Munich Security Conference 2024: Build Peace Through Dialogue

Cover Photo: Emmanuel Jacob, President of EUROMIL and Benedikt Franke Vice-Chairman, Chief Executive Officer of MSC

The Munich Security Conference (MSC 2024) organised its 60th edition from 16 to 18 February 2024 against the backdrop of unprecedented global challenges, marking a critical juncture in international affairs. As world leaders, policymakers, and experts gathered in Munich, the conference served as a platform for deliberation and collaboration in addressing pressing issues that define the contemporary geopolitical landscape.

After many years of absence, EUROMIL’s President Emmanuel Jacob was invited again to participate at this year’s 60th anniversary edition. He participated the full three days from the opening until the closing session at the high-level conference. However, providing a detailed overview of three days debates, side event, bilateral formal and informal meeting is impossible, it is essential to underline the importance of this year’s conference. Let just this be the motto of the Munich Security Conference: debating international security and hereby building peace through dialogue!

Ukraine-Russia and Gaza-Israel dynamics at the Munich Security Conference 2024

The MSC 2024 provided a stage for critical discussions on two of the world’s most persistent and volatile conflicts: the Ukraine-Russia crisis and the ongoing tensions between Gaza and Israel. The MSC 2024 became a crucial forum for assessing the current state of affairs, exploring diplomatic solutions, and addressing the underlying challenges that have fuelled these conflicts.

  • The Ukraine-Russia Crisis

Intense discussions on the ongoing situation between Russia and Ukraine were held during numerous main stage sessions of the conference, in addition to a number of parallel events. The talks emphasized on the critical necessity for diplomatic measures to defuse tensions and find a peaceful conclusion since the conflict is not showing any indications of ending. Delegates engaged in a comprehensive discussion of the international community’s various solutions to the Ukraine-Russia situation. Divergent opinions and geopolitical issues were highlighted, underlining the difficulties in developing a cohesive approach to address the core problems and facilitate a diplomatic solution. The support that Europe and the US has provided Ukraine with was a major point of discussion, but what the next steps should be was even more underlined. Moreover, the failure to approve the American support package garnered the requisite attention and commentary. Especially considering there is widespread disagreement regarding this within the US delegation.

Yulia Navalnaya (Chairwoman of the Advisory Board, Anti-Corruption Foundation, Moscow) after her speech at the MSC 2024. Source: MSC/Kuhlmann.


Yulia Navalnaya who was in Munich to address the conference, considered traveling back to her family after getting the news of the death of her husband, Alexei Navalny, in a Russian prison. Instead, she addressed the MSC 2024 saying “I thought about what Alexey would have done. If it is the truth, I’d like Putin to know that he will be brought to justice soon.”







Volodymyr Zelensky (President, Ukraine) setting the scene for Conversation “Ukraine in the World” on Main Stage I. Source: MSC/Michael Kuhlmann.




Also the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy addressed the conference in-person on its second day. “Ukrainians have been holding for 724 days. Would you have believed, 723 days ago, that this was even possible?” he said. Asked about the possible outcome of the 2024 US-presidential elections, Zelenskyy invited Donald Trump to come and see the war against Russia with his own eyes. “If Mr. Trump will come I am ready even to go with him to the front line,” he added.





  • Gaza-Israel Tensions

The long-standing hostilities between Gaza and Israel were also addressed at the MSC 2024, with an emphasis on the humanitarian effects of the fighting that followed the 7 October 2023, Hamas strike. The discourse delved into the difficulties of delivering relief to the impacted populations and examined strategies for promoting humanitarian collaboration amidst continuous geopolitical intricacies. Participants talked about how to settle the Gaza-Israel conflict in a fair and long-lasting manner. Stakeholders had the chance to discuss diplomatic approaches during the conference, which emphasized the need of communication, compromise, and steps to boost confidence in order to bring about long-lasting peace in the area.

  • The role of international organisations

Delegates highlighted the crucial role of international organisations in addressing both the Ukraine-Russia crisis and the Gaza-Israel tensions. The United Nations, European Union, and other relevant bodies but also individual Member States were called upon to play an active role in facilitating diplomatic dialogues, ensuring compliance with international law, and promoting peaceful conflict resolution. The discussions stressed the significance of collaborative security measures to address the conflicts at hand. Participants emphasized the importance of building trust, fostering dialogue, and establishing mechanisms for conflict prevention to create a more stable and secure global environment.

