Munich (AP) - French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to be the most prominent guest at the Munich Security Conference today. After the 42-year-old Frenchman had repeatedly caused a stir in security policy in the past few weeks, it will be interesting to see whether he will make up for this weekend.
In addition to Macron, federal defense ministers Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as well as several international top politicians are expected on the Munich stages.
In a conversation with conference leader Wolfgang Ischinger, Macron can give a direct answer to President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Macron's recent theses had been partially contradicted in his opening speech on Friday. The Frenchman had certified NATO's brain death last year and repeatedly called for Europe to become more independent of the superpower USA. Macron does not fundamentally question the cooperation with Washington. In addition, he recently offered the European partners closer cooperation on nuclear deterrence.
SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich spoke out against closer cooperation on deterrence with nuclear weapons. Rather, France must also take steps to abolish its nuclear arsenal, said Mützenich of the German Press Agency. Macron had announced that he wanted disarmament and arms control. This must also be reflected in French politics in the near future, said Mützenich. After Brexit, France is the only EU country with its own nuclear weapons.
Steinmeier said in Munich on Friday: «The European Union alone cannot guarantee the security of all its members in the long term, regardless of progress. And relying on the EU alone would mean driving Europe into a split. » Overall, the Federal President drew a bleak picture of the global situation and campaigned for more courageous German involvement in crisis diplomacy. «Today we are witnessing an increasingly destructive dynamic in world politics. We are moving further and further away from the goal of international cooperation to create a more peaceful world. »
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD), on the other hand, quoted the former SPD Defense Minister Peter Struck in his speech, who said at the beginning of the Bundeswehr's mission in Afghanistan that Germany's security would also be defended in the Hindu Kush. "You have to add today - also in Iraq, Libya and the Sahel - but just as well at the negotiating table in New York, Geneva or Brussels." Maas emphasized that military operations would fizzle out without diplomacy and without a clear political strategy. At worst, they exacerbate the crises. Therefore, "more responsibility" should not be equated with "more commitment".
The transatlantic relationship is likely to play a role in several rounds of talks on Saturday, as well as the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iran or Ukraine.
- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US Secretary of State and Defense Secretary Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper kicked off in the morning. Her boss Donald Trump regularly urges European NATO partners, and especially Germany, to spend more on defense.
- Kramp-Karrenbauer will speak in the afternoon. Since Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) is not a guest in Munich this year, the speech by the outgoing CDU boss is the German answer to Macron.
- Afghan President Aschraf Ghani, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the Foreign Ministers of China, Russia and Iran - Wang Yi, Sergei Lavrov and Mohammed Dschawad Sarif - will also appear.
- The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, will report on the development of the novel corona virus.
- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft President Brad Smith are also expected.
Munich Security Conference