Merkel during the conference of 2017./ Photo: MSC
The Diplomat. 12/02/2018
On Friday and Saturday, the Foreign Minister, Alfonso Dastis, and the Minister of Defence, María Dolores de Cospedal, will participate in the 54th Munich Security Conference, whose main topics will be the role of the EU as a global actor, Europe’s relations with the US and Russia, and threats to the international liberal order.
According to the organizers, during these two days, they will analyse other matters of interest for the international security, such as conflicts in the Middle East (including the deterioration of relations between the States of the Gulf), the political development of the Sahel and arms control, with special attention to North Korea’s nuclear programme.
Among those who have already confirmed their attendance are the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, the high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg.
The United States will be represented by the secretary of Defence, general James Mattis, and Russia by its Foreign Minister, Serguei Lavrov. Among the numerous heads of State and Government that have already announced their presence are Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May (who, according to diplomatic sources, will give a speech on Saturday morning about defence and security in the United Kingdom after the Brexit), the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, and, obviously, the host and German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who will close the event.
The minister will participate in a debate on threats to the liberal order and will meet Lavrov
Dastis, who participated for the first time last year, has been invited in this edition to take part in the so-called Owl Night, a night session to be held on Friday in the main hall in which those present will debate about Threats to the international liberal order.
The debate will be presented by the republican senator and former North American presidential candidate John McCain and among those taking part in it will be the Canadian Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, the Australian Minister of Defence, Marise Payne, and the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte.
Moreover, the minister will use his stay in Munich to hold several bilateral meetings, being the most important of them with the Russian Foreign Minister, Serguei Lavrov. This meeting, which diplomatic sources expect to be “long and substantial”, will serve to compensate the suspension of the official visit that Lavrov was going to make to Spain in December, in the middle of the political paralysis in Catalonia and in the middle of the controversy about Moscow’s supposed interference in this conflict.
Furthermore, Dastis will hold meetings with his counterparts of Montenegro, Canada, Albania and, yet to be confirmed, Iceland, and he will meet the secretary general of OSCE, Thomas Greminger, and the European commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, lzbieta Ewa Bienkowska.