Munich Security Conference
Global leaders discuss competition, cooperation
16 Feb 2019, 00:45 ( 1 Month ago)
The 55th Munich Security Conference (MSC) kicked off on Friday, focusing on global order reshuffle.
"The world now is not only experiencing a series of smaller and bigger crises. We are experiencing an epochal shift ... an era is ending, and the rough outlines of a new political age are only beginning to emerge," MSC Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger said.
The annual Munich Security Report, which provides guidelines for the talks, said that a new era of great power competition might be unfolding.
"It's not enough to just sit and watch while institutions built over decades are eroding," Ischinger said. He called on participants to build trust in each other during the conference, encouraging people to "talk to each other" rather than "talk about each other."
In his opening speech, Ischinger, dressed in a hoodie with the EU logo, said that the EU's self-assertion will be one of the most important issues to address.
Echoing Ischinger's remark, British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said the UK will remain committed to Europe's security after Brexit.
"Our commitment to European security remains steadfast," he said. "We will continue to deliver it long after we leave the EU."
The conference, scheduled from Friday to Sunday, has attracted heads of state and government and other prestigious figures in world politics and security. The event will cover issues including competition and cooperation between the great powers, the EU's future, and the already tainted transatlantic relations.
The Munich Security Conference was first held in 1963. Its original aim was to shore up commitments and help coordinate western defense policies. It has since grown to involve representatives from around the world and has served as a platform for debates on global security issues.
Host country Germany sees the conference as an opportunity to demonstrate its own commitment to international cooperation.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that "national self-determination is only possible against the backdrop of international coordination."
"I will therefore campaign for doubling down on our commitment to the international order," Maas said.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said that we live in a time when "partners matter", and no nation can successfully face the complicated threats alone.
"We need and search for cooperation; we are all doing this," von der Leyen said.