Europa Forum Wachau: Shaping the future of Europe –

The annual Wachau Europa-Forum was held in Lower Austria for the 26th time this year. For a brief moment, the Wachau was at the center of European politics and can also count on high-ranking guests this year. Traditionally, Forum Europe takes place at Göttweig Abbey and at the university campus in Krems.

The purpose of the forum is to discuss current challenges and European policy goals and to search together for possible solutions. It is not only about the big questions of world politics, but also about the impact on life in the Member States.

The motto of this year’s European Forum is “Preserving Europe’s Future”. More specifically, topics such as blackouts, security of supply, alternative energies and the energy transition as well as the protection of health data will be addressed.

In addition to high-ranking international guests from politics, diplomacy and business, Austria’s top politicians were also present and participated in the Forum. For example, Interior Minister Gerhard Karner delivered the opening speech at the Wachau European Forum and underlined the importance of European security cooperation.

“We must be there for those who need our help and take a clear stand against mafia drug gangs,” Interior Minister Gerhard Karner said in his opening speech at the Krems university campus. True to the theme of the event, Karner underlined the importance of cohesion and cooperation at European level in order to master the current challenges.

Temporary protection

Karner sees the sustainable development of the European Union as a great strength of the EU. As an example, the self-proclaimed “regular of this big event” cited the implementation of the directive on the temporary protection of refugees, which was implemented for the first time by the EU-27 at the aftermath of the war in Ukraine. “We have sent a strong signal to the world that we are protecting people fleeing bombs,” welcomed the determination of his European counterparts.


At the same time, he warned that there were people “who exploit this solidarity for their dirty and inhuman business”. “As the European Union, we need to tighten the borders and make sure we don’t overload the aid system,” Karner said. He argued for a “counter-marketing strategy” to stop economic refugees making the dangerous journey to Europe in the first place.

In conclusion, the Minister of the Interior hoped that the “spirit” of “Safeguarding the future of Europe” would also give the European Union the strength “which allows us all to be powerful”.

History of the European Wachau Forum

The Europa-Forum Wachau was founded in 1995 on the occasion of Austria’s accession to the EU. Since then, the aim has been to promote the theme of Europe and to communicate it with passion to citizens.

Since 1995, in addition to a President of the European Parliament and a President of the Republic, 29 Prime Ministers and 39 Foreign and European Affairs Ministers, 5 Commissioners and more than 12,000 guests have already taken part in the Europa-Forum Wachau.

The event was extended from 2 to 3 days in 2019. The Europa Forum Wachau was to become an international summit for the future of Europe. To this end, citizens were also more directly involved in the political discourse and therefore the event had to be more interactive and more up-to-date.

In the future, citizens should help shape a common Europe together and for each other. New trade fairs, the stronger involvement of young people, digitalisation and the continuation of so-called megatrends should contribute to this.

Wachau European Forum

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