Opening of the European Forum Alpbach 2022

PeopleOther ♦ Published: August 22, 2022; 17:00 ♦ (Vindobona)

The 77th Forum was officially opened by the President of Moldova, Maia Sandu. The Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer also gave a speech in the course of the opening. After more than two Corona years, the Forum is held again in full capacity and is marked by the war in Ukraine.

"The New Europe" is this year's motto of the European Forum Alpbach. / Picture: © EFA / Matteo Vegetti

Maia Sandu, the President of Moldova opened the European Forum Alpbach. Maia Sandu's message was that all of Europe must help Ukraine, because the Ukrainians defend all of Europe, according to ORF.

Addressing the danger posed to her country by Russia, Sandu hinted at certain powerlessness, according to ORF. Moldova, as a neighboring state, is particularly affected by the war in Ukraine and, as reported by, has its problems dealing with Russia and the Kremlin-influenced Transnistria region. Moldova, she said, is a fragile democracy without a strong defense.

All the more, the president appealed to offer her country a real prospect of joining the EU, just like Ukraine. She expressed her gratitude several times for the fact that it had been possible to obtain candidate status in the end.

According to ORF, Sandu also called for the EU to step up efforts against disinformation. This has become one of the greatest threats, she said. The president also stressed that Europe must press ahead more quickly with its energy security.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer also made it clear at the opening of the European Forum Alpbach that sanctions against Russia must be maintained, according to ORF. This is an important question, he said, and he gave a clear answer: "We have to do this." In recent days, leading provincial politicians of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) had questioned the sanctions - already yesterday, the government had reiterated that it wanted to stick to the sanctions, according to ORF.

According to the head of government, it is justified to ask whether the sanctions also affect Russia more than the EU. However, the fact that there is a need for appropriate measures is beyond discussion for him, Nehammer said, according to ORF.

In the context of the EU candidate status for dire Ukraine, Nehammer also stressed how important it was to offer a corresponding perspective to the entire Western Balkans as well. The Chancellor referred to the tensions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. Now, according to the chancellor, everything must be done to prevent the war from spreading from the eastern borders of Europe to the center of the continent, according to ORF. Once again, Nehammer called for negotiations to continue, including in the Ukraine conflict. Although there will be no end to the war soon, contact with Russia must also be maintained, according to ORF.

This year, the European Forum will present itself "in a new dress and with new content," explained Forum President Andreas Treichl, recalling this year's motto "The New Europe," as reported by ORF. In the future, one wants to discuss the "most important topics in Europe," Treichl said - and not operate "in separate silos," according to ORF.

The most important topic is "the climate," which has been "properly shaken up" by Russia's war of aggression, according to Treichl, as reported by ORF. In addition, there would be the issue of security, the financing of Europe's future, as well as democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

Forum President Andreas Treichl made a plea for a strong European defense architecture of its own, according to ORF. He appreciated NATO, but Europe must be able to protect its borders on its own.

European Forum Alpbach