Underlying Mood of the Symposia: Pro Europe
Alpbach has never been so diverse. 102 nations were represented at the 2016 European Forum Alpbach, which ran successfully for what is now the 72nd time. A total of 5,340 participants came together to discuss themes such as digitalisation and EU foreign policy under the general topic of “New Enlightenment”. A further positive outcome of the European Forum Alpbach was the participation 700 scholarship holders, who found the courage to enter uncharted waters with academics, experts and representatives from politics, economics and civil society.
Strong Support for Europeanisation
After heated debates on the current challenges facing European security, the diplomatic tensions between neighbouring countries, and the consequences of the UK referendum to leave the EU, the future of the European Union was the topic at the heart of the Symposia in Alpbach. “The European Union is currently coming up against strong resistance. The discussions showed that sometimes, inconsistencies in the behaviour of political representatives in Brussels and ‘at home’ are the root of the problem”, summarised Franz Fischler, President of the European Forum Alpbach. “Once again, thousands of motivated people, inspired by the common European idea, have come to Alpbach to find solutions. For me, therefore, the underlying mood of the 2016 European Forum Alpbach was undoubtedly positive. Europe needs to work hard on itself, but it will only succeed in doing so if it gets the support it needs from the member states”, Fischler added.
Entering the Digital Era
The Symposia also focussed on the opportunities and risks of digitalisation. “The Internet allows us to discuss or argue with one another from practically anywhere at any time. But a real culture of debate needs places like Alpbach, where people meet face to face on an equal footing”, Franz Fischler believes. To enable greater, more in-depth dialogue with speakers, this year’s Forum introduced a new format: “Meet the Speaker” events gave those interested the chance to continue discussions in smaller groups after the talks and panels.
Spotlight on the Contradictions of the Present in 2017
Between August 16 and September 1, 2017, the European Forum Alpbach will be exploring the general topic of “Conflict & Cooperation”.