The European Forum Alpbach (EFA) is a platform that drives ideas for an empowered and democratic Europe. It brings together young people, leading scholars, thinkers, scientists, policy makers, business people and civil society actors from Europe and from all over the world to engage and contribute to its mission of shaping a stronger Europe.
The first EFA took place in 1945 as the “International College Weeks”. Founded in 1948 as a non-profit association based in Vienna, it acts independently of any ideology, religion or political party. The association only functions thanks to the vast number of people who, with the exception of the organisation team, all dedicate their time voluntarily to the EFA. They have contributed to making the EFA one of the most important interdisciplinary dialogue platforms in Europe for science, politics, economics and culture today.
From August 18 to September 3, more than 4,500 participants from 62 countries attended this year’s European Forum Alpbach — on-site and digitally. The focus was on contributions to securing and financing the future of Europe, as well as the current climate crisis and the potential to use it as a stepping stone.
Also in 2021, the European Forum Alpbach brought together young people, leading scholars, thinkers, scientists, policy makers, business people and civil society actors from Europe and from all over the world to engage and contribute to its mission of shaping a stronger Europe. By focusing on the following questions, the EFA21 intended, not only to dream the future of Europe, but also to shape Europe's future and to initiate action for the European continent.
How can we secure Europe's Future?
How can we finance Europe?
Can the climate crisis be an opportunity to rethink Europe?
Discover our Three Tracks
The European Forum Alpbach must continue to develop and keep pace with our dynamic environment. Thus, we decided to make a reorientation of the content of the conference: Six Symposia will become four – Health, Technology, Political (merging with Legal) and Economic (merging with Finance) Symposium. This will enable us to make even better use of content-related synergies. This new orientation is intended to emphasise the interdisciplinary approach even more prominently. Furthermore, the individual disciplines must interact more closely in terms of content. The common thread in this is formed by our three thematic tracks which run through each Symposium:
Securing Our Future
Now is the moment to realise the future we want. New ideas and momentum are needed. The future we strive for has to be reconsidered, redesigned and restructured to allow us to exit the state of crisis we find us in. To give more certainty, democracy, capitalism, or multilateral organisations – the very systems that made our future predictable – need to be adapted, strengthened and reaffirmed. Amidst challenges as all – encompassing as climate change, automation, or geopolitical shifts and rifts, Europe entered a sense of crisis that triggered a larger debate on strategic autonomy and sovereignty. Yet Europe can once more find its footing - not just for its own benefit but that of all other continents alike - if rather than limit ourselves to internal debates about Europe’s capacity to fend for itself we give ourselves permission to think big and dig deeper.
The Climate Opportunity
The climate crisis holds at its core an opportunity that could define our era: as we design and implement solutions, we can also improve the livelihood, health and wellbeing of people and nature. When we think about the climate crisis as a crosscutting, systemic issue rather than a technical problem, we can find solutions that solve multiple problems at once and can create benefit for people from all walks of life. The
climate crisis is a “wicked problem” – there is a high degree of complexity and disagreement; and it is further complicated by ethical dilemmas and conflicts of interest.
The Financing of Europe's Future
Across the globe we see that current financial systems with a strong capital market have an advantage vis-à-vis largely banking based systems as is the case in Europe. Start-ups, investments in green tech, digitalisation or artificial intelligence all require equity. What is needed now is not only the mobilisation of funds from all sources of finance, but a new era of multistakeholder collaboration that engages financial institutions, investors and philanthropists, the public sector, and citizens alike. We strongly believe that fostering a competitive economy and strengthening European capital markets will enable us to not only emerge from the prevailing crisis, but also unleash a new wave of innovation for a stronger, safer and greener Europe.