New format presented for the Europa Forum Wachau

LR Eichtinger: Future format is becoming younger, broader and more digital

St. Pölten (OTS/NLK) - Especially in times of uncertainty in Europe in view of the discussions surrounding BREXIT, we need security and strength, we need to strengthen the constructive forces in Europe and not those working against the European idea, Europe is changing, as are the requirements for a common Europe. Lower Austria is also responding to this development and breaking new ground with the Europa Forum Wachau 2019, said Provincial Councillor Martin Eichtinger today, Thursday, in St. Pölten, where he presented a new format for the Europa Forum Wachau together with futurologist Matthias Horx, "in order to not only keep our finger on the pulse thematically, but also to help shape a common Europe together and for each other".

The Provincial Councillor then reminded the audience that the Wachau Europe Forum was founded in 1995 on the occasion of Austria's accession to the EU. The founding fathers were the then Governor Erwin Pröll and the then Foreign Minister Alois Mock, who politically promoted the topic of Europe and brought it closer to the citizens with great passion. "Göttweig was deliberately chosen as the venue for the forum because the abbey and its ambience allow for a special perspective and foresight as well as free and open debate," emphasised Eichtinger.

"Since 1995, 32 foreign ministers, 26 prime ministers, 3 EU commissioners, one president and over 10,000 guests have taken part in the Wachau European Forum. In addition to Jean Claude Juncker, Manfred Weber and Frans Timmermans were active participants in the Wachau European Forum, whose greatest diplomatic success was probably the meeting between the Prime Ministers of Serbia, Ivica Dačić, and Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, in 2013, whose first official handshake here in Göttweig heralded a new era," recalled the Provincial Councillor, who succeeded the current Governor and former Provincial Councillor Barbara Schwarz as President of the Wachau European Forum in April last year. former Provincial Councillor Barbara Schwarz took over the office of President of the Europa Forum Wachau.

This year's 24th edition will take a completely new approach: "We want to turn the Europa Forum Wachau into an international summit for the future of Europe. The format will be more open and broader, the forum will be extended from two days to three, and citizens will be directly involved in the political discourse," says Eichtinger.

In the run-up to the main event, six "Salons" will be held throughout the country to gather the opinions of citizens on current developments, which will then be fed directly into the Europa Forum Wachau and discussed in more detail at Göttweig Abbey. After the first "Salon" with over 200 people in Klosterneuburg, the next one will take place next Monday in Perchtoldsdorf on the subject of BREXIT. The participants will be asked very specific questions, which will be scientifically analysed by Danube University Krems and turned into concrete demands in the working groups in Göttweig.

"The opinions of the people from the communities are thus given a very strong voice at the major event in Göttweig. The aim is for the Europa Forum Wachau to be a place for European developments and topics throughout the year and for the heartbeat of Europe to pulsate in every community under the motto 'On your feet with Europe'," said the Provincial Councillor, pointing out that the EU pays around 500 million euros in subsidies to Lower Austria every year, thus ensuring quality of life and prosperity: "The largest apprenticeship programme ever in Lower Austria, at 46 million euros, was also only made possible by the European Social Fund.

As far as the reorganisation of the Europa Forum Wachau is concerned, the new format will initially be more digital: a new homepage (, a new Facebook page
(, a new corporate design and
The new logo, which reflects the course of the Danube in the Wachau and is coloured blue and yellow, is intended to ensure a contemporary presence on the Internet, social media and other channels.

"We have extended the Europa Forum by one day and will focus intensively on the topics of connectivity and health on the first day, Thursday 13 June, as part of a technology and health conference. The international and more youthful focus, in turn, will be achieved by means of an international scholarship programme for foreign students and those studying in Austria. But we will also continue to develop the political discussions on Friday and Saturday with new ideas in order to promote enthusiasm for Europe and the idea of democracy in society," the Provincial Councillor concluded, pointing out that the structures will also be adapted and professionalised by giving the Europa Forum Wachau association a management team that will take care of the coordination and implementation of international symposia and events to deepen the European idea throughout the year.

Horx said it was about asking the right questions about the future. Europe must provide its own, ultimately humanistic answers of the European kind to megatrends such as connectivity and health, which are on the agenda this year: "It's about a social and holistic debate, about a broader view of what Europe can be".