The 51st Munich Security Conference took place from 6 to 8 February 2015. Over 400 renowned decision-makers in international politics, including about twenty heads of state and government and more than sixty foreign and defense ministers, came together to discuss current and future issues in foreign and security policy. German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as well as many other high-ranking participants discussed the collapse of the international order in view of the crisis in Ukraine and its implication for the European security architecture as well as the deriorating situation in the Middle East. The global refugees crisis and the fight against terrorism were also among the top issues on the agenda.
Videos of the debates and photos from the conference can be found in our media library. The conference program and the list of participants are available in the right hand column under "MSC 2015". There you can also find information on the Munich Security Report, which was first published in 2015 as an annual digest on critical questions and important trends in the field of international security policy.
A video summary of the conference's highlights:
A small selection of reports and analyses on the debates in Munich:
"Munich Security Conference 2015 - Key security challenges ahead" (Carmen-Cristina Cirlig, European Parliament Research Service Briefing, February 19): "[W]orld leaders, former and current politicians, as well as media and civil society representatives gathered for the 51st Munich Security Conference (MSC), an increasingly important forum for debate and exchange of views among the world's security community. [...] The underlying theme of the conference focused on the dangers of a collapse in the global order, of its institutions and, most importantly, of the principles on which it has been built since the Second World War."
"United Against Putin, Divided on How to Stop Him" (Serge Schmemann, International New York Times, February 10) "It was at the venerable Munich Security Conference in 2007 that Vladimir Putin first sounded the resentful Cold War blast that now defines his foreign policy, bitterly accusing the United States of seeking a monopoly on global power. Subsequent Munich conferences were marked by desultory efforts to 'reset' the relationship, to maintain the appearance at least of collegiality. All that was before Ukraine. At the security conference this past weekend in a bitterly cold Bavarian capital, the talk in the hall packed with generals, defense ministers, lawmakers and senior politicians was not of Russia’s place in a European security order."
"Western Illusions Over Ukraine" (Roger Cohen, New York Times, February 9) "Lavrov’s performance here reflected the alternate universe in which the Russian spaceship has docked almost a quarter-century after the collapse of the Soviet Union. George Orwell’s doublethink scarcely begins to describe his assertions."
"Proceed with Caution on Iranian Diplomacy" (David Ignatius, Washington Post, February 9) "Sitting next to Iran’s foreign minister on Sunday as he said that another extension of the nuclear talks isn't 'in the interests of anybody,' it seemed clear that this particular can isn't going to get kicked down the road much farther."
"Spotlight: Munich meeting ends with Europe-U.S. clash over Ukraine" (Tang Zhiqiang/He Mengshu, Xinhua, February 9) "The just-concluded Munich Security Conference underlined international security cooperation, yet divergences over the Ukraine crisis remain - not only between the West and Russia, but also inside the Western camp. The meeting, which closed Sunday, saw Europe and the United States at odds over whether to offer arms to the Ukrainian government to support its battle against independence-seeking insurgents in the eastern part of the country."
"Deadline Nearing, Iran Presses for Progress in Nuclear Talks" (Michael R. Gordon/Steven Erlanger, New York Times, February 9) "Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said Sunday that Tehran did not favor another extension of the talks on limiting its nuclear program and expected economic sanctions to be quickly lifted if an accord was reached."
Europe Pushes for Diplomatic Solution in Ukraine Amid Calls for Arming Kiev (Anton Troianovski/Laurence Norman/Julian Barnes, The Wall Street Journal, February 9) "Munich - The diplomatic scramble to calm the resurgent Ukraine crisis spilled into the open here on Saturday, as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko urged an immediate cease-fire, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel countered calls from some U.S. senators for the West to deliver weapons to Ukraine."
"Crisis in Ukraine Underscores Opposing Lessons of Cold War" (Alison Smale, New York Times, February 8) "The Cold War is history, but its spirit this weekend stalked the security conference held here each winter for the past 51 years."
"Russia, West face a deep divide" (Nina Werkhäuser, Deutsche Welle, February 8) "On this cold winter morning in Munich, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sat alone on the podium, welcomed by scant applause. Only former German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, head of the Munich Security Conference, was with him. With a stony demeanor, he began to castigate the West for what it has done, in his opinion, at the expense of Russia. And not just since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis over the past year, but also in the past quarter of a century - meaning since the end of the Cold War."
"Merkel downbeat as world awaits Putin’s response to latest Ukraine peace plan" (Julian Borger, The Guardian, February 7) "Angela Merkel, who travelled with Hollande to Moscow on Friday evening to set out their proposal, was downbeat about its prospects on Saturday. The German chancellor told the annual Munich Security Conference: “It is uncertain whether it will lead to success but, from my point of view and that of the French president, it is definitely worth trying.”