and numerous side events.



Past Events

European Defence Roundtable Malta (2017)

On April 25, 2017, the eve of the informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers in Malta, the European Defence Roundtable brought together around 20 female decision-makers from government, parliaments, and civil society for a frank and open roundtable debate on the state and future of European defence.

The event took place under the patronage of Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta and of the Council of the European Union, and was jointly hosted by the Women Political Leaders Global Forum (WPL) and the Munich Security Conference (MSC).

Click here to read the full conference report.

European Defence Roundtable in Warsaw (2016)

On the eve of the NATO summit, the MSC's European Defence Roundtable brought together a small group of senior decision-makers in order to debate the summit's key topics in a private, off-the-record setting.

Participants of the event, which was organized with support of Leonardo, included several Foreign and Defence Ministers from Northern and Eastern Europe, CEOs as well as senior NATO leaders.

Click here for a summary of the debates. Also read Wolfgang Ischinger's essay "The Russia Paradox", published on the occasion of the NATO summit.

European Defence Summit in Brussels (2015)

On 15 & 16 September 2015, the MSC hosted its second European Defence Summit in Brussels. More than 200 decision-makers from politics, the armed forces and the business community gathered in the European capital to debate the future of European defence against the backdrop of the numerous crises and conflicts in and around Europe.

Participants included NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Jean-Paul Paloméros, General Patrick de Rousiers, chairman of the EU Military Committee, several defence ministers as well as numerous state secretaries and parliamentarians.

Photos and videos of the event can be found in our media library. For more info, take a look at the press release, the opening statement, the concluding report, as well as an opinion piece by Wolfgang Ischinger, published on the occasion of the Summit.

European Defence Summit in Berlin (2013)

A first summit on 25/26 April 2013 in Berlin aimed at giving impulses to European "Pooling & Sharing". In addition to former French Prime Minister François Fillon and NATO SACEUR Admiral James Stavridis, the meeting featured senior representatives of the German Government, members of the Bundestag, EU decision-makers, a number of state secretaries from key European states as well as representatives of NATO, EU, and the European Defence Agency. Moreover, high-ranking military and industry leaders such as General Hans-Lothar Domröse, Commander of the Allied Joint Force Command, the highest EU military representative General Patrick de Rousiers and EADS CEO Dr. Thomas Enders as well as leading academics and researchers from European think tanks and research institutions took part in the debates.

A brief report from our "The Future of European Defence Summit" is available here. Also, a McKinsey & Company report on saving potentials and other areas of improvement in European defence, prepared over the course of our 2013 events, is available for download.