The Munich Peace Conference is the thorn in the side of the security conference. But in the future it will be done without city subsidies.

Yanis Varoufakis, Greek politician, with a light shining in the background.

Unconventional statements on Hamas attack on Israel: peace conference spokesman Yanis Varoufakis Photo: Nicolas Economou/imago

MUNICH taz | Is it a matter of a few thousand euros or differences in content? That's not entirely clear. In any case, the Munich Peace Conference, which will be held again in Munich at the end of next week, this time presents some financial weakness. The reason: the green-red majority of the city council wants to cancel in the short term the subsidy previously granted to the organizers.

The Munich Peace Conference is the modest counterpart to the security conference, at which some of the world's powerful discuss the global security situation each year, and usually not in the spirit of radical pacifists. A key objective of the peace conference is to “initiate thought processes that inspire a culture of peace,” is how the organizers describe their goal. They have been organizing the conference since 2003.

The Greens and the SPD believe that they should continue doing it, but please, without municipal funds. Just a few days ago, the Green/Pink List and SPD/Volt fractions sent a letter to Mayor Dieter Reiter in which they asked that the current funding of the event by the culture department be suspended, “from now and in the future “. There is talk of a “necessary consolidation” and of strengthening the central tasks of the department.

The event team was surprised by the decision. The organizers are especially irritated that no one tried to talk to them in advance. “The attempt to defund the peace conference without prior notice shortly before the start of the event jeopardizes the implementation of the peace conference.” The reasoning is not understood either.

City Hall disinvited

In fact, the elimination is unlikely to do much to shore up the city's budget. Even if the funding budget of the cultural department is taken into account, the proportion of the requested funding of 6,500 euros is less than 0.01 percent, the sponsoring group calculates.

The assumption that substantive reasons could also play a role is not so far-fetched. The peace conference is certainly a controversial event that sometimes causes outrage. Four years ago there was a scandal when the organizers withdrew the invitation to SPD councilor Marian Offman. She should have given a salute on behalf of the city on behalf of the mayor.

The reason for the withdrawal of the invitation was probably that Offman, Munich's only Jewish councillor, rejects the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign, which calls for a boycott of Israel.

The fact that Yanis Varoufakis has been invited as a speaker suggests that things are likely to be controversial this year as well. The former Greek Finance Minister recently attracted attention with extremely peculiar statements regarding the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 and Israel's subsequent reaction. Varoufakis also supports the BDS campaign.