Munich is the Center of the World for One Weekend
Munich (MunichNOW News) For the fiftieth time, numerous experts of security policy met in Munich’s Hotel Bayerischer Hof for the Munich Security Conference.
Founded the year after the Cuba crisis, the conference has become one of the most important gatherings of politicians in the field of security policy. The conference was opened by German president Joachim Gauck. In his speech, he pointed out that Germany has to find a new role in international politics. Twenty-five years after the end of the cold war, Germany has to take more responsibility, including military action abroad, even though this is very unpopular in German society.
Once again, the US delegation was one of the biggest. Led by Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, ten senators attended the conference. Criticized by its European allies for espionage actions against European states and government members, the US delegation tried to regain confidence. Kerry and Hagel emphasized the renaissance in transatlantic cooperation.
Traditionally, current international crisis are covered, such as Syria, the Middle East, Serbia and Kosovo, and Ukraine. For the first time,
Ukrainian opposition and former boxing champion Vitali Klichko entered the ring of international politics. Besides many bilateral talks, e.g. with John Kerry and German Secretary of State Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Klichko held a speech at a public demonstration at Sendlinger Tor Platz, organized by Ukrainians living in Munich, before he discussed the current situation on the panel. Here he presented photos of police violence against the opposition to the panelists including Yanukowich´s foreign minister.
Besides open panels, MSC is a gathering place for many bilateral talks. Conference leader Wolfgang Ischinger confirmed 260 bilateral talks, not including those that were not officially arranged - for example, US Secretary of State John Kerry met the Iranian foreign minister. For a minister of a smaller country, attendance meant one weekend at Munich Security Conference saved about 80 state visits over the following years.