MSC 2014

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (left), MSC chairman Wolfgang Ischinger (center), and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during the MSC 2014 (Photo: Zwez).

The 50th Munich Security Conference took place from January 31 to February 2, 2014. Close to twenty heads of state and government and fifty foreign and defense ministers participated in the conference. German President Joachim Gauck opened the MSC with a widely noted speech. The German federal government was represented by Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, and Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière. Moreover, among many others, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and EU Council President Herman van Rompuy spoke and debated at the conference.

Videos of the debates and photos from the conference are available in our media library. The conference program and the list of participants are available in the right hand column under "MSC 2014". There you can also find information on our 50th conference anniversary, on our book "Towards Mutual Security. Fifty Years of Munich Security Conference", and our "storify" summary of the conference.


A video summary of the conference's highlights:


A small selection of reports and analyses on the debates in Munich:


"Spurred by Global Crises, Germany Weighs a More Muscular Foreign Policy" (Alison Smale, The New York Times, 2. Februar): "German leaders are pushing a vigorous new case that it is time for their nation to find a more muscular voice in foreign affairs, even suggesting that Germany should no longer reflexively avoid some military deployments, as it did in Libya almost three years ago. […] President Joachim Gauck sent the strongest signal yet of a possible change in direction with a speech late Friday at the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering that attracts an array of world leaders and defense experts and has historically been a forum for sharp policy debates."


"Kurs auf die Welt" (Jochen Bittner/Matthias Nass, Die Zeit, 6. Februar): "Es ist, auch mit einigem Abstand betrachtet, eine ziemliche Sensation, die sich da auf der Sicherheitskonferenz in München abgespielt hat. Drei unwahrscheinliche Verbündete – der Bundespräsident, ein ehemaliger Bürgerrechtler, der in sein Amt zurückgekehrte Außenminister, ein solider Sozialdemokrat, und die neue Verteidigungsministerin, eine der Modernisiererinnen der Union – haben gemeinsam nicht weniger als einen außenpolitischen Kurswechsel eingeleitet."


"Ukraine Unrest: EU and US Clash With Russia in Munich" (BBC News, 1. Februar): "Ukraine's future has sparked angry exchanges at a summit in Munich."


"Kerry And Hagel Defend U.S. Engagement Abroad" (Steven Erlanger/Thom Shanker, The New York Times, 1. Februar): "The American secretaries of state and defense on Saturday presented an emotional defense of the Obama administration’s engagement in international crises in the face of widespread European and Middle Eastern criticism that the United States was retreating from a leadership role. Speaking here at the Munich Security Conference, the most important trans-Atlantic security gathering, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed some exasperation with the criticism, rejecting 'this narrative which frankly has been pushed by some people who have an interest in trying to suggest that the U.S. is somehow on a different track.' He went through a litany of American involvement in places like Afghanistan, Libya and the Middle East, saying, 'I can’t think of a place in the world where we’re retreating.'"


"Israeli Officials Stay To Hear Iranian Minister's Presentation" (Karl Vick, Time Magazine, 3. Februar): "When Iran’s Foreign Minister took the stage at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday, Israel’s Minister of Defense made an unexpected decision. He opted to remain in his seat. The move – or, rather, the lack of a move – made headlines in Israel, where it was read as a diplomatic opening between the Jewish State and the Islamic Republic."


"How The EU Brought Serbia and Kosovo To A Deal" (Judy Dempsey, Carnegie, 2. Februar): "It was an incredible sight. For anyone who had spent time covering the Balkan wars of the 1990s, it was highly emotional to hear the EU’s policy chief, Catherine Ashton, chatting with Ivica Dačić, the prime minister of Serbia, and Hashim Thaçi, the prime minister of Kosovo. The three of them were facing participants during the third day of this year’s Munich Security Conference. There was no animosity, no trading of insults, no long monologues about history and past grievances. Instead, Ashton, unusually relaxed, conducted a fascinating conversation with Dačić and Thaçi over how and why they decided to end a centuries-old dispute and normalize relations."


"Les vétérans de la diplomatie tirent des leçons pour l'avenir" (Nicolas Barotte, Le Figaro, 2. Februar): "Pour fêter son 50e anniversaire, la Conférence sur la sécurité, qui réunit chaque année depuis 1963 les grands noms de la diplomatie, avait convoqué d'illustres vétérans, samedi à Munich, pour tirer du passé des leçons pour le présent." 


"Female Defence Ministers Pledge To Break Europe's Old Boys' Network" (Philip Olterman, The Guardian, 2. Februar): "Dutch politician tweets image of Norwegian, Swedish and German counterparts from Munich summit, saying 'things are changing'."


"Große Auftritte" (Michael Stürmer, Die Welt, 5. Februar): "So viel Drama wie am vergangenen Wochenende auf der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz haben die dort versammelten Teilnehmer lange nicht erlebt. Es war wie eine gedrängtes Welttheater, auf dessen Bühne nicht nur die Boten des Unheils, sondern auch die großen Akteure ihren Auftritt hatten."


"Takeaways from Munich 50" (Dmitri Trenin, Carnegie Moscow, 3. Februar): "The world's security summit is over. […] Munich has become the place for open dialogue and discrete exchanges on security issues around the world."


For an extensive German summary and analysis of the conference debates, please read Tobias Bunde's essay in the "Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik" (PDF). More reports and analyses from the conference from different media can be found under "News" on our homepage.