Press Release EFA23

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6 Apr, 2023

This year, the European Forum Alpbach (EFA23) will take place from 19 August to 2 September in Alpbach, Austria. With its annual theme “Bold Europe” the event addresses Europe’s most urgent challenges. For the future requires bold actions.

After envisioning the New Europe last year, the European Forum Alpbach focuses a Bold Europe in 2023. Europe must reduce dependencies while remaining open to the world. Climate change must be tackled actively and decisively. The European economy needs to become more competitive by investing in technology, innovation and education. Our continent needs a new security architecture. It must defend its democratic values against authoritarian influences. Europe needs to become bolder in shaping the world. “Europe must be united, fast, and above all bold. This year’s theme Bold Europe means acting courageously. What do we need to make Europe energy-independent and capable of defense? How does the European industry regain competitiveness? The solutions for these and many more challenges will be discussed in Alpbach this summer”, says Andreas Treichl, President of the EFA.

The European Forum Alpbach will again follow four thematic tracks: Rallying for Climate Action, Fighting for Europe’s Economic Sovereignty, Securing Europe in a Multipolar World, and Reinforcing Democracy in Europe.

“Technology and innovation are cross-cutting topics in all thematic tracks. Besides, the structure of this year’s event has been complemented with two new modules. The Europe in the World Days’ and Austria in Europe Days’ contents are designed for our participants. Each EFA-module is tailored to their needs”, says EFA Secretary General Feri Thierry.

New modules for the event

From 19 August the Euregio Days will honour research and innovation from the Tyrol/South Tyrol/Trentino Euroregion with Tyrol Day as a festive highlight. At the same day, the Alpbach Seminars begin. For five days, hundreds of scholarship holders from around the world will attend seminars to learn and debate together. From 24 August innovative minds will focus on specific topics during the Lab Days. Until 27 August, selected experts will be working on concrete questions in the mornings. Stages, chats, and hikes invite all participants to exchange ideas in the afternoons. Modules en detail.

European stakeholders in Alpbach

For the first time, Europe in the World Days will take place from 27 to 30 August. European key actors from politics, economy, science, art and culture will meet in Alpbach to kick off the season. For example, Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, and Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of the Club of Rome will talk about the implementation of climate measures. Knowledge and awareness of the climate crisis have grown and the solutions are plenty. Yet there is a lack of sufficient policy approaches. Melissa Fleming, Head of the United Nations Department of Global Communications will speak about the increasing polarisation and manipulation of public information and discourse. Also in Alpbach: Opposition Leader and Head of the United Transition Cabinet of Belarus, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who will share her expertise on geopolitics and democracy as well as economist Sergei Guriev, German Marshall Fund President Heather Conley, former Prime Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt and publicist Ivan Krastev. Deutsche Börse AG Executive Board Member Stephan Leithner will discuss the question of whether Europe has sufficient financial sources for company and technology investments and whether capital markets can contribute to the green and digital transition.

An Austrian perspective on European topics

The Austria in Europe Days from 30 August to 2 September are about Austria’s role in Europe. National stakeholders from civil society, business, and politics come together for discussions. The official opening of the European Forum Alpbach will take place at the beginning of the Austria in Europe Days on 30 August. Austrian PresidentAlexander Van der Bellen will talk with Slovenian President Nataša Pirc Musar and First Vice President of the European Parliament Othmar Karas about how to sustainably strengthen Europe’s future. Military analyst and CNA-director of the Russia Studies ProgramMichael Kofman will together with Commander Markus Reisner of the Austrian Armed Forces examine the technological, tactical, and strategic factors – including nuclear threats – that were decisive in the battlefield of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and that may serve as lessons for potential conflicts in the future and military planning in Europe.Josef Aschbacher, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), will address the question of what Europe needs to not fall behind in the space race. Samir Saran, President of the biggest Indian think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF) will speak about new ideas and solutions to multiple crises. Nobel prize winner and Alpbach regular Joseph Stiglitz will analyse the financial future of the young generation and the related roles of digital transformation, state interventions, and capital markets.

Arts and Culture

This year’s concept of inviting a curator to conceptualise the arts and culture programme is also a novelty. Yana Barinova is guest curator of the European Forum Alpbach 2023. For making art accessible to all, Barinova creates unusual encounters in unexpected circumstances. “The notion of coexistence is crucial in today's world, as we strive to create more inclusive and accepting societies. I believe the arts can also uncover profoundly transformative experiences of living without borders, constantly migrating, and being a nomad”, says Yana Barinova. The forum’s participants experience artistic interventions and interact with artists on guided tours, performances, hikes and chats. The programme addresses the struggle of European societies to welcome their newcomers, as well as the wider aspirations for a peaceful coexistence of humans and nature. Austrian artist Deborah Sengl and Ukrainian artist Elena Subach will collaborate on an installation highlighting the struggle of refugees and displaced persons; Austrian-Iranian artist Soli Kiani’s work is on the loss of control and women’s rights in societies ruled by ideologies. Barinova’s main theme? Mobility and movement and the constant change therein – eventually a call for Europe to boldly take a chance.

EFA-Partner 2023  

Central and Eastern Europe’s biggest financial service provider Erste Group Bank AG is for the third time the European Forum Alpbach’s main partner. In line with the motto #BelieveInEurope this longstandig partnership contributes to a strong Europe for the good of all. Also on board as a main partner: the Open Society Foundation and Erste Foundation.


Ankica Nikolić | Head of Unit Communications


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