The conference agenda for the MSC 2018 will focus in particular on the future role of the European Union as a global actor and its relations with Russia as well as the United States. In addition, the growing threat to the liberal international order, the numerous conflicts in the Middle East – especially the deteriorating relations between the Gulf States – and political developments in the Sahel region will be discussed. Moreover, arms control issues will be a point of emphasis, in particular the tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
"Last year, the world came much too close to the brink of a significant conflict," MSC Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger said in the run-up to the conference. "The escalating rhetoric of individual decision-makers is a very disconcerting development. Whether on the Korean peninsula, in the Persian Gulf or in Eastern Europe – just a single wrong decision taken in this charged situation could quickly trigger a dangerous chain reaction. That is why it is all the more important to foster dialogue and encounters between key actors. The Munich Security Conference is precisely the right forum for this. If the MSC did not already exist, it very well would have to be reinvented in the current global situation."
Hundreds of international decision-makers expected
Among this year's confirmed participants are UN Secretary-General António Guterres, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
The US government will be represented in Munich by Secretary of Defense General James Mattis and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster. The US Congressional delegation will be led by Senators John McCain, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Robert Corker.
Many heads of state and heads of government have already announced their participation. These include Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Rwandan President Paul Kagame as well as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May and her Austrian counterpart Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi are also expected to visit Munich.
In addition, numerous foreign and defense ministers will be in attendance, including the Foreign Ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Adel Al-Jubeir, their counterparts from Russia and Turkey, Sergey Lavrov and Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, as well as Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti, Spanish Defense Minister María Dolores de Cospedal García, and Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne.
High level military and intelligence officials will also attend the Munich Security Conference. These include the Director of National Intelligence of the United States Dan Coats, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Mike Pompeo, Director of the British Secret Intelligence Service Alex Younger, the Director of Mossad Yossi Cohen, President of the German Federal Intelligence Agency Bruno Kahl, and Director-General of Interpol Jürgen Stock. NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe Curtis Scaparrotti and the Chief of Staff of the German Armed Forces Volker Wieker are also expected in Munich.
Various international organizations are also represented at the MSC 2018. Thomas Greminger, Secretary-General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization and Christine Lagarde, Director-General of the International Monetary Fund, have announced their participation. The same is true for the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme David Beasley, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer and Executive Director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth.
Due to the ongoing coalition negotiations in Berlin, an interim German government delegation will attend the security conference for the first time. It will be represented by Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière, and Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller. More than 30 members of the Bundestag from all political groups are also expected in Munich.