European Union as a “model of the future”: Europe-Forum Wachau discussed challenges for the EU
Since the accession of Austria to the EU twenty years ago, the Europa Forum Wachau has been providing annually a unique framework for European political discussions. This year’s theme of the Forum which took place from 10th to 11th June 2017 was “A Europe Closer to Its Citizens” and focused mainly on the future of the European Union. High-ranking political guests such as Minister of Foreign Affairs Sebastian Kurz, Lower Austria’s Governor, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, or EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn, called subsidiarity as one of the core prerequisites for people to perceive the EU as a source of hope.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pawlo Klimkin and incumbent Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic expressed their commitment to the EU’s values and the desire for further convergence between their countries and the Union. EU Commissioner Hahn stressed above all the proximity to the citizen: “We must work together to be successful” and the former Minister of Interior Mikl-Leitner discussed the importance of regional policy in order to regain people’s trust in the EU.
The agenda of the Forum included several working groups and plenary sessions. Among other things, these included topics on European security, subsidiarity, proximity to the citizens, global competiveness as well as the tension between migration, democracy and the rule of law. Furthermore, a commemorative fair for Alois Mock took place on Sunday.
For twenty years, the Europa-Forum Wachau has been providing the framework to analyze and discuss interdisciplinarily the state of the European integration process at the regional level. The Europa-Forum Wachau was created to stimulate discussion and arguments with the EU and about the EU. Additionally, the Forum provides creation and maintenance of networks, which are indispensable core of the European integration process.