The Munich Security Conference (Die Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz) is one of the most important informal forums in the world, which discusses current political issues related to the balance of power in international relations, strengthening the system of international law and a democratic world order, “Munich Davos”.
It was founded by German publisher Ewald von Kleist in 1962.
The first conference was held in 1963 in Munich as an informal meeting of representatives of the defense departments of NATO member states to discuss the problems of the transatlantic partnership.
The conference was originally held under the auspices of the Bavarian Christian Social Union and until 1992 was called the Conference on Military Issues (Wehrkundetagung).
Since 1998, the forum has been funded by the German government from the budget of the German Ministry of Defense.
For more than 30 years, the forum was a closed intra-block event. Over time, the geographical coverage of the conference has significantly increased due to Russia (since 1995), the CIS and Baltic countries, Central and Eastern Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, South Asia, and the Middle East.
In 1998, Ewald von Kleist presided over the conference for the last time. From 1999 to 2008, this role was played by Horst Teltschik, former foreign and defense adviser to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
Since 2009, the conference has been chaired by Wolfgang Ischinger, a German human rights activist and former German ambassador to the United States and Great Britain.
The Munich conference was not held twice: in 1991 (because of the Gulf War) and in 1997, when the founder of the forum, Ewald von Kleist, did not want to remain “at the helm” after his 75th birthday, and it was not immediately possible to find a replacement for him.
At present, the Munich Security Conference is an international discussion forum that brings together politicians, diplomats, military personnel, businessmen, scientists and public figures from dozens of countries (NATO and EU members, as well as states that play an important role in the world arena – Russia, China, Japan , India and others).
The conference is held annually at the Bayerischer Hof. Communiqués and agreements are not signed in Munich, while the conference is an important and relatively neutral meeting and discussion venue for world-class politicians and diplomats.
Since 2009, the Munich Security Conference has awarded the Ewald von Kleist Prize to participants in Munich conferences who have made significant contributions to peace and conflict resolution.
The first laureate of the award was the former US President's National Security Advisor, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Also, the Kleist Prize in different years was awarded to the Spanish politician, former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana (2010), US Senator Joseph Lieberman (2012), ex-Adviser to the US President for National Security Brent Scowcroft (2013), former French President Valerie Giscard d ' Esten and the fifth Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Helmut Schmidt (2014), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (2015), the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiane Figueres and the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (2016), the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Joachim Gauck (2017) ), US Senator John McCain (2018).
In 2019, the Prime Ministers of Greece Alexis Tsipras and North Macedonia Zoran Zaev were awarded the Ewald von Kleist Munich Security Conference Prize for their contribution to peace and for successfully resolving the longstanding conflict over the name “Macedonia”.
In 2020, the United Nations was awarded the prize.
In 2018, the Munich Security Conference established the American Senator John McCain Award (1936-2018). It is awarded to authors of dissertations at various scientific levels on the issues of transatlantic relations, parliamentary control over the armed forces and the moral responsibility of Western countries.
In 2020, the Munich Security Conference was held from 14 to 16 February.
More than 500 delegates, including about 150 heads of state, prime ministers and members of government, took part in the conference.
For the first time, the forum was visited by French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The report on the most significant events in world politics for the year, which is traditionally published before the start of the conference, the organizers called Westlessness (“a world without the West”).
The authors emphasized that until a few years ago, the unity of the Western world was based on liberal democracy, human rights, market economy and international cooperation. But today more and more countries of the world, although they recognize the importance of these values, are not guided by the experience of Europe and the United States, which causes concern for the compilers of the report. The authors named Russia and China as the main provocateurs of fragmentation and the “decline of the Western world”.
The Russian delegation at the Munich conference was headed by Sergei Lavrov. In his speech, he immediately called on the West to stop “cultivating the phantom of the Russian threat” and to start a dialogue.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began his speech in Munich by criticizing those who question the leadership of the West. According to the secretary of state, in the confrontation with opponents of liberal values, the United States and Europe “will certainly be the winners.”
Sergey Lavrov and Mike Pompeo met on the sidelines of the conference. The dialogue between the heads of the US and Russian foreign ministries took place behind closed doors, and details were not disclosed.
In 2021, the Munich Security Conference will take place on 19 February. In connection with the coronavirus pandemic, it will be held via videoconference. Among the speakers are US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, former US Secretary of State John Kerry and others.
The material was prepared on the basis of information from RIA Novosti and open sources