27th European Forum Vienna
Europe's Major Challenges
Foto: Peter Lechner
On November 10th, 2023, the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES) held the 27th annual European Forum Vienna. Taking place at the Vienna School of International Studies (Diplomatische Akademie Wien), this occasion was dedicated to "Europe’s Major Challenges" and assembled eminent experts, policymakers, and think tankers from all over the continent.
The event was organized by AIES with the support of their its cooperation partners, which include the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, the Diplomatic Academy Vienna, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence, the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, the European Security and Defence College, Land Niederösterreich and the Political Academy (Politische Akademie).
The European Forum was followed with interest by more than 250 attendees at the Vienna School of International Studies (Diplomatische Akademie Wien) and many more online. Throughout the day, the speakers covered a broad range of topics related to European security and defence policy, Europe’s global role as well as perspectives for the conflict in Ukraine. This year’s forum was yet again an insightful moment of exchange and reflection of different European perspectives, including an engaged audience especially during Q&A sessions. Find a more detailed summary of all the discussions and keynotes below.
The forum opened with welcoming remarks by AIES President and former Austrian Minister of Defence Werner Fasslabend. It was followed by addresses by the Director of the Vienna School of International Studies, Ambassador Emil Brix, the President of the Wilfried Martens Centre and former Prime Minister of Slovakia, Mikuláš Dzurinda, and, ultimately, by the President of the Political Academy of the Austrian People’s Party, Bettina Rausch-Amon.
Following the introductory speeches, the forum continued with keynotes delivered by high profile policymakers and political leaders from all over Europe. The High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Christian Schmidt, discussed EU integration in the Western Balkans.
In a video message, the Austrian Federal Minister of Defence, Klaudia Tanner, subsequently exposed her views regarding Europe’s major challenges.
The Chief of Defence Staff of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence, Rudolf Striedinger, detailed more specifically the statements of Minister Tanner and presented Austria’s military strategy.
In her address, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova, Stela Leucă, then gave the audience a Moldovan outlook on the Russian threat and EU integration.
Finally, the keynote speeches ended with a talk by the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the Council of Europe and former Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Borys Tarasyuk, warning of insufficient preparedness of Europe in terms of defence.
After a short break, the European forum resumed with the first expert panel on the topic of Ukraine: Status Quo and Perspectives. It featured the Head of the Research and Development Department at the Austrian Military Academy, Colonel Markus Reisner.
And the Security Studies Program Director at the foreign policy council Ukrainian Prism, Hanna Shelest.
The second panel tackled the present and upcoming challenges for European Security and Defence Policy. The discussion was fed by presentations and exchanges between the director cabinet of the Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, Johann Frank, the former Deputy Minister for Energy of Russia and Research Associate at the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, Vladimir Milov, and the Director of the Europe in the World Programme at the Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations, Sven Biscop.
The 27th European Forum Vienna concluded with a Think Tank Panel entitled "Europe's Global Role" bringing together experts from all over Europe. They addressed the topic of Europe’s global role and discussed the complex international environment Europeans have to deal with. The President of the Turkish Foreign Policy Institute, Hüseyin Bağci, provided an outlook on Turkey’s role in the European security architecture. The director of the Centre for Russia Europe Asia Studies, Theresa Fallon, and the Vice-President for Policy and Programming of GLOBSEC, Alena Kudzko, debated Europe’s role in the Indo-Pacific and within the transatlantic relationship. The discussion was furthermore enriched by the excellent contributions of the Executive Director of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, Tomi Huhtanen, and of the Associate Professor in International Politics at the University of Southern Denmark, Sergey Utkin.
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