Minister outlines lessons from Munich Security Conference

Munich Security Conference – Reply by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly

Paris, 20 February 2019

You referred to the Munich conference, which is something of an annual barometer of the state of international relations, both in terms of security and, more broadly, discussions about the planet’s major challenges. Mme Parly and I were there, and I took away three lessons from the conference. The first and perhaps most important is that there was a very big gap between the ideas of the American administration and its allies on many issues, in particular how to manage the instruments of multilateralism. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the American administration so isolated from its allies; I’m talking about the American administration and not the United States.

Secondly, during the conference it emerged that there’s an absolute necessity for Europe to unite to ensure its own security, in order to avoid merely being a witness to challenges unfolding on its territory over which it has absolutely no control. So can Europe rise to the major challenges of our time, particularly its security, while honouring its alliances?

Finally, thirdly – and you referred to it –, it seemed to us essential to help overhaul multilateralism. Multilateralism implies rules, it means treaties – in other words, the opposite of survival of the fittest. Are there currently enough powers willing to ensure we can rekindle multilateralism in new forms, in the face of security but also climate, digital and migration challenges?

That’s what I and my German colleague tried to do; perhaps this Munich conference will be the debut of a new multilateralism./.

Published on 09/01/2020

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