MSC 2013

The conference hall at Hotel Bayerischer Hof (Photo: MSC / Plitt).

In early February, the world again looked towards Munich. In an interview with the news agency dpa, Chairman Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger gave a first preview of topics and participants of the 49th Munich Security Conference, which took place from 1 to 3 February at Hotel Bayerischer Hof.

As in 2009, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was the most prominent guest. Ischinger said that he was pleased to receive Biden at the conference. Four years ago, Biden gave a widely noted speech, announcing a "reset" in the relations between the United States and Russia.

Other high-ranking guests include Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso as well as several heads of state and government and more than 50 foreign and defense ministers from around the world. Also among the participants are Fatou Bensouda, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor and Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The German government was represented by Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, and Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich.

Among the more than 70 government delegations expected in Munich were also representatives from countries such as China and Brazil – represented through its Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota – as well as India and Nigeria. In addition, government representatives from Egypt, Turkey, and Qatar, represented through Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, came to Munich.
Also CEOs of large corporations were once again present in Munich. Apart from the new Deutsche Bank co-CEO Anshu Jain, the CEO of Allianz, Michael Diekmann, Deutsche Telekom CEO René Obermann, and the chairman of the board of the oil company Shell, Jorma Ollila were also present.

Topics included the crises in Mali and Syria, transatlantic cooperation within the NATO, the role of rising power in international security, the future of Europe and the eurozone, cyber security and the responsibility to protect.

On the topic of Syria, one of the main issues of the conference, Ischinger invited UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. Representatives of the Syrian opposition were also invited. Ischinger called the conflict in Syria an "extraordinarily unsatisfactory topic" of current world politics, a topic "that is of the deepest concern." At the MSC it should be discussed why the world powers are currently not able to deal responsibly with the issue, he said.