Since 1945, committed Europeans have been gathering in Alpbach for several weeks every August to examine pressing European issues. On 29 August, Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth attended the forum in the Tyrolean mountains.
Direct dialogue on European issues
The forum provides a unique mix of different formats for dialogue and discussion. What these all have in common is that they enable a direct dialogue between experts and the audience. In the morning, Minister of State for Europe Roth was joined by Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and Ulrike Lunacek, Vice President of the European Parliament, for a discussion about the meaning of, and the role played by, European values. In the evening, he participated in a late-night panel discussion with Sandro Gozi, the Italian Secretary of State for European Affairs. The discussion focused on the ramifications of Brexit for the European Union.
Minister of State Roth: “This is my second year participating in the forum. Alpbach is not about giving long, technocratic speeches. That is what makes it so much fun. You get direct feedback, and you have stimulating discussions with young people – all this makes the European Forum a very special event.”
An opportunity for bilateral talks
Alpbach is also very popular with many of Minister of State Roth’s fellow politicians. That is why he used the opportunity to hold a number of bilateral talks. His meeting with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz focused on the situation in Turkey. The main subject of his talks with Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka was the refugee crisis. During Roth’s meeting with Muna Duzdar, Austrian State Secretary for Diversity, there was consensus that Germany and Austria must work hard every day to ensure that Europe remains an open, multi-faith and multicultural society.
Minister of State Roth summed up his visit by saying: “In Europe, we face many existential challenges, and we can only master these jointly, by acting as a team. That is why it is important to talk to our partners on a regular basis. Alpbach was the perfect opportunity for this. Although there is a great deal of pessimism regarding the future of Europe given all the crises, I will be taking home from Alpbach some very positive and optimistic impressions. This is due to the stimulating discussions I had with my colleagues and the many young people I saw engaged in lively debates, striving to give Europe a future.”