Support and expertise from Brussels shape the thematic tracks of the EFA and provide valuable impetus from the heart of Europe.
Although the European Forum Alpbach (EFA) takes place in Austria, it is at home in Europe. Participating EU-parliamentarians, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) and contacts from the alumni network anchor the EFA in Brussels. At this year’s event in Alpbach, a total of ten Members of the European Parliament will be present: Eva Maydell, Othmar Karas, Lukas Mandl, Reinhard Bütikofer, Sergey Lagondinsky, Niklas Nienaß, Monika Vana, Katalin Cseh, Anna Donáth and Hannes Heide actively participate in the Forum’s programme. Also, during the Lab Days, they will exchange views with participants on new legislative measures and political trends in Brussels. We expect exciting discussions and great insights!
Social cooperation with the EU capital has existed for many years through the EFA Alumni Network: The first international branch of the Forum Alpbach Network (FAN) has been run by Club Alpbach Belgium Brussels since 2000, organising various events with parliamentarians during the year. This lively connection to the centre of the European Union is also reflected, for example, in the FAN Board Vice Chair, Klaudie Mrkusová, who works as a Policy Officer in the European Commission. The FAN ensures that the voice of the next generation is heard in European politics – one of the main concerns of the European Forum Alpbach.
In 2023, contact was intensified with a series of events with European institutions: At the invitation of the First Vice-President of the European Parliament, Othmar Karas, a networking breakfast was held. A policy talk on the topic of “Giving European Answers in Times of Global Crisis” took place with state secretary Karoline Edtstadler at the Permanent Representation of Austria to the European Union. Representatives of the Forum and the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) also met at a round table on “Strengthening Europe’s open strategic autonomy: The need for a ‘bold Europe’”. There, in view of EFA23, they debated how Europe can reduce risky dependencies and strengthen strategic autonomy while at the same time staying open to the world.
The expert pool of the EPRS is the scientific service of the Parliament responsible for analysis and research. The EPRS advises the Union’s policy-makers on complex issues. Here, EPRS and EFA compliment each other, as the Forum creates a venue for interdisciplinary exchange that makes expertise from Brussels accessible to a broad audience. At the same time, the scientifically supported inputs of the EPRS form the substantive basis for the goal of the European Forum Alpbach: to develop ideas for a strong and democratic Europe. It is no coincidence that the EPRS aims to “move people to action through knowledge”, while the EFA creates “space for action”. Together they contribute to the ability of European politicians to make good decisions for Europe.
In return, leading experts from the Brussels think-tank will visit the EFA23 event and provide on-site input on the topics of the four thematic tracks.