The Chancellor said that Europe is in deep troubles and that Europe would have many enemies demonstrated by several attacks of hybrid warfare. In her extraordinary speech which she delivered with passion, drive and energy, Merkel concluded: “We must fight for Europe!” One of the observers in the audience stood up and said that her speech “has been the best ever presented at this conference.”

Merkel supported the ongoing initiatives for multilateralism and said she would agree with a statement from US Senator Lindsey O. Graham who (among other Senators) led the delegation of the US Congress. Quoting the American politician, Merkel said: “Multilateralism may be complicated, but it is better than sitting alone at home.”

With respect to the motto of the conference (The Great Puzzle: Who will pick up the Pieces?) and the political tensions in various parts of the world, Merkel said that the Western world would need NATO as “an anchor of stability in stormy times”. Merkel referred to the announcement that the US and Russia would withdraw from the INF Treaty which bans all ground-based intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) in Europe. The answer to this intention should not be a blind arms race. She suggested that China should be involved in the negotiations about the future of the INF Treaty.

Merkel also addressed the “Treaty of Aachen” recently signed by Germany and France and the common goal to jointly develop new weapon systems. The Chancellor said that one cannot talk about a European Army or a European Defence Policy if there is no common understanding about arms exports.

The Chancellor said the US Department for Trade has obviously come to the conclusion that the export of German cars would be a threat to the national security of the United States. Merkel stated: “If this should be a threat to the national interest of the USA, then we are scared.” She reminded the audience that the largest BMW plant would not be located in Bavaria but in South Carolina.

US Vice President Mike Pence did not directly reply to Merkel’s statements. However, he addressed European concerns about a diminishing role of the US in world politics and reassured the audience that the Trump-Administration would be committed to execute its leadership role around the globe. Pence said: “The transatlantic Alliance will be defended and renewed.” As expected, the Vice-President called on the European allies to do more for their defence. He urged the NATO member states to increase their defence expenditures by two percent until 2024 as agreed at the Wales Summit.

Pence heavily criticized the Government of Iran which would be the largest sponsor of international terrorism. He accused the leaders in Teheran of preparing another holocaust since they would be committed “to erase Israel from the map”. Consequently, the Vice-President stated: “Time has come to act.” In addition, he asked the European allies to stop undermining US sanctions against Iran.

Dr. Theodor Benien

MSC 2019: Chancellor Merkel’s speech was well received by the audience. After standing ovations, one participant said that her speech was the best ever presented at the conference (photo: MSC / Kuhlmann).

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