Conference report by Hartmut Bühl, Publisher, Paris
The 21st Berlin Security Conference (BSC), which took place from 30-31 November 2022 had a very special character. Never before has a BSC been held in wartime in Europe; never before have there been so many high-ranking speakers from the European Union (EU) and NATO countries, and never before has a BSC been so gender-balanced. This was only possible because this conference has been systematically built up over more than twenty years. Two decades of stimulating discussions geared towards shaping European security within the transatlantic security area, including its geostrategic aspects, have made the conference the most important Europe-wide discussion forum for the European security community.
The geostrategic interest of great powers…
While the basic conditions for European security and their implementation have so far focused more or less on Europe alone, this latest conference made a leap into broader geopolitical issues and shed light on the geostrategic interests of great powers and their consequences for European security. This year’s conference partner, Norway, with its unique geopolitical experience, played a significant role in exploring the topics in more detail. High-ranking representatives from politics, business and civil society from Europe, the United States (US) and Asia gave an insight into their assessment of the security situation after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sketched out the political and social consequences of this turning point for European societies.
…and focus on the war in Ukraine
All speakers agreed that EU and NATO support is paramount to Ukraine’s survival but that the EU and NATO should not be dragged into the war. The conference requested European leaders to reinforce European capabilities to allow the EU as a pillar of NATO to gain the ability to defend its territory. This includes, besides strong land forces, air superiority and maritime capabilities, but also the strategic use of space and the mastery of cyberspace, which, in the context of international tensions, low-intensity conflicts and hybrid warfare, has gained prominence. Conference participants agreed that Germany now hosts the two most important and complementary conferences on security issues: the Munich Security Conference (MSC) and the independant Berlin Security Conference (BSC).