It was clear that the discussions underscored the importance of diplomacy, multilateral engagement, and collaborative security measures in handling with these conflicts. The conference left a resounding call for sustained efforts towards peace, stability, and the resolution of longstanding disputes that continue to shape the world’s security landscape.

What else was on the MSC 2024 agenda?

As mentioned earlier, MSC 2024 provides a forum for analysing and understanding the changing power dynamics that shape international relations. The ongoing adjustment of power relations between traditional players and emerging economies highlights the need for strategic adjustments. The discussion focused on the rise of new power centers, particularly in Asia, and the implications for global stability, with a focus on the rise of China and, in particular, India. Delegates examined the economic, political and military implications of this shift and stressed the need for constructive engagement to resolve underlying tensions.

Topic of the debate was also that as the international system moves toward multipolarity, the importance of promoting cooperation among major powers has been recognised. The dialogue focused on strengthening international institutions, increasing diplomatic efforts and promoting multilateralism as an important tool for conflict management and promoting global governance.

In addition, the 2024 Munich Security Conference also discussed various challenges brought about by the rapid development of technology in the digital age. Cybersecurity was a focus of discussion, reflecting the increasing interconnectedness of nations and the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to cyber threats. But the conference also discussed cybersecurity challenges, including the rise of hybrid warfare tactics. The meeting emphasized the urgent need to develop international norms and agreements to regulate state behaviour in cyberspace, with a focus on preventing cyberattacks and protecting critical infrastructure.

Additionally, the impact of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and biotechnology on global security was a key theme. Delegates discussed the dual-use nature of these technologies and the need to find a balance between using innovation to promote progress and mitigating potential risks to international security.

Of course, the MSC 2024 also highlighted the inextricable link between climate change and global security, and highlighted the need for concerted efforts to build resilience and addressed the consequences of environmental degradation. The meeting discussed the security implications of climate change, including the potential for resource conflicts, displacement and heightened geopolitical tensions. Climate adaptation and mitigation strategies are meanwhile considered important components of a comprehensive security agenda. The importance of international cooperation to address climate-related challenges was thus emphasized. The discussion included calls for greater cooperation on climate resilience, sustainable development and the promotion of green technologies, reflecting growing awareness of the links between environmental sustainability and global security.

And what about the European Union?

Of course, the role of the European Union and its near future was also on the agenda.

In particular, the interventions of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on Saturday, and those of Josep Borrell the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP) on Sunday, were of interest. Ursula von der Leyen said “If I would be the president of the next European Commission, I would have a commissioner for defence”. Unfortunately, she remained vague as to whether this important and much-needed post would cover mostly the defence industry within the EU or whether – for example – it would also include security operations and/or space. The EC President continued that it was an open question as to which nationality the new post would receive. However, she added that it would be important for a candidate from Central and Eastern Europe to get a good portfolio.

Josep Borrell on his turn was rather vague on this point on Saturday. However, the HRVP was quite clear about his assessment on the Member States. At various times he made it clear that the Member States do not always play a correct game. For instance, he referred to the ammunition deliveries to Ukraine and emphasized that instead of commenting, Member States can also take action and participate in one of the dozens EDA programs with their budgets. He also did not appreciate that often Member States criticize certain initiatives but afterwards Member Statesthey suddenly change their minds with all possible consequences and delays. “We have repeatedly hesitated to give more capable weapons to Ukraine. In the end, we did it but this delay was harmful” he emphasized.

Josep Borrell Fontelles (Vice-President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, European Commission; Member of the Advisory Council, Munich Security Conference) setting the scene for Panel Discussion “Pinning Down Priorities: The EU’s Next Geopolitical Agenda” on Main Stage I. Source: MSC/David Hecker

However, regarding competences of the EU and the Member States, Borrell was quite clear. “If we – meaning the EU – want to be a geopolitical player, we need defence capabilities. And defence is a competence of the Member States.” In other words, he explained that defence industry is a playing field for the EU, but when it comes to defence capabilities, it is up to the Member States. Thus, he emphasized on the need of all these actions to take place in a collaborative manner, if they are to be successful: Member States: “To be a geopolitical player, the European Union needs to build a strong defence capacity and be united” he clarified.








The 2024 Munich Security Conference provided one more than important platform for addressing the complexities of the current geopolitical landscape. From changing power dynamics to the challenges of the digital age and climate change, over the current global crisis, the conference served as a catalyst for international collaboration and the development of innovative solutions. The conclusions of the MSC 2024 demonstrate the need for a more secure, resilient and cooperative global order as an impetus to address the challenges of the 21st century.

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