Austria's Foreign Minister Schallenberg at the European Forum Alpbach 2022

PeopleOther ♦ Published: August 24, 2022; 22:15 ♦ (Vindobona)

Through its work, the European Forum Alpbach also functions as an interactive, open think tank and a source of inspiration for Austrian politics. Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg is attending the European Forum Alpbach in Tyrol.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg is attending the European Forum Alpbach. / Picture: © BKA / Wenzel / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

For more than 70 years, the European Forum Alpbach has formed an interdisciplinary platform for socio-political dialogue and knowledge exchange through its events and its network of fellows.

In addition to participating in the virtual summit of the Crimea platform launched by Ukraine, as reported by, Alexander Schallenberg's agenda at the European Forum Alpbach included a panel discussion on geopolitics of the European Union, as well as working meetings and talks with counterparts and business leaders.

On the anniversary of Ukrainian independence, August 24, Foreign Minister Schallenberg joined Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and the foreign ministers of Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in a panel discussion on "The EU's geopolitical awakening?" The focus was on Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, EU military and civilian support for the country, and the free world's sanctions against Russia. Other topics of discussion included the EU's energy and enlargement policies as well as European cooperation in the areas of security and defense.

For Foreign Minister Schallenberg, the Russian attack on Ukraine "has contributed more to the unity of the EU than any other event in recent years." Schallenberg stressed, "It is up to all of us to turn this geopolitical moment into a geopolitical era. Complacency and division are the greatest threats to our security and prosperity."

This was followed by a keynote statement on the topic of security and digitalization during a "breakout session" of the forum. Here, Foreign Minister Schallenberg underscored the impact of disruptive technologies on modern warfare and the geopolitical situation worldwide. Europe must not fall behind other world powers such as the U.S. and China in this area, but should rather position itself as a pioneer in setting rules and standards. This is the only way to ensure that cyberspace reflects the rules-based international order in the future. This will require additional efforts, particularly at the EU level.

In addition, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg met with his Czech and Slovak counterparts on the sidelines of the forum for a working discussion in the so-called Slavkov format. The discussions focused on the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, migration and energy issues, and the situation in the Western Balkans. Concerning the EU sanctions regime against Russia, he underlined their effectiveness, but also urged perseverance.

According to Foreign Minister Schallenberg, the sanctions are working, "a little more every day." It is necessary to keep "nerves of steel and strategic patience," because Putin counts on democracies being weak and allowing themselves to be divided, according to Schallenberg. The foreign minister of Austria does not want to do Putin this "favor."

In addition to talks with political decision-makers, Foreign Minister Schallenberg also took the opportunity in Alpbach to exchange views with business leaders, including representatives of the financial sector.

BMEIA Federal Ministry for Europe Integration and Foreign Affairs

European Forum Alpbach