Looking at this first special edition of our magazine, in paper or electronic form, you may be wondering what has prompted us to devote it to the Berlin Security Conference (BSC).
As one of the co-founders of this Congress back in 2002, in Bonn, and currently as an advisory member of its Organisational Committee, I am very keen to acquaint our readers with the BSC and to explain what it is
that makes this event so unique.
Congresses on European security and defence issues, with different organisers and with or without particular political affiliations, come and go, often as one-off or “limited edition” events. Yet the BSC has become a
regular annual event: in 2015 it will be convening for the 14th time! Every year it brings together some 800 to 1000 participants, more than 100 speakers and around 30 exhibitors.
Its success can be explained first and foremost by its total political independence, in terms of both its programme and organisation. Indeed, the BSC selects its own themes and speakers with a view to achieving the objectives that it defines for itself. The fact that its experienced moderator is also the head of the organisational team is a definite plus.
Secondly, from the outset the BSC, in its presentations, discussion forums and panels, has tackled highly topical European security issues from a range of different – political, social and economic – angles, producing insights and results that not only provide welcome input for governments and industry but are sometimes also incorporated into the decisionmaking processes at national and European level.
Finally, the Congress is funded from exhibitors’ contributions and participants’ fees. It is headed by a sevenmember Advisory Board, which appoints the Congress President and proposes for each Congress a partner country.
This year for the first time the Congress President is Ambassador Jirˇí Šedivý, the Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic and former Defence Minister in the Prague Government. This year’s partner country is the United States, following on from Turkey (2014), Russia (2013) and the United Kingdom (2012). Next year (2016) it will be France’s turn. I hope you enjoy reading this special edition!
Hartmut Bühl, Editor-in-Chief